Archives Ratings Mrs. Filthy Gooden Worsted


Jeffrey Lyons of WNBC

Hey Whore, how's the whoring? According to this week's Quote Whore:

The Watcher is "a tense suspense thriller!"

In Bait "Jamie Foxx gives a wonderful performance!"

Woman on Top is "one of the most delightful films of the year! Take someone you love! Penelope Cruz is the next international star, who will evoke memories of Audrey Hepburn!"

Martin Amis
- Money

L.A. Confidential

Pixies - Doolittle


Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies

©2000 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

Almost Famous

Filthy says:
"About as entertaining as Foghat Live!"


I'm never going to write a story about the summer I spent as a roadie for Jethro Tull for two reasons. First, Tull sucks ass. Second, nobody wants to hear about it. If writer-director Cameron Crowe was less in love with himself, he'd recognize the same thing about his experiences with a shitty Lynyrd Skynyrd-type band in "Almost Famous."

Patrick Fugit is William Miller, a dorky kid who discovers rock and roll and starts writing for Rolling Stone at the precious age of 15. He's good for his age, or so we're told over and over. But let's face the truth here, any prick with a pen and an ass to stick it up can write for Rolling Stone. Fugit's first assignment is to write about a tour with Stillwater, a band of longhaired rock star wannabes. It is on this neverending journey that Fugit supposedly finds himself and the truth about rock and roll. That is, it is repulsive and attractive at the same time, sort of like the harelip at the Arvada Tavern.

On the road with Stillwater, Fugit falls in love with Kate Hudson's Penny Lane, a slutty groupie in love with the band's guitarist (Billy Crudup). He sees some warmth in her that I didn't. He is welcomed into the inner circle of Stillwater, traveling on their bus and plane. He has sex for the first time, saves Hudson's life and pursues an interview with Crudup, the band's most private member. Mostly, he stands around with his mouth hanging open while cornball scenes of 70s excess play out.

"Almost Famous" is brilliant moviemaking for all the people in their forties who bitch about today's music and still listen to their shitty Pink Floyd records. It's great nostalgic cinema for a time when rock and roll was at is worst and its fans were at their most moronic.

For the rest of us, "Almost Famous" is fucking boring. It's two hours of backstage scenes loosely tied together by cheap plot devices. One thing I fucking hate is screenwriters who make movies just so they can get characters to spout the writer's thoughts. That goes on here, and the obviousness of it is painful. Actors move from scene to scene, doing nothing but yammer philo-rock nonsense, and instead of a plot the posturing is taped together with horseshit contrivances that are supposed to give the story an arc.

Examples: The characters reveal the truth while they fear their plane will crash. Of course, it doesn't. Shouldn't a good writer be able to think of a better, less overused gimmick? Kate Hudson swears she'll never tell Fugit her real name, and we're expected to wonder what it is, and then be delighted when she tells him. And guess what? It's a funny name! Isn't that fucking clever?

Like a drunken uncle who corners you at Thanksgiving Dinner, Crowe holds you captive for two hours with cute stories that have no real endings. I wanted to get away, but Crowe finished each vignette with, "Wait, wait, listen to this one." In the mess, there are some good stories and ideas, but Crowe is too enamored with all of them to save us the agony of hearing them all.

The characters are obvious and flat. The rock stars are egotistical, the groupies are free with sex (much unlike my groupies), the mother is strict, the manager steals from the band. Hudson is a seemingly tough groupie who turns out to be ­ surprise, surprise ­ vulnerable.

And everyone has a selfless, loving revelation at the two-hour mark. Those revelations might work if the characters mattered. They don't, they're just mouthpieces for Crowe's nostalgia and the story's conclusion is a weak attempt to appease anyone who came expecting a story.

Fugit is an awkward little dweeb and not as good an actor as the fat kid who played Plum #2 in the Arvada Playhouse's "The Night Before Christmas". While he is entirely competent at standing around, he struggles whenever he has to confront another actor. Kate Hudson turns her groupie role into a juicy ham sandwich, filled with eye-flitting tics, hazy smiles and nothing else. Only Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Frances McDormand are able to salvage their underwritten roles. Hoffman saves Lester Bangs, a serious rock journalist, by stuffing him with more self-loathing than I had the night I drank sixteen non-alcoholic beers before realizing I wasn't drunk.

One thing the movie does well is recreate the early seventies. Most rock-and-roll movies look like they were thought up by a bunch of sixty-year-olds who dig Bobby Vinton and the word "dig", but "Almost Famous" feels real and tangible. As fucking awful as the music of the early 70s is, this is probably how it felt and looked.

Two fingers for Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous". It's bad, but not quite as bad as spending a summer with Tull.

P.S. You may not e-mail me to say you disagree with this review if you own albums by any of the following: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers.

P.P.S. Beware of movie critics who try telling you this movie is "almost perfect". They're a bunch of classic rock-listening dorks who think this movie somehow validates their early years as fucking loser hacks with notebooks. Also beware critics who say the movie is "almost perfect," or "almost (insert superlative)." What an unimaginative bunch of asswipes.

 Enter an e-mail address and send this page to a friend:

 Want to tell Filthy something?