BEST OF THE ’00s: ALMOST FAMOUS


2010 is still nine months away, but I’ve already started thinking back about this first decade of the new millennium. What were the movies that defined the ’00s, that made the greater impact on me? Lists are always subjective, undefinitive and in many ways pointless, but I still love doing them, if only because it’s a way to draw a line in the sand, to proclaim that right here, right now, these are the films that matter the most to me.

And, in the case of this here Best of the ’00s project, it’s also an excuse to revisit a lot of my favorites of the last decade. Because let’s face it, while I could just pull out my #1 from each of my Top Ten of the last 10 years…

…”Wonder Boys” (2000), “Moulin Rouge!” (2001), “Signs” (2002), “Dogville” (2003),”Kill Bill vol. 2″ (2004), “A History of Violence” (2005), “The Fountain” (2006), “There Will Be Blood” (2007), “Che” (2008), and whatever ends up being my #1 of 2009…

That wouldn’t quite cut it now, would it? For one, some of these titles have somewhat faded for me, or they wound up on top mostly because they were released in subpar years. Whereas some other pictures have kept growing on me, to the point where I now cherish them more than some of the films aforementioned.

Which brings us to “Almost Famous”, maybe the most spectacular example of this. When I first saw it in 2000, it somewhat disappointed me. Not so much because it had a few flaws than because, as a diehard Cameron Crowe fan, my expectations were extra high and, combined with the super positive pre-release buzz, they went through the roof… No film could possibly be up to it. I still gave “Almost Famous” a four-star review and it ended up at #4 in my year-end Top Ten, but that doesn’t begin to cover how I now adore it, so much so that it’s a true contender for my Best of the ’00s list.

One major happening in my life which explains this renewed passion for Crowe’s film is that, since 2000, I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time amongst musicians and groupies. I’ve even become sort of a rock journalist lately. More than ever, I know what it feels like to be in that world, how exciting and a bit frustrating it can be to be amongst all these cool people when you, yourself, remain rather uncool… To be surrounded with folks that are friendly with you, but who aren’t really your friends… And to be in awe of girls who barely notice you, what with you not being famous and all…


“ONE DAY, YOU’LL BE COOL.”

“Almost Famous” is also endlessly visually arresting and the music, gawd, the music! Soundtracks don’t get much better than this. Plus it’s got one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled (Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Zooey Deschanel, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor, Jay Baruchel...) and most of all, the screenplay, which won Crowe the Oscar, is note-perfect. Nearly every line is quotable, so full of truth and heart and humor the dialogue is throughout the movie.

I don’t think any film has ever captured so perfectly both the feeling of rock music being performed live and the exquisite pain of unrequited love. In other words, what was I thinking in 2000 with that qualified praise? This, my friends, is definitely one of the Best of the ’00s.