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Sunday, 17 July 2011

ALMOST FAMOUS And The Family Whistle

NOTE: This blog post previously began with a clip of a scene from 'Almost Famous'. The clip is no longer available on youtube.

Subtle is the hardest thing of all. Everyone wants more. But this scene is one of my all time favourite scenes, of any film, ever. And you could say that nothing happens in it.

But for me, everything happens in it.

Cameron Crowe is great at that. The little moments.

Penny and William are leaving the auditorium long after the concert has finished and the bands have gone home. It's that moment three hours after the thing when you're with someone and the moment means something. We've all had them, but they're impossible to capture in art.

But paradoxically, that is exactly what art is for. To capture those precise moments.

In this scene we have a fifteen year old boy fulfilling his dream. And falling in love. And feeling the pressure from his Mother who wants him to be a lawyer (the whilsting in the background is her.. it's a great touch).

And Nancy Wilson's musical score is perfect. The scene wouldn't work without it. A Crowe film isn't a Crowe film without Wilson's score. Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson recently announced their divorce, which could well mean an end to their collaborations on the big screen, but I hope not.

Almost Famous isn't about the bomb dropping or the car exploding. It's about the way people look at each other. The way they feel. The music they love. It doesn't get any better than this.

Care to share?


  1. As a fan of Cameron Crowe's work, with Almost Famous being currently my favourite, I was delighted to read your take. I thought you picked an excellent scene to demonstrate the subtlety and beauty contained within the film as well. There are so many gorgeous and bitter sweet moments I would have had trouble selecting one. I can no longer hear Tiny Dancer or My Cherie Amour without thinking about the scenes that were going on in the film. That's always a good sign that a film has really moved me.

  2. Funny, you write about Adventureland a few days ago, and now Almost Famous, another tremendously brilliant movie in a similar nostalgic vein. I can't praise this movie enough, and you're right, Crowe is such a master of the little touches that mean so much. I've been remembering that brilliant line in Say Anything where John Cusack says "Are you here because you need someone, or because you need me? You know what, I don't care."

  3. I find myself in agreement with you on this one. I do however prefer Singles to Almost Famous even though the latter is a better film. Perhaps because I can find more in it to relate to. I still think it has one of the best soundtracks and Chris Cornell's Seasons is to this day one of my favourite songs. This is going to sound corny to some, but part of its charm is the memories it evokes when watching it. I can still remember watching it for the first time with the person who introduced me to it. Sometimes I have only to look at the dvd cover for those thoughts to come to the fore. I also like the fact that it is still relatively unknown and it feels like I have been let in on a cool secret. I just wish I could explain that all as well as you did Almost Famous.

  4. Actually there is a moment akin to the one you have written about. It comes at the end of the film when Mat Dillon and Brigit Fonda's characters are in a lift and she sneezes. All she wants is a man who will say bless you. And he does, although actually I think he says gezuntheit (my blackberry and I struggle with English as it is so German doesn't stand a chance). Again one of the little moments where nothing happens yet everything does.

  5. I watched this film for the first time a week ago and enjoyed it. I've had many nights end like this scene and now that I think about it, those were all the best nights.