Monday, August 3, 2009

Rock And Roll Will Change The World

Last week I was reading a Bill Simmons' article on ESPN wherein he quotes extensively from the movie Almost Famous. I had seen a part of it several years ago, but never the whole thing and so when he just kept raving about it, I felt like I should take a gander at the whole thing.

I am also kind of a sucker for the writer/director of the movie, Cameron Crowe. His other movies include Singles, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and Fast Times At Ridgemont High. What's really great about Crowe is that he really gets how music captures emotion, connects people, and can just be the audial embodiment of everything that we feel. Music elicits emotions that are at once both so completely human and divine. It can be so perfect sometimes.

Crowe has some really iconic scenes that incorporate music in his films. The boombox scene from Say Anything is probably the most obvious. I also love the scene in Jerry Maguire just after he had been fired and he flipped out at his agency when it shows him driving in a convertible with the top down, belting out the lyrics to Tom Petty's Free Fallin' while the life he knew unravels before him. My favorite scene from Almost Famous, along with probably everyone else that has seen the movie, is just after the band picks up lead guitarist Russell (Billy Crudup) from a local party in a town that they had hit during their tour. Russell was feeling alienated from his band and wanted to just get away, and some locals gave him an opportunity to do so. He goes to the party, does a heavy amount of drugs, gets up on a rooftop, screams, "I'm a golden god," and then jumps into the swimming pool. The scene opens with them heading out on the road and the tension between the band members is obvious as no one is speaking and everyone is just looking out the windows. Then Tiny Dancer by Elton John begins playing...

I just love the subtlety of the scene. One guy begins nodding his head to the song, the drummer starts drumming the beat with his sticks, and finally everyone starts joining in. That scene gives me the chills every time I see it. It's funny how it affects me so.

It's amazing how music can deliver so much. Whatever music I'm listening to invariably identifies the mood that I am in - frustrated, tense, sappy, excited, giddy. I have one friend that sometimes asks me to listen to certain songs with her. By her song choice I know everything that she's going through at that moment, and somehow that makes me feel connected with her. One time while driving to Hollywood to see a concert, there had to have been three or four accidents that delayed our trip by more than an hour. We sat in traffic, bursting in my car to the music of Rage Against the Machine, which expressed musically everything that we could not release physically. Anyway, music is just great.

I think today I'm feeling...

1 comment:

kent said...

it really is an amazing scene and movie. i first saw the movie in the hospital. my friend brought me a laptop and some dvds to help me pass the time. i had no desire to see the movie, it just didnt seem appealing. anyways, its one of those movies that for whatever reason totally sucks you in right when it starts. but not like 'the dark knight' sucks you in or other action or suspenseful movies. just something about the storyline and the characters and the plot that make you interested at the beginning and before you know it, two hours have passed and you are thinking, 'wow, that was a great movie.' but not a movie that blows you away while watching it. some parts do, like the tiny dancer part, but i just felt completely satisfied after the movie and i remember thinking, 'that was a really cool, really great movie.' best of the 00's? probably not for me. but its definitely a surprise 10 top. you dont put it up there with things like dark knight and lord of the rings, but i can see why bill simmons and other people rave about it and put it with those movies.