Counting Crowe's Missteps

I just realized over the last few years, I have fooled myself into thinking that I "can't wait" until Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown is released...and on a larger scale, that I "love" Cameron Crowe and that he is one of my "favorite directors." Well, Elizabethtown is out...and you know what? I'll see it, but it's just not going to be good. Last night, I realized that I don't love Cameron Crowe...I love MUSIC. Cameron loves music and features it in a starring role in his movies. That bastard has done a good job fooling me into thinking I'm really into him as a filmmaker. Really, I just want to swap CDs with him.

Aside from Almost Famous, which truly is one of my favorite movies (and well, duh, because it's about music and rock journalism...but also because of Frances McDormand, Patrick Fugit, Jason Lee, and a sweet, witty script), I have problems with all of Crowe's work.

Say Anything is cute and "romantic" and fine and all...but you know what? It doesn't get me in the heart like it does everyone else (or at least how people clam it does). I think most people WANT to be moved by this film, but people like Lloyd and Ione Skye (Diane) don't exist in real life, and so it's hard to be moved by obviously fabricated, too-perfect love in a movie that claims to be genuine. Kids don't talk like that. Either make a movie real or make it a can't have both. Lloyd Dobler isn't my romantic icon and though he and Ione had a sweet little courtship, the only real reason I like this one, aside from a few quotable moments, is to reference the "In Your Eyes" scene.

Singles is awesome for obvious soundtrack/Eddie Vedder cameo reasons. Also, it's awesome because, unlike Say Anything, people DO talk and act like they do in Singles. Briget Fonda's "bless you" bit, the video dating scenes ("Come to where the flavor is! Come to Debbie Country!"), Campbell Scott all depressed and surrounded by pizza boxes in his's intelligent and funny. The actors look and act like smart-yet-awkward people act. My friends and I quote it a lot because we grew up watching it. But people our age can't truly GET it. We were 12 when this movie about late-20/early-30-somethings came out. It was about ADULTS when we were kids. And now that we're adults, it doesn't apply....answering machine message tapes are a thing of the past, concert scenes are more hipster and "cool" than grunge and TRULY cool. It's about an era that we wish we grew up in...but were 10 years too late. The movie entertains, but doesn't SPEAK to me.

I will always watch Jerry Macguire if it's on's familiar and comforting. But I have always always ALWAYS had major issues with the relationship and chemistry between Dorothy and Jerry. They had none. There is no reason for the audience to believe that these two would agree to marriage. At all. Why would he ask this woman who he barely knows to marry him? Why would she fall for him? I know the reasons we're supposed to think....but they're not developed enough. And I don't believe the Lipnicki kid is an obvious answer enough, either. If I can't believe in their romantic love, well then I can't believe in the movie. Cruise is fanTAStic in this one, though...who else could have played Jerry so well? Again, favorite moment -- Cruise finding and belting out "Free Fallin'" while highway driving.

I liked Vanilla Sky more than Jeff, but I think that's mostly only because Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, and R.E.M. are prominently featured. Cameron Diaz is an AWESOME psychobitch in this film, too. The film LOOKS very pretty -- it has a nice palette, which I think has a lot to do with why I will pretty much always watch this one, too. But Crowe takes an obvious, played out idea and tries to make it this overblown, 2+ hour concept film. It's not a smart movie (except for some dialogue) but it thinks it is.

Crowe creates lovely little perfect worlds in which only his characters can exist....they would not hold up in reality. I used to think they could. Maybe I used to like him so much because I wanted to live in these Crowe Societies -- or because I thought it was possible to. But now, I'm a bit tired of Romantic Comedies dressed up with a tinge of edginess, packaged in a kickass soundtrack, and marketed to me to be something other than what they are...CLICHED ROMANTIC COMEDIES/UNORIGINAL FILMS...with great music.

Anyway, Kirsten Dunst is a child and I refuse to take her seriously as a woman. Orlando Bloom is really a blank slate...he's not likeable nor does he have a personality. The movie looks boring and looks like fucking Garden State.

I'll still see it, though.


  1. A whole paragraph about Jerry Maguire and not one mention of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Rod Tidwell, the most enjoyable sports figure in movies since Willie Mayes Hayes of Major League? (Maybe Goldberg the Goalie comes in second.)

  2. Yeah, I don't like any of Cameron Crowe's movies. (Considering that I'd watch only 20 minutes of Vanilla Sky, I hope you liked it more than I did!) I don't like any James Cameron movies either, though I'm a little curious about the forthcoming Aquaman live-action movie. Are they the same person?

    I'm not seeing Elizabethtown. I don't know if that was ever in question.

  3. I hated Vanilla Sky, but it did have a very good Sigur Ros song in the middle of it during a really sappy scene. The Life Aquatic made better use of them though.
    - sol

  4. wait, that was written by sheryl, right? shouldn't we get some kind of byline or something for that? otherwise it's kind of confusing.

  5. The bottom of the post reads posted by spg, which is what Sheryl has taken to call herself. 34 has been in need of a redesign for a while, and maybe I'll change the byline to make it more prominent now that there are multiple authors.

  6. hmmm ... i missed that. i guess that's what i get for reading blogs during class. i still think it should be at the top, though.


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