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December 21, 2011

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lipranzer

I'm also a huge fan of Crowe, was also very disappointed in ELIZABETHTOWN (though after re-watching it recently, it did improve somewhat on second viewing, though it would have been better with better lead actors), so I was hoping this would be a return to form. It does get off to a rough start, but gradually the movie did work for me. Most of the time, Crowe does avoid the sentimental traps inherent in the story (though I was one of those who thought Rosie was more one-note than endearing), and the relationship between Damon and Ford is really well-drawn.

Peter Damm

Too bad about Tintin. I'll probably see it anywa,y but I doubt it will be as good as my imaginary film version of The Calculus Affair directed by Miyazaki. Which is a case of using one filmmaker to beat the other over the head I guess. So instead, I'll just say that I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen for the first time. And damn, that picture works. Which is to say that I think Tintin and Spielberg have already collaborated even if it's only a case of convergent evolution.

Oliver_C

'The Calculus Affair' directed by Miyazaki? I like to imagine Robert Altman doing 'The Castafiore Emerald', myself.

dan

ELIZABETHTOWN is the worst film I had ever seen, and I don't think I exaggerate, it really is. I really can't understand why anyone would try putting a defence for it, as there is simply none whatsoever. Is there a chance Trey Parker wrote FREEDOM ISN'T FREE scene in TEAM AMERICA with Crowe's film in mind?
ALMOST FAMOUS is also an horrible film, i think, and it gets really uncomfortable as it progresses, as if the director can see no wrong in writing a film about how his young self knew good music and how special was his knowlege in that period when in fact it was kind of basic, no?

bill

I like ALMOST FAMOUS. It's very good. On the other hand, I caught about thirty minutes of SAY ANYTHING on cable not so long ago, having not seen it in ages, and, to paraphrase Harlan Ellison on the subject of trying to carry on a conversation with Roland Emmerich, it made me want to chew threw my own wrists.

Nort

Does this Dan guy really think ALMOST FAMOUS is about knowing good music?

dan

Nort, yes i do. nice you caught up with the fact Dan is a name of a guy, good for you!

James Keepnews

I almost walked out of ALMOST FAMOUS once they started singing along to "Tiny Dancer," and I rather wish I had, if only to avoid more of Kate Hudson's twitchy self-regard and Crowe's trademark mawkishness trading as sincerity (what brand of beer, indeed -- too early for Arrogant Bastard, but laugh through those tears. I'll just laugh through my groans...). It's ostensibly autobiographical and I don't believe any of it. Don't even get me started on Lester -- no, actually, go ahead, get me started on Lester. No way in hell would he have ever called The Stooges "Iggy Pop". Not even first thing in the morning, which is -- whoa! -- a little heavy for breakfast, Mr. Bangs! You sure are one rocking guy, alright, aren't you?

That Crowe's bland manipulation is taken seriously by anyone never ceases to amaze me. The tradition sure appears to continue.

Glenn Kenny

Boy, James, are you STRICT.

I'm going to have to draw on a little bit of the courage of my 1999 convictions here and, in weak, halting voice, defend, once again, the "Tiny Dancer" bit. Robert Wyatt's "Elton John? Really?" remark (made in the context of a rave review for Gong's "You," and I believe the context counts here) notwithstanding, a taste for early Elton among Zeppelin and/or Skynyrd-esque rockers of the early '70s was hardly implausible. Eclecticism was the name of the game, and Elton's early de-emphasizing of the guitar on the first coupla albums WAS ACTUALLY CONSIDERED KIND OF HIP by certain of the rawk cognescenti. Now, playing this up for bonding-sentimentality movie-movieness is maybe an entirely other matter, I'm just saying it could happen, okay.

As for Stooges in the morning, I always presumed that, idealized and defanged or not, the Bangs of that scene had simply not gone to bed at all. Given the scarcity of filmed material on Bangs, I was very taken by how thoroughly Hoffman was able to build on certain mannerisms. But I see I'm not going to get anywhere with you here.

James Keepnews

Oh, sure you will, you darling man. :}

The objections here are reasonably general -- not like I expected them to be singing along to, say, Matching Mole's "God Song" -- and I really don't mind early Sir Elton at all. I might not have felt so bad if they were singing along to "Honky Cat," or something. "Take Me to the Pilot," maybe. EJ was almost Crimson's lead singer, recall, except his first solo album (which went gold, let's also recall) was deemed poor by one band member who also cancelled the sessions. Lines like "Night unfolds its cloak of holes" have lost so much for the absence of his honky-cat delivery of them.

And I'll allow Mr. Crowe his way with actors of all ages, certainly Tom-Boy, and most def. Ms. McDormand and Mr. Seymour-Hoffman (how I always think of him, like his name's a hyphenate like Rhys-Davies or something) in ALMOST, and yes, his Lester Bangs is a convincingly lived-in, crusty performance that roughly matches the rough charm and intelligence of Bangs' writing. But not all the cough syrup in the world and a few all-nighters in the bargain would've made Lester call the Stooges Iggy Pop -- Ron Asheton would've hit him upside the head with a swastika figurine, had he heard tell. And I bet he (Mr. Asheton) wouldn't have even lasted long enough to hear "Tiny Dancer".

Chris O.

After seeing this, the Pearl Jam doc and most of "Vanilla Sky" again earlier this year, I'm wondering when Crowe started incorporating his use of the kind of not-quite-mainstream-but-not-always-exactly-esoteric montage -- where it's as if he's consciously trying (maybe too hard?) to separate his films from the conventional with these moments.

Each one, including PJ20 and "Elizabethtown," is not executed to advance plot and compress time but character; it's rooted in human memory and how memories work for/against us. He played with the idea a lot, of course, in "Vanilla Sky," but I thought the one in "Zoo" worked really well, too (*spoiler, I guess?* and as I've mentioned before I thought the reference to "La Jetee" was fine in context, as did the shot of figures dancing in the foreground before Damon's character). This new trademark may not be Crowe's biggest strength, but it's far from his weaknes and I give him points for at least trying to do something with it. Props to his editors, too.

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