A couple buds and I were channel-surfing last night, and we were forced to make a great decision: Big or Almost Famous.
After toggling between the two for a few brief minutes, we opted to watch the second half of AF, the hippy, flower-children film about a 15-year-old music buff who fools Rolling Stone into hiring him to snag an exclusive with Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), the lead singer of "Stillwater." Not only does the movie's soundtrack remind you why your parents are right, they did live through a Golden Era of music (something that was driven home to me during countless Father-Daughter Grice sessions of 1960s-70s music education), the film's impeccably cast.
Of course, you can do no wrong when you're the haggard, scruffed-up, yet dreamy, Mr. Crudup, but Kate Hudson is also beautiful and tragically endearing as Penny Lane, a Stillwater "Band-Aid"; Patrick Fugit as the doe-eyed musical wunderkind William Miller is perfect -- and grossly under-worked, now that I think about it; Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the boozy and bitter, filthy indy-music magazine martyr and needs no explanation.
I was glad to have revisited it.
It got a friend and me reminiscing about our favorite music movies. He began extolling the many virtues of Detroit Rock City ("Don't you know what KISS stands for???? Knights in Satan's Service!"); I went down another path and blathered about one I stumbled on last year, called Control.
This was one of my favorite movies of 2007. I happened upon it back when I was diligent about Morgan's Tuesday-night Movietime ($7 tickets and a free large popcorn with a [expired] student ID). It's about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, who killed himself the day before his band was bound to leave U.K. provincialism for the U.S. on its first major tour.
Curtis was an epileptic, who regularly had seizures on the middle of the stage as he was getting into some crazy bop-around dance moves, and an overall tragic, torn rocker/artist "before his times." Lead actor Sam Riley is amazing, not only in his ability to mimic the spastic singer, but in his ability to portray him over a good many years of his sad, evolving short life.