Cameron Crowe

20th Century Fox

This week is the 25th anniversary of Cameron Crowe‘s first feature, Say Anything, and while he went on to direct three more fantastic films (plus one good one and two stinkers) this one holds a special place in many of our hearts. It’s a rare honest look at teenagers in and out of love, is eminently quotable and features a high number of memorable and possibly iconic scenes. A quarter of a century later and the film is more beloved than ever. The anniversary has led to a handful of editorials on the movie — our own Kate Erbland even had the nerve to question whether Lloyd and Diane were still together 25 years later! The responses were varied and highly pessimistic, but the truth is clear in Lloyd’s persistence and optimism and in Diane’s joy and satisfaction. You only have to watch the movie to know that the two are still living it up in London. The commentary on the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray of Say Anything features something I’ve never seen (or heard) before, and that’s a twenty minute introduction set against a slide show of b&w set photos. Crowe, John Cusack and Ione Skye start things off strong with their recollections on what brought each of them to the film. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Say Anything.

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Say Anything

Sometime during the spring of my freshman year at college, a friend of mine decided to break out a big romantic gesture for his girlfriend of just a few weeks – they weren’t celebrating anything special, no anniversary or holiday to peg it to, he just wanted to do something – and he decided to recreate the infamous boombox scene from Say Anything. It went over like gangbusters. He drove his truck to the back of her dorm, stood in the bed of it, and blasted Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” for everyone to hear. I’m certain that was part of the charm – his girlfriend heard it, the rest of her dorm heard it, people walking to class heard it. (She was, to put it delicately, a bit of a show-off.) Most importantly, everyone seemed to get it. Cameron Crowe’s film was nearly fifteen years old when this particularly over-the-top expression of love occurred, and although I’d never dare to compare the epic love story that was Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and Diane Court (Ione Skye) with a pair of dumb college kids eager to make their affections public in a world pre-Facebook, they did have something in common – neither couple is still together. 

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Lester Bangs

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Say-Anything_scenes

No, there’s no special anniversary for Cameron Crowe‘s directorial debut. At least not for another eight months, when Say Anything… turns 25. The reason it’s a Scenes We Love pick this week is because of all the recognition it’s been getting lately as a major influence on The Spectacular Now. The new indie teen movie’s male lead, Miles Teller, has been called the John Cusack of his generation, and the movie itself is being celebrated for a mix of comedy and drama and romance not achieved so well since the genre’s heyday in the 1980s. Say Anything… came about at the end of the decade and is considered by many to be the best, even considering all the exemplary works of John Hughes. Strangely, there’s a severe lack of clips from the film on the Internet. Maybe it’s because of Fox ordering them removed from YouTube and elsewhere, because there’s not even a proper version of the famous boombox serenade to be found. Not that this would be my first choice of a scene. The movie is full of a lot more than just Cusack being Cusack in a trenchcoat and a Clash t-shirt, giving his heart to Ione Skye and getting a pen in return. We’ve selected a handful of favorites from what could be found, but as always please tell us the scenes you love from the movie below.

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Bradley Cooper and American Sniper

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily movie news column that that wants to make you a star, baby. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe hasn’t said much about his next project. We don’t yet have a title or a plot synopsis for it. But what we do know is that it’s said to be similar in tone to things like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, and it’s got Emma Stone playing a lead role (and it might just be a rewrite of his Deep Tiki script from years ago). So basically, expect something that lines up with Crowe’s best work and stars one of your favorite actresses. Sounds great. The new news regarding the project is that Crowe is reportedly close to finding his male lead. Deadline Hollywood says that he has his eye on Bradley Cooper, and he’s close to making a deal happen. Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a Cameron Crowe movie? Yeah, that should be enough to get the attention of every person of every gender and sexuality ever. Remember how we reported that Christopher Nolan’s regular DP, Wally Pfister, is going to be directing his first movie, it’s going to be called Transcendence, and it’s going to star Johnny Depp? Well, all of that stuff is still true, but the L.A. Times has dug up even more information. Turns out the film is actually going to have three leads, and Pfister is very game to get Christian Bale to sign on as number two of the three. Anyone out there want to see Johnny Depp […]

