Dear Cameron Crowe,
We’ve been hearing all the bad buzz coming out of the Toronto lion’s den about your upcoming latest sure-to-be masterwork, Elizabethtown, and we just wanted to let you know: hang in there, buddy, we’re with you every step of the way. We’ll be first in line to see your 138-minute rom-com opus on opening night, sucking in our breath to catch a glimpse of everyone’s least favorite current heartthrob, Or(b)lando Bloom, taking a stab at playing a Zach Braffable dead-eyed American loner learning about life, death, and love en route to his father’s funeral; waiting to hear every last bon mot as it drips right from your ballpoint pen onto the page and registers in our ears with a ring of “Eureka! That’s screenwriting! Human nature is so funny sometimes!” We can’t wait to see how you’ll pump and inflate every last page of your overstuffed screenplay with inspirational monologues masquerading as snatches of off-the-cuff cool; how you’ll try to cram, crease, and fold Kirsten Dunst’s talents into yet another gloriously “spontaneous” free-spirit stand-by-her-man female second lead part; how you’ll reduce Susan Sarandon to spouting some wonderfully irreverent cool-mom motivational speechifying (Sarandon in Brad Silberling’s unforgettable Moonlight Mile: “You’ve given us all a real truth enema.”)
Don’t let anyone tell you different: the answer to Film Comment’s Fall 2000 cover query: “Is Almost Famous the greatest rock and roll movie ever made?” is a resounding “Yes!” Not only did that career-definer redefine contemporary cinema, it made the titles Last Waltz, This Is Spinal Tap, Gimme Shelter, heck even Georgia, fade into the deepest recesses of memory. I admired how Almost Famous was not in the least self-aggrandizing, that it barely made narrative sense, and that you tricked seemingly everyone by coating your bullshit mythologizing of your own past with a thin, distancing layer of geek chic. Kudos also to your near-plane crash scene, which tidily allowed all your characters to blurt out their unexpressed feelings (I really like the dude who finally spoke for the first time and said: “I’m gay!” and then never spoke again); there’s your much-deserved Oscar right there.
So to all those who doubt the subversive brilliance of The Crowe, let’s not forget these moments, or those from the teenage girl-porn Say Anything, the grunge and Starbucks tribute Singles, the wonderfully un-moralizing and certainly not screechy Jerry Maguire, and of course, the existential sci-fi to beat them all, Vanilla Sky. Trust me, Elizabethtown will undoubtedly follow in their footsteps. Let’s all raise glasses to our generation’s Billy Wilder! When Elizabethtown fails, we’ll be right there, cheering you on.
Some guy at Reverse Shot