Monday, December 12, 2016

Director Series: CAMERON CROWE

Welcome to another installment of the DIRECTOR SERIES, where we take a look at directors in the world of film and the advancements they have made, the style they possess and where are they in the history of cinema. Today we look at the talented director of two of my favorite films, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous...CAMERON CROWE.

If you have watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High or have read the music mag Rolling Stone, then you are most likely already familiar with his work. Crowe not only wrote the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High but has written for the influential music publication.  But it's his work as a director that we're really here to talk about.

Crowe started out as a writer before pursuing a career as a director. After his directorial debut, Say Anything, he steered away from high-school movies and directed Singles, which focuses on a group of 20-year olds during the grunge era of the '90s. This film launched the career of some unknown actors such as Bridget Fonda, Matt Dillion, Kyra Sedgwick and Campbell Scott.

Then there is the movie that made Crowe a household name, Jerry Maguire. He was already known in the film industry; but this film's success put him over the top. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Cruise), Best Editing, and Best Screenplay, with Cuba Gooding Jr. winning for Best Supporting Actor. Jerry Maguire is definitely in my top 100 films of all time.

After the success of Jerry Maguire, Crowe returned to his rock roots in 2000s Almost Famous. It told the story of a teenage writer for Rolling Stone magazine in the '70s. It was a fictional story, but Crowe did write for Rolling Stone as a teenager, which is most likely where the inspiration came from. The film did not do well at the box office, however, the critics loved it. It was nominated for four Academy Awards and Crowe won for Best Screenplay. It even catapulted Kate Hudson's career and proved her worth as an actress.

Music had a big influence on Crowe's directing style as seen in Almost Famous and SinglesIn Singles he actually had Pearl Jam appear, and this was right before they hit it big. The soundtrack for Almost Famous is a dream. It has Simon and Garfunkle, Elton John, The Who, Led Zepplein and other great bands from the '60's and '70' era. Another interesting fact is that Crowe and his then wife Nancy Wilson (yes, Nancy Wilson from the band Heart) co-wrote three of the songs that appeared on the film's soundtrack.

Cameron Crowe may not be the most popular director, but he is one of the most innovative. I have a deep appreciation of him as a writer and director. He is definitely one of my faves. If you are so musically inclined, pop in a Cameron Crowe film and enjoy.

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