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If you are a fan of either Cameron Crowe or Emma Stone, this news will likely be met with a hurricane of love – or just a tidal wave of “who cares what it’s about?!” Deadline Hollywood reports that Sony has sewn up a deal to make an all-new Crowe film (along with producer Scott Rudin), one that the filmmaker has already written and will direct himself. The outlet’s post doesn’t tell us much of anything about the film – including its title – but does report that it is a love story that has a tone “reminiscent” of films like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire (identically, my two favorite Crowe features). Oh, and it’s going to star Emma Stone. Meanwhile, Variety’s Jeff Sneider has tweeted that the film is actually a rewritten version of Crowe’s long-stalled Deep Tiki.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Jerry Maguire (1996) The Plot: High-powered sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) thinks he has it all figured out – cool job, sweet pad, hot fiancee – but a late night surge of inspiration hits him like a ton of bricks. Jerry has been doing it wrong. We’ve all been doing it wrong. Instead of shaking off his doubts, Jerry puts pen to paper and crafts a “mission statement.” Which he then distributes to his entire company. And then he gets fired. Left with nothing but a starry-eyed accountant (Renee Zellweger, in her most charming role ever, hands down), her brainiac kid (Jonathan Lipnicki, forever ensuring that audiences everywhere know how much the human head weighs), and one completely batshit client (Cuba Gooding, Jr., who won a goddamn Oscar for his work as Rod Tidwell), Jerry has to figure out if his mission statement is really worth living or if he’s thrown away everything for meaningless twaddle.

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There are few directors that had a career like Billy Wilder‘s. There are probably none that reached his level of skill and notability while staying as diverse as a storyteller. The man did drama and comedy with equal acuity, but his dominance of filmmaking almost didn’t happen. Born in what is now present-day Poland, Wilder left for Paris during the initial rise of the Nazi party in Germany and soon left for the States. He got out early, yes, but it’s difficult to think about the magic he’s delivered without being reminded that but for a few years he may have found himself a victim of the fear-mongering and murder that befell European Jews at the height of Hitler. Fortunately, he did get out and did go on to craft some of the best scripts and movies of the era (and, you know, of all time). His breakout was writing the hilarious Best Picture nominee Ninotchka; success he translated into a fruitful writing/directing career which produced a truckload of notable classics like Double Indemnity, A Foreign Affair, Lost Weekend, Sunset Blvd., Stalag 17, Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, The Apartment, Witness for the Prosecution, Sabrina and more. The man was seriously prolific. With six Oscars and a ridiculous list of incredible films under his belt, he’s a perfect director to take a few tips from. So here it is, a bit of free film school (for filmmakers and fans alike) from a legend.

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Aural Fixation - Large

There are a few things you can expect from a Cameron Crowe film – beautiful people, emotional speeches, memorable quotes and moving music. Crowe’s latest film, We Bought a Zoo, has all these elements plus a score by Sigur Rós front man, Jónsi Birgisson. This choice was a bit of a departure for Crowe who usually fills his films with music from various bands, singers and songwriters and while Crowe still has songs from different artists in We Bought a Zoo (Tom Petty, Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan, to name a few), the musical focus and backbone is mainly provided by Jónsi whose music is more about the impression of sounds rather than impact of lyrics.

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We Bought a Zoo strives to be Cameron Crowe‘s biggest crowd-pleaser yet, and it’s coming after two of his most splitting features. Elizabethtown was not met kindly and Vanilla Sky either blew your mind or frustrated the hell out of you, despite being a film that made one of the most likable movie stars around a narcissist often hidden under a nightmarish mask — how many directors do that to movie stars? Not many. Crowe doesn’t exactly disfigure Matt Damon in his Christmas release, but the film does what Crowe usually does best: showing good-natured people simply trying to do their best. While speaking to Crowe, he reminded me a lot of his films — someone who clearly wears his heart on his sleeve, and not in an artificial way. In fact, the first thing Crowe said to me left a goofy smile on my face for days, which is what his films usually do as well. The man was kind enough to give me extra time, and even by the end I felt like we could have gone on for hours. The writer-director and I spent more time than I expected but hoped on Vanilla Sky, as well as his writing process, how old films are like diary entries, and why it’s easier to make cynical films nowadays.

