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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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My Last Days

            My Last Days is a short documentary about Zach Sobiech, a young musician with a few months to live. It was released by SoulPancake (actor Rainn Wilson’s YouTube channel), which is fitting because Zach Sobiech is a YouTube sensation. In May of 2012, he was told he had a year to live. He spent his time writing down lyrics and creating songs as a way to say goodbye to his family and friends. He made a video for his song “Clouds” and released it on YouTube where it quickly went viral. Hopefully you’ve seen either his original video or the video with celebrities lip-syncing to it. Even if you haven’t, you should watch this documentary if you have twenty minutes to kill. It gives the backstory behind Zach and his inspiration for “Clouds” and how he searches for closure with the people he loves. I’m warning you now, you will cry a lot. But you’ll also laugh. And you’ll remember to enjoy life, to hang out with friends, to spend time with family, to tell the people you love that you love them… Live life like you’re going to die, because you’re going to. Zach Sobiech had a great life and I’m glad he shared it with us. My Last Days is powerful and inspirational and you need to watch it right now.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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