Cameron Crowe directs Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit in this semi-autobiographical road movie of a straight laced 15 year old who finds himself on tour with a rising 70s band as a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine.
Also featuring fine work from Noah Taylor, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Philip Seymour Hoffman and especially Frances McDormand… the fantastic ensemble is both the strength and Achilles heel of this likeable comedy drama. Any film that gives you juicy glimpses of such brilliant personalities (and also somehow wastes Anna Paquin) and instead focuses on the rather insipid Hudson and blank Fugit is hard to fully be seduced by. Only Brad Pitt replacement Crudup shows his burgeoning star power as the charismatic but slippery lead guitarist of Stillwater, a wobbly dude who acts a part mentor and romantic rival for our lead. Crowe indulges… it is a long movie but his instincts to subvert expectations in nearly every scene and take light material down dark paths are still there. There are a dozen little embellishments that lesser filmmakers would never risk: the jock ex boyfriend who climbs through a window just to sit on a girl’s bed and reminisce, the ever lurking presence of rival local groupies, the hotel staff being matter of factly prepared and capable to deal with a penthouse suite overdose. It is a movie I enjoy a lot but struggle to see exactly why so many consider it a modern classic? Maybe those perennially uninvited to the party critics and journalists secretly craved a three hour movie where they were the hero and what they do was given the veil of shamanistic power? For the casual viewer it is a gentle, well observed journey, full of neat cool moments, that gives you a hundred little tastes of exquisite flavours you’d rather feast on.
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We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/