Here’s one of the best little scenes in Cameron Crowe’s UNTITLED aka ALMOST FAMOUS (2000). I prefer the UNTITLED: THE BOOTLEG CUT version available on DVD, and in fact it’s the only one you should watch. After reading the 172 page script, Steven Spielberg told him to “Direct every word.” Many moments are extended to their proper emotional narrative arc and it makes the characters richer, especially the unrequited love between Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson. Even Jimmy Fallon gets a longer intro as the swinging dick manager in his finest moment. And any second more of Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs is worth enduring extended songs by the fictional Stillwater band of the film.

I’ve heard people complain that the film whitewashes the decadent rock life, but the whole point is that it’s seen through Fugit’s idealistic eyes — and UNTITLED actually does contain more backstage debauchery than ALMOST FAMOUS. Along with the movie’s loving recollections of the era’s stadium sounds, anybody who’s written for publication can identify with some of the editorial issues here (buy me a shot of absinthe and I’ll tell you how I pissed off Oliver Stone). Overall, it’s a fascinating cinematic prism into the author’s youthful experience touring with the Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Yes, and other 70’s Rawk Gods. UNTITLED is a pop music movie fantasia, my favorite film of Cameron Crowe, and I treasure it like the sound of needle on vinyl.

10 Responses to “Uncool”

  1. halmasonberg Says:

    Wasn’t Stillwater supposed to be Led Zeppelin?

  2. christian Says:

    On their worst day…

  3. Wow, I haven’t seen this one in a long long time. There’s been a reappraisal going on with Crowe’s career lately. I don’t think I was ever quite in the tank for him, but I remember AF fondly. Probably the first and last time I actually liked Kate Hudson.

  4. christian Says:

    I’m assuming you’ve seen the extended version…right? Watch it!

  5. halmasonberg Says:

    I’m apparently one of the few who still thinks Crowe is a really terrific writer/director. And ALMOST FAMOUS wasn’t my favorite, though I did enjoy it. Especially the Extended Cut which is far richer. I’m still baffled by the negative reviews his last few films have gotten. I loved ELIZABETHTOWN. It’s a really moving film and Crowe taps into emotions and relationship moments that really hit home for me. And I’m one of the few who loved VANILLA SKY. And I’m not at all a Cruise fan. Quite the opposite. I thought the ending was a bit too expository, but in no way ruined the film. And I love the way he draws his women. And casts them. Women who have never been very appealing before or since, somehow truly embody something special in Crowe’s films. He is extremely good at making them shine from the inside out.

  6. jhstrega7 Says:

    “I’m always home! I’m uncool!” Can you write that on my grave?

  7. christian Says:

    That would be a great epitaph. But you are cool!

  8. jhstrega7 Says:

    Yeah, cool enough to know that Stillwater was based on Bad Company (said the Paul Rodgers fan sheepishly…)

  9. christian Says:

    Right. No wonder I wasn’t a fan…

  10. The “Untitled,” extended version is the only way to go, I love it. One of my fave films in, um, ever…

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