Cameron Crowe

  • Born: 1958
  • Rank: 36
  • Score: 615.25
  • Awards: Oscar (for Screenplay) / BSFC
  • Nominations: 2 DGA
  • Feature Films: 6
  • Best: Almost Famous
  • Least: Elizabethtown

Feature Films (in rank order):

  1. Almost Famous – 2000
  2. Say Anything… – 1989
  3. Vanilla Sky – 2001
  4. Singles – 1992
  5. Jerry Maguire -1996
  6. Elizabethtown – 2005

Top 10 Director Finish (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 2000 – 3rd – Almost Famous

The relevant facts are all there in Almost Famous. He graduated from high school at 15 and went out on the road as a writer for Rolling Stone. But years later, still looking young enough to pass for a high school student, he went back for a year and wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High from his experiences. He wrote the film adaptation, earning himself a WGA nomination and the attention of Nancy Wilson, lead singer for Heart, who would later become his wife. In 1989, he would finally make his directorial debut with the wonderfully brilliant Say Anything, a film mostly ignored at the time, but later proclaimed by Entertainment Weekly as the greatest romantic comedy of our time. He followed that up with Singles, another film mostly ignored, but a film completely on the cutting edge of music with appearances by Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam (playing Matt Dillon’s band). His next film did get noticed, earning big money a DGA nomination for Crowe and an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (the only major studio film nominated that year), Jerry Maguire. After that, he took years finally making the film about his first years as a rock writer and returned with the beautiful Almost Famous, the most awarded film by Oscar pre-cursors to somehow miss out on a Best Picture nomination. He followed that up quickly with another collaboration with Tom Cruise, Vanilla Sky. His most recent film is Elizabethtown, a film beat up by many critics but to me a great film, because it spoke to me on an emotional level just when I needed to see something like it. In fact, Crowe has never made anything less than a **** film and he ranks with Rob Reiner and Tarantino among the lists of first 5 films made by a director.

Almost Famous – #2 film of 2000

I knew it was the movie for me before it even got released. Of course, I had loved Crowe’s first three films and was anxiously awaiting the fourth, but I fell in love with it so quickly that I not only remember seeing the film for the first time, I remember seeing the trailer for the first time. It was at the Westgate Theater in Beaverton in August of 2000 before seeing Bring It On. And I knew right then that was the film for me.

First, there is the truth of it. There is the actual story of Cameron Crowe and how he left home to write for Rolling Stone at the age of 15. There is the truth in the performances of Terry Chen as Ben-Fong Torres and of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in a performance that absolutely deserved an Oscar nomination and quite possibly the Oscar itself. Certainly many of the people involved felt the truth of the story. Led Zeppelin watched a rough cut of the film and when Russell Hammond says “I never said I was a golden god,” Robert Planet yelled out “I did!” And Jann Wanner certainly had no problem with it as he is sitting in the taxi that William looks in on a New York street. Even Crowe’s mother and sister are in the film.

There are the performances. Not just Hoffman, but McDormand, who should have won the Oscar. There are the great performances from Kate Hudson and an unrecognizable Jimmy Fallon, neither of whom have been anything near this good in anything since. There is Patrick Fugit, so good as the young kid trying to be so much more.

There are the moments.  Everyone remembers “Tiny Dancer” because it was in the trailer and because it’s the key moment.  But there’s the great moment when Fugit stepped out of character and said “Ask me again,” that Crowe kept in the film.  There’s the moment where Penny is told she has been sold for $50 and a case of beer and she asks “What kind of beer?”  There is the way Anita uses “America” to explain why she is leaving home to become a stewardess.  And of course, the scene where Mrs. Miller explains to Russell Hammond the ways things are.

And of course, the lines.  “I’m flying high over Tupelo, Mississippi with America’s hottest band and we’re all about to die.”  “The only true currency in this morally bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”  “I am the enemy!”  “You are home.”  And of course, “I am a golden god!”

There are even the reactions.  My thoughts were on the “Tiny Dancer” scene when I first walked out, until Veronica said “Do you want to come?” and I immediately knew how to answer.  When I saw it with John, he said “Can you imagine being the Rolling Stone fact check girl?  Hunter, what is this shit?”  And even the Academy reaction.  Because even though they screwed up by not nominating it for Best Picture, they still gave Crowe the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

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