Life Lessons from Movies

Almost Famous

In Drama, Movies on June 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Almost Famous (2000) is a semi-autobiographical drama written and directed by Cameron Crowe about William Miller, a fifteen-year-old writer for Rolling Stone magazine whose first assignment is to tour with a tumultuous rock band, Stillwater, while needing to call home to check-in with his mother, Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand), and getting advice from a cantankerous music critic, Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Life Lesson:

Be yourself, always.

Movie Scene:

Lester Bangs: Oh, man. So you made friends with them? See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.

William: Well, it was fun.

Lester Bangs: Because they make you feel cool. And hey, I met you. You are not cool.

William: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn’t.  […] I’m glad you were home.

Lester Bangs: I’m always home. I’m uncool.

William: Me too.

Lester Bangs: You’re doing great, man. The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool. Listen, my advice to you, and I know you think these guys are your friends, if you want to be a true friend to them, be honest and unmerciful.

  1. Here is what Cameron Crowe had to say about Phil Hoffman’s performance as Lester Bangs in the movie scene (“It became the soul of the movie”) quoted above:

    “My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms. In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie. In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.”

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