Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my love of music and books, but in doing so, neglected to mention the one other medium from which I draw a wealth of inspiration and enjoyment.
I love film. For a period in my late teens and early 20s I even harboured ambitions of becoming a film maker until I realised I wasn’t very good at it. Even still, there’s few things I enjoy more at the end of a long day than putting on a really great movie and getting wholly lost in a different world.
I enjoy it so much that I wanted to share with you a little insight into the 12 films I consider to be the greatest of all time.
Unlike some ardent film buffs I know, I don’t prescribe to any set criteria for determining which films are the greatest. The list I’ll share with you over the upcoming weeks and months isn’t really in any order other than my own personal preference, and it may be that some films make the list for entirely different reasons than others.
With that little pre-amble out of the way, let’s get on to the first entry on my list of the 12 greatest films of all time.
Released at the turn of the century, Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical opus to his time as a teenage rock journalist for Rolling Stone magazine is absolutely, undoubtedly my favourite movie of all time.
I actually didn’t see the film when it came out, instead catching it purely by chance a few years later, right around the time that my own adventures in music writing were just about beginning.
It might be pushing it to say that I fell in love instantly, but not by much.
I love that scene, that Tiny Dancer scene, a troubled, makeshift family reunited by the power of music. To this day it remains possibly my favourite scene in any movie ever.
I loved Patrick Fugit’s William Miller character and felt a weird sort of bond with him, constantly routing for him to get his big interview with the guitarist of fictional band Stillwater.
I love how he’s there for nothing more than a passion for rock ‘n’ roll and the love of expressing that passion in written word.
I love Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane, her attitude, demeanor, the ever-present, underlying sense that this was a girl for whom running free was an attempt to hide something tragic that made her feel anything but free.
I loved the ensemble cast of supporting characters, especially Jason Lee’s insecure frontman, Billy Crudup’s cool, enigmatic guitarist, and Zooey Deschanel as William’s sister.
Yet a cast of incredible characters is only part of the equation.
Almost Famous is a film that truly is greater than the sum of all of its parts, it just so happens to be that all of those parts are pretty incredible on their own.
From the compelling story to the beautiful visuals, everything combines to give Almost Famous its own unique aura.
Combined with an awesome soundtrack, that aura still transports me to a whole other world no less than 17 years after the film was released, and several years after my own William Miller days came to an end.