Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: Almost Famous

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. Minor spoilers will be referenced in this edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

This 2000 Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay is full of magnificent moments, particularly the introduction of its characters, such as Zooey Deschanel’s Anita, Frances McDormand’s Elaine, and especially Kate Hudson’s immortal Penny Lane. This musical bus scene, however, is probably the most memorable, since it takes its primary characters away from an out-of-control situation on the road, where tensions have to come down considerably and everyone gets a chance to relax. In addition to its superb usage of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” as an anthem and rallying call for the group, it also shows a cast at ease and extremely comfortable with each other, each member slowly coming alive and accepting their circumstances. Penny’s declaration of “You are home” to a young and naïve William Miller, who is gradually discovering that he’ll eventually need to return to reality, grounds the scene in its utopian reality, where music is everything and there’s no need to pay heed to the gravities of real life. Seen but barely heard in the scene as well are Noah Taylor, Jason Lee, Anna Paquin, Billy Crudup, and others – all essential parts of this wonderful, heartwarming movie.

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