Almost Famous is one of those movies that you either get, or you don’t. You either love it, or you don’t.
Well, I love it. And I get it. I think almost more than any other movie (I might get Hamlet and Les Mis just a little more…I relate to Ophelia and Eponine – but that’s a whole other blog!).
The idea of being a “Band-Aid” – as Sapphire (Fairuza Balk) says “they will never know what it means to be a fan. To love some silly little piece of music so much that it hurts.” I get that.
The music aside, one of the other reasons I love this movie so much is the characters. The emotional attachment to them….and them to each other.
There’s a pivotal scene in the film where Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) is waiting departure on a place. William (Patrick Fugit) is inside the terminal and the two have just gone thru a trainwreck of a night. Their connection is strong and they’ve now bonded in a way that they have with no other. They’ve bonded for life, perhaps.
In this particular scene Penny realizes something – whether it’s the recollection that starry-eyed William loves her, or that she nearly died the night before, or that tthey have just discovered this connection or that now she’s alone and leaving – she is overcome with some form of knowledge and almost a grief. I think this is my favorite part of the movie (with, perhaps the exception of the Tiny Dancer scene). I relate to Penny’s raction. To whatever she’s feeling, even tho I am not 100% sure of what exactly it is she’s feeling in those moments, I KNOW I’ve felt it. There is something so beautiful and tragic in the whole thing. It makes me want to scoop her up and hold her close and tell her that it WILL be alright.
That feeling – whether it’s pain, wonderment, fear, love, emptiness – it’s realization of something. I have had that feeling. I have had it recently. I have felt it many times.
Brad Pitt was initially set to play Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) – “the guitarist with mystique” – whom Penny is in love with. But eventually Pitt dropped out because he said he just didn’t “get it” – WTF?? How could he not get it? I’m so glad he didn’t do this project because with him as Russell, I don’t know if I would have gotten it.
Now, everyone go out and watch Almost Famous. It’s a wonderful movie with a kick=ass soundtrack.