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Let’s get this out of the way now: I’m a Cameron Crowe fan. The director has his critics. Most of his divisiveness comes down to the tone of his films, which some find wrongfully cheesy. I, on the other hand, find Crowe’s humanism endearing, never silly or phony. Somehow, when everyone else has drunk the cynical Kool Aid and acts too cool for school towards anything with a big heart, the director remains optimistic about life and (ugh) people. Crowe, who aims high to plant a big smile on your face, does so here more than competently. The surface-level concept of We Bought a Zoo is fairly ridiculous-sounding: Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) buys and decides to rebuild a broken-down zoo. I’m not sure how We Bought a Zoo differs from Dave Blank’s true life story, and while watching the film and even while writing about it at this very moment, I don’t care. The most important part of Crowe’s adaptation is that, every emotion felt genuine. The “getting the zoo back in shape!” serves as a metaphor for Mee attempting to rebuild his once happy family – heavy shit, right?

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We Bought a Zoo

Since the release is a little far off, I just saw the film, and considering Fox asked me to hold my review until opening day, I decided only providing brief thoughts on Cameron Crowe’s latest would be the most suitable option. In short: I love this movie. A few days ago, like everyone else, I rushed to see The Muppets and found it thoroughly charming. We Bought a Zoo, in comparison, makes that level of heart-warming seem like child’s play. Yes, Cameron Crowe’s film is that sweet and tender, and not in a schmaltzy or dopey way, either. Crowe finds that comforting warmness he usually tends to capture with his great casts and rocking soundtracks, both more than present here with Matt Damon‘s excellent performance and Jónsi’s lovely score.

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It looks like some hardcore cinephiles will have less worry when it comes to choosing a film outing this Christmas, with DreamWorks announcing today that they’re set to hold “special word-of-mouth screenings” for the upcoming Steven Spielberg epic, War Horse, over Thanksgiving weekend. The film is scheduled for a nationwide opening on December 25, but these special sneaks have been crafted to build buzz for the film with almost a month of lead time. Just last week came news that 20th Century Fox was launching a massive sneak peek for their own Christmas release, We Bought a Zoo, over the Thanksgiving holiday, rolling the Cameron Crowe film out to 800 theaters around the country on Saturday the 26th. But this Spielberg sneak will be a decidedly more quiet affair, with screenings taking place on Sunday the 27th in just ten cities.There’s no news yet on how the public will find out about these screenings, but it’s probably best to hang around the film’s Facebook page or its Twitter feed for a hint or two.

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In an unprecedented move, 20th Century Fox will be holding a massive “sneak preview” event for Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo a full four weeks before the film opens for the Christmas holiday. The film, scheduled to go wide on December 23, will now take over a different holiday, playing in more than 800 theaters around the country on the Saturday of this year’s Thanksgiving weekend, November 26. The studio is reportedly holding the sneak previews based on positive test screenings, in hopes that the massive launch will spawn both good word-of-mouth from regular filmgoers and a spat of fresh reviews from critics who shell out their own cash to jump the review gun. Fox is also partnering with TOUT (some sort of social media hub that I’ve never heard of that relies on “video status updates”) to allow viewers to post reviews of the film (presumably via quick video snippet). Fox is also reportedly crafting a larger social media campaign that includes tie-ins with Twitter and Facebook. Based on Benjamin Mee’s memoir, the film follows a single dad (Matt Damon) who hopes to reinvigorate his family life with a new home – one that’s in the middle of a ramshackle zoo whose rebuilding the family takes on. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning, and Patrick Fugit. The last two trailers for the film have won the hearts of both myself and our own Cole Abaius, so here’s hoping that the film delivers on its promise.

