best original screenplay

The Film Playlist: Almost Famous

Yesterday morning I caught part of the talk show Live! With Kelly & Michael. Kate Hudson was a guest on the show to promote her new movie Rock the Kasbah. Every time I see Kate Hudson anywhere, whether it be on TV, in a movie, in a magazine, etc., I always think to myself, “Kate Hudson will never be as good as she was in Almost Famous.” Today was no exception, but it did also give me a good idea for a new blog series. The series will combine two of the topics I cover on this thing. I wish I thought of it sooner. I’m calling it “The Film Playlist.” In the series, I’ll write about movies with music plots. But no musicals! Okay, maybe I’ll throw in a musical or two (cause there’s only two musical films I actually like), but don’t hold your breath. Anyway, to begin the series, I figured I should write about one of my favorite music movies and the inspiration for “The Film Playlist”, Almost Famous.

Almost Famous was released in 2000 starring Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit. It was written and directed by Cameron Crowe. Crowe won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film. It also featured a bunch of well known and up and coming actors like Frances McDormand, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Zooey Deschanel, Jimmy Fallon, Rainn Wilson, Jay Baruchel, and Eric Stonestreet. The film is set in the early 70’s. It tells the story of 15 year old William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who has a strong love for rock music and spends his time writing for underground newspapers. After William is given the chance to cover a Black Sabbath concert by rock journalist Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), he meets and befriends the mysterious groupie or should I say “Band Aid”, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). Her connections with the opening band at the Sabbath concert, Stillwater, and former relations with the lead singer of Stillwater, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), open a door for William. His Black Sabbath article earns him an opportunity with Rolling Stone. After he begs to do the piece on Stillwater and has his wish granted, he is told to travel on tour with the band to get the full scoop on the rock group. The journey he embarks on is truly a coming of age tale filled with sex, drugs, rock & roll, and life lessons.

Four years ago, my friend Caylee, who was my go-to for good music recommendations, told me I should see this movie. At the time, I recently subscribed to Netflix so I put it on my DVD list. I watched and instantly appreciated it. It was a great movie and as I still say to this day, Kate Hudson’s best work. It’s filled with many legendary quotes and memorable scenes, especially the scene where the entire tour bus sings along to “Tiny Dancer”. It’s just a fantastic moment in the film.

Almost Famous is a quality film that surrounds music, the music industry, and the tour life of a 70’s rock band. The soundtrack even won a Grammy. Of course, most of the music is that early 70’s rock & roll era style. On the soundtrack you’ll hear Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simon & Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, The Beach Boys, and David Bowie to name a few. Sure it’s not my current favorite kind of music but you have to appreciate classic rock, just as you have to appreciate this movie.

Like Caylee did to me four years earlier, I now recommend this movie to all of you. It’s the first in “The Film Playlist” series and a must see for any music lover. I also suggest you “listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you’ll see your entire future,” but only after you check out Almost Famous.

“I always tell the girls never take it seriously, if you never take it seriously you never get hurt, if you never get hurt you always have fun, and if you ever get lonely just go to the record store and visit your friends.” -Penny Lane

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The 87th Annual Little Golden Man Figurine Awards

Two weeks ago was the biggest night in music, but last night was the biggest night in movies. Obviously I got into the whole thought of award shows in my Grammy’s post. While researching for that post I found out the Academy Awards (a.k.a. the Oscar’s) are the most prestigious, most watched, and oldest awards given out in entertainment. If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you’ll know that I saw and wrote posts about 3 movies that were nominated for several Academy Awards (Boyhood, Whiplash, and Birdman). Each of those took home Oscars last night. Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress. Whiplash won 3 awards for Best Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons), Sound Mixing, and Film Editing (all well deserved). Birdman shared the top honor with most wins last night (with The Grand Budapest Hotel) with 4 awards including Cinematography (called it), Best Original Screenplay, Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu), and the coveted Best Picture.

In other big award moments of the night, Eddie Redmayne took home the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and Julianne Moore won Best Actress for her role as a linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice. But like the Grammy’s, the Oscar’s are more than just an awards presentation. They’re a show, and there were some pretty notable moments to take from the show aspect. In my opinion, there was nothing quite as good as taking an epic selfie or delivering pizza to the audience, but still this year delivered in its own way.

John Legend and Common’s performance of “Glory” from the film Selma was incredibly moving. Lady Gaga slayed her performance which was an ode to Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music that was celebrating its 50th anniversary. Then there was host Neil Patrick Harris in his underwear. He pulled off the Birdman skit for sure. However to me, I think there were two other pretty fantastic and inspiring moments that happened.

The first was when Patricia Arquette was delivering her acceptance speech after receiving her award for Best Supporting Actress. Rather than just describing it, you can watch it here. What she said was so important for all women, but what was even more awesome was the way her message touched Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez. Both responded in such a way that indicated their support of what she said. The second was when Graham Moore received his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. His acceptance speech can be seen here. His message to “stay weird, stay different” definitely reached so many that watched. Those words were incredibly important for self-acceptance no matter who you are.

It seems more often than not, a lot of Oscar acceptance speeches touch on cultural issues in a way that speak to so many affected by these issues. The recipients seem so humbled by the tremendous honor and dedicate their achievement to those that have influenced them in some way shape or form. I mean I guess that’s typically how it goes with most awards, but I think with an Oscar it’s like the grand prize so the winners are much more grateful than with other award shows. Not that other awards don’t matter, but with the Oscar’s there’s a little something extra.

So with all the awards presented and the cast and creators of Birdman on stage accepting the award for Best Picture, the 87th Annual Little Golden Man Figurine (Academy) Awards (and awards season in general) came to a close. Another year of great films in 2015 is ahead before the next Oscar’s presentation. Until then the winners can enjoy their achievements. However I think everyone at the Oscar’s is truly a winner, because they all had some part in incredible film making. But let’s be honest, you really came out on top last night if you left with a Lego Oscar.