Film: Almost Famous

After watching so many underwhelming films (Source Code, Water for Elephants, Limitless, My Neighbor Totoro, Pirate Radio), Almost Famous came through Netflix as a pleasant surprise.  The cover made it seem like the main character of the film would be Kate Hudson, but the film is actually about a 16 yr old boy (named William Miller) and his naïve exposure to the rock ‘n’ roll realm.  I enjoyed the film’s 70s vibe with yellowish hues and bold prints, Jason Lee (as Jeff Bebe) rockin’ his bell-bottom jeans and long hair and beard, Zooey Deschanel’s early quirkiness, France McDormand’s atypical mother role and her mantra, “Don’t do drugs!”, (I’d like to be that unabashed), one of the last scenes in the airplane where everyone confesses everything because they think they’re going to die — hilarious, Billy Cudrup playing Russell Hammond, who is always in the spotlight, always, and Jeff’s hatred (as the lead vocalist) toward Russell (one of the guitarists), which sheds light on how every band has a cute one who receives all the attention and the rest of the members who remain blurred and unknown, hidden in the cute one’s shadows — so sad, but so true.  I liked this film mainly because of William Miller’s innocent account of finding his inspiration in the midst of musical chaos, human flaws, and unrequited love.  It’s raw and honest, and well cast.

Favorite quote: “One day, you’ll be cool.”

Two thumbs up.

Next on my Netflix queue: Tangled.

Lev & Love

The Last Station is a film based on the last year of Leo Tolstoy’s life.  His official title and name was Count Lev (or Lyev) Nikolayevich Tolstoy.  With dedicated, and sometimes, raving, Tolstoyans at his feet, Tolstoy’s last year seemed to be a battle of his love torn between his wife’s (Sofya) love and the public’s (including a devotee named Vladimir Chertkov).  Though money and copyright issues were the dominant reasons of dissension, Sofya seemed misunderstood — she wanted all profits to stay in the family, to be distributed amongst her children; but above money matters, she desired her husband’s love that seemed to be taken away by those who sought after his legacy.  Yes, she seemed crazy most of the time, but many (i.e., Tolstoyans) who believed in Tolstoy’s philosophy of love, did not recognize their own ignorance to love, and came between Sofya and Lev.   In the end, after many “intolerable” disputes, Lev Nikolayevich attempted to get away from his wife to live in peace; but it was then, at a train station, in the middle of his journey, when his illness intensified.  He was surrounded by fans, news-reporters, his devotee, his doctor, etc. — everyone except his wife.  He’s shown expecting his wife’s presence, even though he strictly told her not to come find him.  Viewers then realize it was their separation that was intolerable for him. She was the cause of war, yet she was the source of peace. hm.

Films like this always leave me melancholy. I don’t know why.