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The first trailer for Cameron Crowe‘s adaptation of Benjamin Mee‘s memoir We Bought a Zoo hit the interwebs back in September, and while that trailer aimed a bit too squarely for the heart, I’m a sucker for Crowe working for emotion, and the shades of Jerry Maguire (the quitting! the Tom Petty music!) work for me like nothing else. Throw in some animals, cute kids, and soaring music, and I’m a mewling mess of feelings-goo. But if you’re not as gooey as I am, this new international trailer might work much better for you. Check out the international trailer for We Bought a Zoo after the break, featuring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning and Patrick Fugit.

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Back in May, the illustrious Matt Patches put together a list so honest, so compelling, so original, that I had absolutely no choice but to copy it almost totally wholesale to craft my own version. Patches’s list was comprised of eight films his previous girlfriends had forced him to watch that made him who he is today (the list was, of course, titled “8 Movies My Past Girlfriends Forced Me to Watch That Made Me Who I Am Today” because we here at FSR are nothing if we are not succinct). The list, while interesting on a purely cinematic basis, also said something surprisingly deep about the nature of relationships themselves – mainly when it comes to the all-important element of compromise. Patches, a gentleman and a scholar, found some compelling honesty in his consistently sweet tales of cinematic (and romantic) discovery. My list starts off with a film that made me realize my first boyfriend was possibly also interested in other men. That’s just the sort of list this is. Here are seven movies that seven different suitors all “forced” me to watch at different points in my (admittedly still young) cinematic life. More than any individual lesson each film taught me, together the list forms one giant reminder of what I love best about going to the movies – endless possibility. Take a peek at my list after the break, and then feel free to pipe in with any films that someone made you watch that ultimately changed your […]

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Cameron Crowe is a heartstring-tugging force to be reckoned with. Even with a few low points, he still emerges as one of the best writer/directors of our time, creating sentimental stories that push us into an emotional space whether it’s because a band is singing Elton John or because a sports agent has a girl at “hello.” His next film, as if no one knew, is the adaptation We Bought a Zoo, which features Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Hayden Church, Elle Fanning and Patrick Fugit. The trailer is a soft focus blend of tears and triumph, and you can check it out for yourself:

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The only thing shocking about Cameron Crowe directing a music documentary about Pearl Jam, is that it’s not about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Wait? What? He already did that? Pearl Jam it is then! Crowe’s third foray into the music doc arena (joining his Petty film Playback and this year’s Elton John and Leon Russell-centric The Union), Pearl Jam Twenty, looks to feature all the stuff we think comes with the rock n’ roll lifestyle: bad fashion, smelly vans, experimental music videos, a lot of crowd surfing, and David Lynch interviewing Eddie Vedder. All rock bands hang with David Lynch, didn’t you know that? Put together from over 1,200 hours, per the band’s own admission, Twenty is “told in big themes and bold colors with blistering sound.” And, again, David Lynch conducting interviews with Eddie Vedder. Lynch aside, Crowe is a notorious music lover and scholar and has surely crafted a film that will speak to any music fan, not just Pearl Jam-specific fans. His feature films place heavy emphasis on their soundtracks (heck, even his least-liked feature Elizabethtown had a two-album soundtrack to drive it along), so Twenty should be a pretty fantastic entry into his resume. If not, strobe lights, guys! The film will have its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, which is probably an environment more conducive to head-banging than say Sundance (too much danger of knitted beanies flying off heads). Check out the trailer after the break:

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The entire blogosphere has exclusively heard today that Matt Damon and Cameron Crowe are in talks for a team-up. More to the point, Damon is in talks to join Crowe’s next film, We Bought a Zoo, an adaptation of a memoir by Benjamin Mee. The story follows a man who buys a zoo. Get it?

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Tom Cruise

Whether you love him, hate him, love to hate him, or hate that you love him there’s no denying that Tom Cruise’s career decisions in terms of what directors he will work for have been second-to-none. Or, maybe they have been. You decide.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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