Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Crowe film gets us ready for summer

"Almost Famous," Cameron Crowe's rambling, impossibly charming rock odyssey, is my favorite summer movie. This may sound odd because Cameron Crowe's rock odyssey has no violence, mayhem or vaguely gay villains (unless you count Jimmy Fallon). Still, for me, "Almost Famous" perfectly captures the mellow, perpetually chilled-out tone that defines summer when you're between the ages of 17 and 21. It really has become the defining movie of our generation, which is only slightly upsetting, seeing as how the movie is set in the mid-'70s. I get a kick out of how our generation is nostalgic for an era we weren't even alive to see.

In putting together my summer movie preview, I couldn't stand the idea of putting together one of those traditional previews where you run down cast, crew and release dates. Who wants to read that? So, to spice up what could be a tedious exercise, I have decided to hand out quotes from "Almost Famous" that correspond to the most compelling subplots of the impending summer movie season. I know it's not exactly an original idea, but hey, relax. Don't take things so seriously. Because if "Almost Famous" has taught us anything, it's that if you never take things too seriously, you never get hurt, and if you never get hurt, you always have fun, and well, you know the rest. Let's roll.

"Just think — any other city and you'd still be a virgin."


Regarding "M:I-3," the press is making a big deal about what a brilliant move it was on Paramount's part to bring in Abrams — a.k.a "That Guy Who Writes TV Shows That Become Boring Really Quickly" ("Lost," "Alias") — to rally the "Mission Impossible" franchise. The thing is, though, nobody would be talking about Abrams if both David Finchner ("Seven") and Joe Carnahan ("Narc") hadn't passed on directing. So, in their desire to have a summer tent pole, Paramount turned to Abrams, a decision that strikes me as one that was thought up when some studio executive was on fire.

Of course, the same thing could be said about pretty much every decision that was made when Sherry Lansing was running Paramount (when some author decides to write a book called "The Most Incompetent People Ever To Be Put in Positions of Power," I hope they take the time to interview Lansing, Rick Pitino and the ghost of Former President Warren Harding).

"'Rock 'n' roll can save the world'? 'The chicks are great'? I sound like a dick!" / "Please don't give him anymore acid."

Since we're on the subject of "M:I-3," we might as well single out Tom Cruise for his cringe-inducing press tour. Look, I'm not one of the people who enjoys ripping Tom apart, but really, is there anybody out there managing this man's career? I have no idea if he really claimed to want to eat his child's placenta, but that is one of those stories that a good press agent doesn't even let out. I mean, it's not that hard to manipulate the media: We've all bought that Brad Pitt left his wife to rescue orphans in Cambodia and that Tom Hanks is no different than your next-door neighbor. Yet somehow, we've all agreed that Tom Cruise is nuts. Look, I'm not saying Cruise is totally without blame for his problem, but really, his handlers have allowed the public to think that he's totally out to lunch. At the very least, it's nice to see that the people who advised John Kerry have moved on to wrecking careers on a different coast.

"The only true currency in this morally bankrupt world is what you share with somebody when you are uncool."

This quote is for the vast legions of nerds who spend the summer months waiting in line to see a movie they have been complaining about for the past year. This year, we have "X-3" and "Superman Returns," two semi-beloved franchises that have been getting the nerds riled up for the better part of a year. I take some comfort in the fact that the Internet has given these people some sort of outlet for their anger — at the very least, their parents should be happy that these movies give them an opportunity to have their 30-year-old children out of the house for a while.

"First it was butter, then it was sugar and white flour, bacon, eggs, bologna, rock 'n' roll, motorcycles. Then … it was celebrating Christmas on a day in September when you knew it wouldn't be commercialized! What else are you gonna ban?"

This is for the religious groups up in arms about "The Da Vinci Code." Please, for the love of God, grow up. Not everything Hollywood does is designed to undermine organized religion.

Also, speaking as a Catholic, I have a suggestion for all the Catholic anti-defamation groups out there: Maybe there wouldn't be so much Catholic defamation if we didn't have groups that freak out and think fictional characters were out to destroy the Church. I mean, is it so far-fetched to think that if Catholics are behaving like this in the year 2006, they might have been involved in an even more insane conspiracy 2,000 years ago? In the words of another Cameron Crowe character, "That is not what inspires people. That is not what inspires people. Shut up. Play the game."

"Can you believe these new girls? None of them use birth control, and they eat all the steak."

Listen up Kate Bosworth, Dallas Bryce Howard and Michelle Monaghan, this quote's for you. All three actresses are being positioned as breakout female stars this summer. The only one I'm sold on is Monaghan, if only because I once absently remarked, "I bet she's going to be a star!" when she was on "Boston Public" a few years back. As for Howard and Bosworth, eh, I don't know — neither of them exactly moves me to eloquence.

"It's okay! I'm easy to forget! I'm only the f—- lead singer!"

This one's for Tom Hanks, arguably the biggest movie star in the world, who is being curiously forgotten in this whole "Da Vinci Code" madness. Even his hair isn't getting the play it deserves. If the entire world weren't freaking out over whether Richie Cunnigham is trying to take down the Catholic Church, maybe we'd be paying more attention to Hanks.

"You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful."

Lester Bang's advice to William about how to be a good critic is my advice to most movie critics about — you guessed it — how to be a good critic. I've never understood why movie critics suddenly get de-fanged during the summer. In the fall, they have no problem going after a movie like Crowe's "Elizabethtown," but they don't take a lot of these inane summer movies to task. I've never understood the logic behind admitting you weren't really engaged by a movie but then basically saying, "Still, it was a wild ride!" By writing that, you're basically admitting that you function at the same level as a small child who doesn't understand what he sees but likes the pretty colors. Don't hide behind vacant statements just because you are afraid that the public will think you are (gasp!) a highbrow movie critic. To sum up, I'd like to quote Barry Levinson: "I thought a movie was a movie and a ride was a ride." Well said, Barry.

"Don't take drugs!"

My one piece of advice for everybody involved with the "Miami Vice" remake. Because man, when you're working on a movie in Miami with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, there are going to be some unsavory characters hanging around. But really, it's not worth it. It may be fun to be out with Farrell until 4 a.m. before you stumble into a house in Coral Gables and pass out in someone else's bed. But being the Lenny Bias of the entertainment world is not how you want to be remembered.

Ray Gustini is a freshman majoring in political science and history. Want to talk summer movies with him? Send him an e-mail at [email protected].

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