Daily Archives: September 11, 2000

Duets

Slight but savory, this is a road comedy about karaoke competitions, a potent and neglected subject, with three intercut stories about contenders en route to a contest in Omaha. Scripted by John Byrum (writer-director of the underrated Inserts and Heart Beat, not heard from in ages), and directed by Bruce Paltrow, this is largely cast with talented unknowns, apart from Angie Dickinson, Andre Braugher, and Paltrow’s daughter Gwyneth (Braugher and Paul Giamatti are especially effective). With Maria Bello, Huey Lewis, Scott Speedman, and Kiersten Warren. 112 min. (JR)… Read more »

Almost Famous

Writer-director Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical fourth feature (2000)after Say Anything . . . , Singles, and Jerry Maguireconcerns the adventures of a 15-year-old rock journalist (Patrick Fugit) touring with a band (the fictional Stillwater) in 1973 for Rolling Stone. This has much of the warmth and feeling for adolescence that Crowe displayed in his first feature, though the slick showboating of Jerry Maguire isn’t entirely absent either. Part of what Crowe’s exploring here is the ethical confusion that can arise from the differences between being a journalist and being a groupie. With Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Philip Seymour Hoffman (especially good as the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs), Zooey Deschanel, and Anna Paquin. 122 min. (JR)… Read more »