Tag Archives: Billy Crudup

Almost Famous

Almost Famous is 2000 comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe. It’s partially based on Cameron Crowe’s own experiences as a teenaged writer for Rolling Stone. Seems to me that Cameron Crowe is a bit of an overachiever. So I have a confession to make. I saw this movie for the first time a week ago. Every time someone has mentioned this movie, I smiled, nodded my head, and pretended to know what everyone was talking about. A good portion of my life has been a lie. I’m sorry.

But I’ve seen it now. It’s a pretty good movie. I understand why it’s still relevant fifteen years later. Almost Famous tells the story of William Miller (played by Patrick Fugit), a high school student who gets tasked with writing an article for Rolling Stone about a band called Stillwater. Stillwater might be a fictional band, but they still rock hard. William goes on tour with the band, while forming a friendship with Penny Lane (played by Kate Hudson in her breakout role), a groupie with a heart of gold, and an uneasy alliance with the various members of Stillwater.

It’s a coming of age story. William learns about life and love, he loses his virginity, and he finds himself. It’s a period piece set in 1973 but it doesn’t feel dated. It has a great soundtrack, filled with tons of real classic rock songs and pseudo classic rock songs written for the movie. It features the best use of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” ever put on film. The cast includes a bunch of A-listers before they were super famous like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Anna Deschanel, Jimmy Fallon, and Rainn Wilson just to name a few.

The movie has a nice pace in the beginning, but it starts to drag along towards the end. It could have been thirty minutes shorter. They should have skipped most of the stuff that happens after they all sing “Tiny Dancer.” The plot fizzles out and loses momentum. It’s still good though. I would recommend that you watch it if you haven’t yet. Better late than never.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Big Fish

Big Fish is a 2003 fantasy film and quite possibly Tim Burton’s masterpiece.  Billy Crudup stars as William Bloom, a writer who is trying to connect with his dying father. He feels like his relationship with his dad is like two strangers who happen to know each other extremely well. The problem is that William was never able to connect with his father. His father was a traveling salesman with a passion for telling tall tales and embellishing the truth, and he feels like he never knew the real person behind the stories.

The film is framed by an elderly Edward Bloom (played by Albert Finney) who is bedridden and slowly fading away. The story flashes back to a younger Edward (played by Ewan McGregor) doing fantastic things and having amazing adventures. He meets a giant, a werewolf, Siamese twins, a witch, and has a few encounters with a particularly big fish. On the surface this is a modern fairy tale. But it’s really about reconciliation. Edward and William have a broken relationship. Everything Edward ever told William was embellished and elaborated. William thinks that everything his father told him was a lie. They are bonded by blood but don’t have much in common.

This film is more sophisticated than Tim Burton’s other films. It’s more adult and decidedly less gothic. There is a great supporting cast including Jessica Lange, Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi, and apparently a young Miley Cyrus. Helena Bonham Carter is in it too and Danny Elfman provides the score. Johnny Depp is the only Burton Regular who doesn’t show up.  I guess there wasn’t a part for a pale pedophile. This is the type of movie that you can watch with your parents and feel like you’ve bonded. Real art effects emotion. This film is art.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Watchmen (film)

Alan Moore’s Watchmen is regarded by many to be the best graphic novel of all time. Zack Snyder’s big screen adaptation is a valiant effort to capture the magic of the comic on film but the end result is somewhat disappointing. The comic is a perfect comic. The film is flawed and you’re a fool if you think its anywhere close to perfect.

It could have been worse though. It’s obvious that Zack Snyder respects the source material. He uses lines and scenes taken directly from the book. The whole first half of the movie is just like the comic. Then it starts deviating from it. And you realize there is no master plan involving kidnapped scientists and artists. So they had to change the ending. And fans don’t like it when you change the iconic ending to an iconic story.

Another problem with the movie is that they spend all the time establishing the main characters and ignoring the minor characters like the citizens of New York. So when NYC blows up and millions of people die, you don’t care because you didn’t know any of them. The director’s cut gives the Bernards a little more screen time, but if you only saw Watchmen in theaters you only catch a few glimpses of them.

The casting is pretty solid. Jackie Earle Haley steals the show as Rorschach. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a great job as the Comedian, and it’s hard to play a character that you mostly get to know through flashbacks. Patrick Wilson does a good job as Nite Owl. Malin Åkerman plays a decent Silk Spectre II and you get to see her boobies (always a good thing). I don’t know about Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan. His delivery is too distant and monotonous and the blue CG wang is distracting.

Some of the actors are miscast. Carla Gugino can’t pull off playing the aging Silk Spectre, and even though she’s pretty to look at, it’s not enough to hide the fact that she can’t act. The worst decision was hiring Matthew Goode to play Ozymandias. In the comic Ozymandias is a super strong athletic gymnast with an intellect off the charts. Matthew Goode can play smart well. But he’s not physically intimidating. He looks skinny and sickly like he’s recovering from chemo.

If you liked the comic, you’ll probably enjoy the movie. If you never read the comic, I doubt you would know what the fuck is going on. It’s a really dense story and the movie tries to cram twelve issues of the comic into a few hours of screen time. Shit is going to be left out, cut out, or butchered. The movie will suffer as a result. It’s not a bad movie. It’s loud. It looks cool. There’s fighting and nudity and masked vigilantes. But it’s not the comic.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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