Daily Archives: September 22, 2000

Rock N’ Roll Fantasies

From the Chicago Reader (September 22, 2000). — J.R.

Almost Famous

Rating ** Worth seeing

Directed and written by Cameron Crowe

With Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Zooey Deschanel.

Duets

Rating ** Worth seeing

Directed by Bruce Paltrow

Written by John Byrum

With Maria Bello, Andre Braugher, Paul Giamatti, Huey Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scott Speedman, Kiersten Warren, and Angie Dickinson.

Cameron Crowe’s first feature as writer-director, Say Anything… (1989), lost money, which broke my heart. His third feature, Jerry Maguire (1996), cleaned up, which broke my spirit. (In between was another romantic comedy, the 1992 Singles, which I barely remember.) You might conclude that I was out of step with the audiences that passed on Say Anything… — though I was hardly the only reviewer who fell for it — and with those who went to Jerry Maguire in droves. I prefer to believe that I was out of step with the publicity for each movie. Say Anything… didn’t get much. But Jerry Maguire was pushed hard, as a Tom Cruise movie rather than anything created by a mere writer-director, and much of it struck me as transparent Oscar mongering — with the film’s “Show me the money!”… Read more »

Human Resources

In Laurent Cantet’s 1999 French feature, written with Gilles Marchand, a student at a Paris business school returns home to Normandy to intern at the factory where his father has worked for 30 years. When the son and other workers go on strike and the antiunion father is let go, the son and father find themselves on opposite sides of the fence. This sharp, convincing, and utterly contemporary political film calls to mind some of Ken Loach’s work, full of passion as well as precision. Fine Arts.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum… Read more »