Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

Here’s a Theory for You to Disregard

So automatic bonus points to anyone who can name what movie I stole
the title from (though I’ll tell you at the end of this email).

Hello again folks.  I’m working in an office today which naturally
means I have very little to do and thus will torture you people with a
long email about something I’m sure you could care less about.  I’ll
preface this by saying that it is currently 9:30am, I was awoken by an
all too chipper song sung by both my precious parents at 6:22am, and
seeing as today is my birthday, I went out for drinks last night and
am currently a little fuzzy.  Plus, am only one cup of tea in this
morning so the caffiene that usually makes up for about half my
bloodstream is currently idling at approxametly 1/15 of what I’ll
actually need to keep me awake and somewhat coherent today.

That being said I hope all is well in whoville, down here in L.A. I’m
freezing my ass off (I think the temperature is actually in the 50’s
and I’m none to happy with that), but other than that all is well.  My
bestest friends took me to the Hard Rock Cafe (my favorite) for dinner
last night and as the Jimmy Buffet song goes, I made mine a Hurricane
(which was damn good).

But that’s not all that has happened to me in the past few days.
Friday turned out to be a rather exciting day.  I wasn’t expecting it,
but on friday a miracle happened.  I know, I know this is modern times
there aren’t supposed to be miracles (that line is shamelessly ripped
off from Moonstruck), but on Friday I came (almost) face to face with
the reason I became a writer.  His name is CAMERON CROWE.

Ok, so I didn’t really meet him and he actually wasn’t even near me,
but I found out where he works and will now shamelessly stalk him
until he realizes my untapped genius.

Now, I know many of you are going, Cameron who?  Is he related to
Russell Crowe?  So, for the record he is in no way related to Russell
Crowe (who is a good actor, but not even in the same realm as my man
Cameron).  Nope, Cameron Crowe is a writer and a director.  He started
writing for a little magazine called Rolling Stone in the ’70’s and
then went under cover in a high school in the early ’80’s.  From his
experiences there he went on to write a book and then a little movie
you may have heard of called ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’  Fast
Times was the first Cameron Crowe movie I ever saw and I never looked
back.  Of course Amy Heckerling who directed Fast Times (as well as
Clueless which is my all-time favorite movie, and yes I really did
just admit that) is a freakin’ genius so that helped the movie.  But
really, Fast Times was the first time that a teen comedy tackled big
issues. I mean sure, there were other teen movies in the ’80’s (lord
knows John Hughes was king back then, and what a benevolent monarch he
was.  I wouldn’t survive without the Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles,
or Ferris Beuller) but Cameron was telling it how it really was.  Fast
Times doesn’t have the constant drama of the Breakfast Club, or the
lighthearted fluffiness of Sixteen Candles.  It combines the two.  I
mean in the same movie you have Jeff Spicoli (made Sean Penn a star)
and you have Jennifer Jason Leigh getting pregnant by some guy who
completely ditches her when she goes to get an abortion.  You just
don’t get much better than that.  Plus, if you look very very closely
you’ll see a young Nicholas Coppola (before he was Nicholas Cage)
roaming around in the back of All-American Burger.  ‘Aloha Mr. Hand.’

Next up for Cameron was my second favorite of all his movies, and
quite possibly the best movie of the ’80’s.  It’s definitely in my top
5 favorites because in this movie, the world was introduced to Lloyd
Dobbler.  Let’s take a moment for that, I know I just did.  John
Cusack is the fucking man.  The movie, if you haven’t gotten it yet,
is called ‘Say Anything’ and it’s fantastic.  Cameron’s directorial
debut and I must say, it’s the best romantic comedy ever.  But it’s
not really a romantic comedy.  And please, who wouldn’t want to become
a writer when Ione Skye breaks up with John Cusack and he says ‘I gave
her my heart and she gave me a pen.’  That is pure fucking genius.
This is the movie that made me want to make movies.  It made me want
to write movies.  When he holds that radio over his head and plays
Peter Gabriels ‘In Your Eyes’ I want to sit down and just write the
best screenplay ever.  So thank you Cameron Crowe.  But again this
movie isn’t just surface fluff and that’s what’s great about it.  It’s
about growing up and realizing that your parents aren’t perfect.  That
your dad could be a criminal.  That the most untouchable girl in
school really hasn’t been touched.  It’s about realizing that the
weird guy who is into kickboxing: sport of the future, is really the
sweetest guy on earth.  It’s about not wanting to ‘buy, sell or
process anything…not wanting to buy anything sold or processed, sell
anything bought or processed or process anything sold, bought or
processed.’  It’s about waiting for the ding.  And you’ve got to watch
the movie to know what that means.

Cameron’s next movie is actually the movie I saw last.  I didn’t see
this movie until this year, but fell in love with it instantly.  You
see, much like John Hughes, Cameron Crowe is a hopeless romantic.  But
he’s a romantic in a realistic way.  Bridget Fonda just wants a guy
that says ‘bless you’ when she sneezes.  And you know what?  When
looking for love in the ’90’s that’s a tall order.  Cameron’s ’80’s
movies are about falling in love in high school, having sex too young,
and getting your heart broken only to have the peices sewn back
together again, but in the ’90’s he wrote Singles.  Singles is about
what happens when you’ve been crushed so many times that it’s hard to
put yourself out there again.  It’s sex and the city in seattle and
not just about women.  Plus, it’s Cameron who, I’m pretty sure doesn’t
have a cynical bone in his body (have no idea why I love him so much,
since I’m a cynical cow).  Anyway, Singles is set against the grunge
rock scene in Seattle (always listen to Cameron’s music choices
because he knows music like no one else.  I’ll get to why in a little
bit).  And Kyra Sedgwick is a fucking gem.  She’s so good in this
movie and the guy that plays her love interest says the best line
(possibly of all time) when he shows up at her house unexpectedly and
says ‘I was just nowhere near your neighborhood.’  I mean come on,
that’s pure genius right there.  Not to mention this movie has the
best cameo apperances of all time.  Matt Dillon is the frontman for a
band called Citizen Dick and the rest of his band are Pearl Jam.
That’s right Eddie Vedder in his acting debut in this movie, doesn’t
get much better.

