COMS 460-01 JPop Notes

Almost Famous (2000)

From Wednesday's class (12/5)

Cameron Crowe's first career was as a music writer for Rolling Stone. He went on make movies -- and to win a best original screenplay Academy Award for this film about a young man something like him.

Here's the trailer... and in the paragraphs below are links to two movie scripts, which you could search for key bits of dialogue.

Journalism lessons: Remember the "Picasso at the restaurant" anecdote and advice (Robert Duvall) Bernie the editor in chief in "The Paper" gives his managing editor?

"The people we cover, we move in their world, but it is their world. You can't live like them. You'll never keep up. If you try to make this job about the money... you'll be nothing but miserable, because we don't get the money. Never have, never will."

Older independent rock writer Lester Bangs ("the rarely-seen God of a then new art-form -- Rock Journalism") gives similar advice to the young William Miller.

Bangs' his point isn't just the money, it's about trying to make friends of the "cool" rock stars instead of trying to be a "true journalist." The SPJ might agree with his motto, "Be honest and unmerciful."

Google will find you plenty more about the movie. We also have Rolling Stone back issues at the library. And there's always Crowe's official blog site, "" -- including links to his journalism. The title echoes Bangs' comment to William that "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."

Speaking of Lester Bangs, if his character intrigued you, you might enjoy this New Yorker piece from last summer: "How Lester Bangs Taught Me to Read."

And, in another actors-playing-journalists coincidence, the actor who played Bangs was Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won a best actor Academy Award a few years later for portraying a very different writer of fiction and non-fiction, Truman Capote.

Reminder: I've collected YouTube links to dozens of other journalism films -- full-length older films and trailers or clips from newer films. See: Bob's YouTube Newspaper Movies Pages.

For contact info, see: Dr. Stepno's Radford University home page.