Ah, Almost Famous. There will always be a special place in my heart for you, a place somewhere right next to my first OMG-BEST-BAND-EVR (Sublime), Hunter S. Thompson novels, and Ganguro porn (I regret nothing!).
Yes, as a budding writer/journalist before I knew I was a budding writer/journalist I loved watching Almost Famous and imagining my own awkward, gangly 15-year-old self traveling across the States, interviewing rockstars, and engaging in the kinds of wonderful debauchery that would bless me with lovely stories and a mild case of gonorrhea.
Oh, I had it all planned out. Or at least I memorized the sequence of events in Almost Famous enough to pretend it was my own plan anyway.
First of all, I knew I needed to speak to some sort of Wise Elderly Gentleman who could teach me right from wrong, up from down, and how to make disparaging remarks about music and movies for money and fame. In Almost Famous, this role was played by Mr. Phillip Seymour Hoffman (RIP). In real life, this role was played by Anton, my high school’s Ukrainian bus mechanic with three nipples. (Please don’t ask me how I know this…)
Anton gave me all kinds of important advice that I have made great use of in my writing career. Things such as, “Check work many times – have few mistake,” and “Know difference between colon and semicolon,” and “If boy look at you not good, you take knife and stab many times. Make dead.”
Anton, where are you now, old buddy?
Next up, I knew in order to further my writing career I would need to start interviewing superstars. Not just famous people in my school or town like Anton, but actual famous people like serial killers and PTA moms who came back from summer break having gained thirty pounds. (“Oh, Sherry… congrats on the pregnancy, girl! You should have told us!” “I’m not pregnant… I’m fat.” “Oh…”)
So, where can I find some famous people? I’m 15, I don’t have a license, and my mother blocks my computer access from all the coolest sites. What to do?
Luckily, even as a stupid teenager, the lightbulb of inspiration popped above my head from time to time. The newspaper! That’s where I’ll find the famous!
I grabbed my bicycle and my notepad and set off for town. The wind was flowing through my hair, the birds were singing, and there was nary a piece of trash thrown in my direction the entire way.
I rolled into town. The scene was grim – something out of an old Western. The town was black and white and dusty all over. Tumbleweeds rolled down the street and everyone wore burrs on their boots. A man with no legs was spitting his tobacco into a glass, but, judging by the huge moist tar stain on his chest, he often missed. A woman with a big calico dress and bustier walked quickly in the opposite direction and flashed me a grin that showed she had no teeth. An old man let his dog lick his face. It was terrifying.
All around me were scenes of old-timey-ness. Where were the televisions? Where were the sagging pants? Where was everything I knew and loved?
Around and around I spun as I tried to find something familiar, but it was no use. I clearly had fallen into some sort of time vortex and traveled back in time to some nondescript 1840s California gold rush town.
The tears started flowing from my eyes as I wondered whether I would ever get home. Would I see my sweet, lovely mother again? Would I taste her delicious lasagna? Would I be stuck here forever?
Just as I began to get comfortable with the thought of growing up without reruns of Boy Meets World, I looked up and saw a banner hanging above the street – Old West Day.
Ah, yes, Old West Day. It’s the Saturday when everyone dresses up like cowboys and gets drunk before 10 am. In my confused state I had completely forgotten about this shitty yearly town holiday.
I gathered my wits and my bicycle and left town. My spirit had been broken, my eyes hurt from crying, and nothing Anton had ever said had prepared me for the onslaught of wrinkled old people who love to dress as cowboys and cowgirls and go to a random town in New Jersey.
In conclusion, Almost Famous is a great movie.