Ok so Cameron’s next movie was one I’m sure you’ve all seen.  A little
film that launched Renee Zellweger’s career (though when she played
the slutty girl in Empire Records she captured my 13 year old heart),
called Jerry Maguire.  That’s right, Mr. Crowe wrote and directed that
one, and I can forgive him for casting Tom Cruise because he wasn’t as
big a douche bag back then (though I’m pretty sure that’s only because
he had a good publicist back then).  I can’t, however, forgive Cuba
for winning the Academy Award for best supporting actor when Edward
Norton should have won for Primal Fear.  There’s just no contest.
Even so, Jerry Maguire: Great fucking movie.  There’s a myriad of
unforgettable lines that have become so ingrained into our culture we
forget that they’re from that movie.  ‘Show me the money.’  ‘You
complete me.’  ‘Help me, Help you.’  And my personal favorite, ‘You
had me at hello.’  I mean, remember how you felt when she said that.
You went, that was the absolute most perfect thing to say in that
situation.  ‘You had me at hello.’  I was, of course, a sobbing mess
at that point.  Tears running down my face and whatnot, but good god,
it’s a great movie.  And the music in that movie is absolute
perfection.  Bruce Springsteen’s Secret Garden, Free Fallin’ by Tom
Petty.  Enough said.

Okay, so Cameron’s masterpiece came along unexpectedly.  It’s second
in my movie rankings only to Clueless and that’s only really because
Clueless changed my generation.  But Almost Famous is an absolutely
perfect movie.  There is not one thing wrong with it.  The acting is
Superb, Kate Hudson may have been robbed (though Marcia Gay Harden was
wonderful in Pollack) and Frances McDormand is a gem as always as
William’s neurotic mother who thinks that Simon and Garfunkle are
poets of drugs and promiscuous sex (which might actually be true).
But in this absolute work of artistic perfection Cameron tells his own
story about being on the road with bands like the Allman Brothers as a
15 year old kid.  That’s when he started writing for Rolling Stone
magazine.  Patrick Fugit as William is a genius, he’s so vulnerable,
so young and wide-eyed and impressionable.  And Kate Hudson absolutely
steals the show.  She plays the ‘band-aid’ Penny Lane.  There are
times when the camera doesn’t leave her and she goes from laughing to
crying back to laughing.  You watch her crack and then put up her hard
groupie shell.  Jason Lee (from the Kevin Smith films and ‘My Name is
Earl’) as the lead singer of Stillwater is a rockstar in the worst
sense of the word, but lord does he play it well.  Not to mention the
numerous supporting actors like Anna Paquin (academy award winner for
the piano when she was like 12 or 13), Faruzia Balk and Zooey Deshanel
(watch her because she’s gonna be a huge star).  And of course, Mr.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs.  If you don’t know he won a
nice little statue of that naked guy last year for playing Truman
Capote in Capote.  And he speaks the line I used as my title.  But the
best part of Almost Famous is the use of music, and the portrayal of
music as the higher power.  When little William plays Tommy by The Who
with a candle burning so he can see his future, I got goosebumps.
After the movie I immediately went out and bought Joni Mitchell’s
Blue, Tommy, Led Zepplin, and the movie soundtrack.  But the ultimate
scene is after Billy Crudup spends the night on acid and ends up on
the roof of a house loudly proclaiming ‘I’M ON DRUGS,’ when he gets in
the tour bus and Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ starts playing.  One by
one everyone on the bus starts singing along.  And William tells Penny
‘I have to go home.’  She looks at him with that sweet Kate Hudson
face and says ‘You are Home.’  Gets me every time.  I’ve seen this
movie probably about 300 times (I used to watch it once a day when I
was in college), and still that scene makes me cry every single time.
It’s the perfect scene in the perfect movie.  So thank you Cameron
Crowe.

There are two other Crowe movies (Vanilla Sky and Elizabethtown), but
I have to end with Almost Famous because it’s the best and because I
don’t have that much to say about these two seeing as I haven’t seen
one of them and only saw the other one like twice (which means I don’t
really remember it).

In any case, Cameron Crowe, living legend, and on friday I delivered
mail to his office.  He wasn’t in his office, but as I stood there
with sweaty palms and shaking hands, handing his assistant some peice
of mail that probably wasn’t all that important I felt a sense of home
wash over me.  This is where I’m supposed to be and this is why I
chose to write.

So wherever you are, Thank you Cameron Crowe and maybe one day I can
write movies that make people want to write movies too.

Love you all,
Have a great week.

Julia

P.S.  Movie Review of the week.  Get out the door and go see
Dreamgirls because it’s fucking amazing and Jennifer Hudson is going
to win the Golden Globe and maybe take home an Oscar.

My other Oscar prediction.  The academy is going to make up for thier
mistake in giving Hilary Swank an oscar for Boys Don’t Cry (don’t get
me wrong she was awesome) over Annette Benning in American Beauty (but
she was better) by giving Ms. Benning a statue for Running with
Scissors.

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June 14, 2007 - Posted by | Awards Shows, Cameron Crowe, Hollywood, Movies

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