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March 2, 2023 110 mins

This week, teenage journalists Jamie, Caitlin, and special guest Kristen Lopez deliver a juicy story on Almost Famous.

(This episode contains spoilers)

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
On the Bedel Cast, the questions asked if movies have
women in them, are all their discussions just boyfriends and husbands,
or do they have individualism? The patriarchy? Zef and best
start changing it with the Bechdel Cast. Hey Jamie, Hey Caitlin,
it's me a journalist and you know you're the lead

(00:22):
podcaster of the Bechdel Cast. Yeah, and it's time for
our interview. So tell me, Jamie, what is it that
you love about podcasts? Sorry, I can't talk right now.
I have to go hook up with a podcast fan,
the horniest fans in the world. Are you talking about

(00:44):
a groupie or is she more of a No, I'd
say she's more of a there's no good word for
like band aid, like pod aid and for a assistance.
I'm more of a way a way. No, wait, wave.
There's more possibilities with wave. Oh sure, it's more of
a wave. Yeah, there's gotta be there's gotta be puns
like podcast something. I think it does speak to the

(01:07):
inherent and I say this with love, the inherent dorkiness
of having a podcast and being a big fan of
them that instead of having our equivalent of like super fans,
it's like parasocial relationships I'm very self conscious about. I'm like, oh,
we're all such dorks. It's fun. It's fun anyway. Hello,

(01:29):
and welcome to the Bechdel Cast. My name is Caitlin Darante.
My name's Jamie Loftus. And this is our podcast where we,
you know, get profiled and Rolling Stone once and completely
lose sight of ourselves and then almost get into a
plane accident. Yes, so you know, nice knowing you. No,
this is our podcast where we take an intersectional feminist

(01:51):
look at your favorite movies. And today a long time
request the two thousand Cameron Crow epic question Mark, Almost
Sure the Mouse. Yeah, a long time request for the show.
And I'm actually kind of glad we're covering it now

(02:14):
versus closer to when the show began, because I feel
like there's there's ways I feel about this movie now
that I may not have been had the tools to
articulate five or six years ago. Certainly. Yeah, and we
have an amazing guest. Yeah, should we stay what the
Bechtel test is? Oh? Fun at any point? Yeah, So
we've been doing the show for five thousand years, Caitlin'

(02:36):
you're right to say that. What is the Bechtel test anyways?
The Bechtel Test anyways is a mediometric created by a
queer cartoonist, Alison Bechtel, sometimes called the Bechtel Wallace Test.
Many versions of the test. The one that we use
is two characters of a marginalized gender with names must

(02:56):
speak to each other about something other than a man.
Hopefully it's a substantial conversation, something like one of my
favorite exchanges towards the end of this movie, I forgive you.
I didn't apologize meaningful. I mean that's actually a very
very meaningful exchange. That conversation carries a lot of weight

(03:17):
and meaning. Yes, for one moment, this movie is about
mothers and daughters, and I celebrated that one moment exactly.
But anyway, that's the metric that we use simply as
a jumping off point to industry a larger conversation and
to join us in today's conversation. Is pop culture journalist
film editor for The Rape and her book But have

(03:41):
you read the book fifty two Literary Gems that Inspired
Our Favorite Films, which is coming out on March seventh.
It's Kristin Lopez. Hello, I'm so glad I totally didn't
plan on this, but I'm wearing my wed Zeppelin T
shirt to talk about them. So yeah, yeah, I feel
like I came through paired. You did. Penny would be proud.

(04:02):
I feel like she would only the best bands. I'm
wearing my Titanic sweatshirt. Enny would still be proud. I mean,
she would be proud. I feel like she'd give me
some shit. I'm wearing an Ariana Grande sweatshirt. I mean,
it'd be interesting to see how they the feminist world
of rock star groupies would feel about female singers of today.

(04:26):
I feel like they would have many opinions, or they
would be like boomer women and just be like remember
back in our day. I don't know. I feel like
they'd be opposite ends of the spectrum. Yeah, totally. So
you brought us Almost Famous and we must know. What
is your history with this movie? What is your attachment

(04:46):
or non attachment to it? Please share with the class. Yeah,
I mean, Almost Famous is probably one of my favorite
movies of all time. I remember seeing it in the
heyday of like when indie film was cool in like
the early two thousands. You know, this is like the
Garden State era. Right around you know, two thousand to

(05:06):
two thousand and three or four, when indie film was
still considered small scale, but studios were starting to get
into it and making independent films that just had budgets
and big stars, intended to win Oscars and had great soundtracks.
So for me, this was something that I gravitated towards
because of the soundtrack and the time period. You know,

(05:28):
I love the era of the seventies rock scene, even
though now as as an adult woman, I'm like, hm,
there's something to reading Pamela des Bars' book about you know,
groupies of the nineteen seventies and the power they held,
or watching you know, Cynthia plaster Casts documentary. But then

(05:49):
you realize that these were children running around at Los
Angeles at like fourteen fifteen, sleeping with grown men, And
I've had to reconcile with that a little bit. But
you know, as a teenager writing care about that, I
was just like the hedonism and let Zeppelin throwing TV
off of a balcony and driving a motorcycle through the
the you know Continental Hyatt House, Like that's that's cool, thrilling,

(06:13):
and also I mean it's it's probably one of the
few films that actually details with some authenticity do that
I don't think has changed, sadly, the desire to be
a journalist as a young person. You know, like I
tell people a lot like William Miller is very much
my prototype for how I started, you know, big dreams,

(06:35):
thinking it was going to be about hanging out with
cool people. And I mean Cameron Crowe because he based
a lot of that on his own life, really does
capture the naivete and the excitement of journalism in a
way that I don't think you necessarily get. You know,
if you look at like the history of journalism movies,
all the president's men, their dudes in three piece suits

(06:59):
and you know they're they're breaking like government conspiracies. It's
not sexy. It's not fun. I mean Robert Redford is,
but you know, water Gates not sexy. Um. So I
think there's a lot of different things too. I mean
Kate Hudson's great, I mean Billy crude up like that
was a moment in time that I'm not really proud of,
uh for for set problems. It was a wonderful moment

(07:21):
in time, and I think it still remains one of
like the de facto like two thousands era films that
just really captures like my own desire to be a
writer and to be a journalist and sets the bar high,
but at times is also ridiculously authentic and like how

(07:43):
much how little money you get paid, how much you're
working versus how less little you're sleeping. Um, you know,
the celebrities are weird, man, and they say that they're
your buddies until you write something they don't like, and
then it's like, we'll slit your throat up, you know.
So it really does capture a lot of the things
that you know. Now is it as an adult? You know,
I'm like, oh God, I remember those bright starry eyes

(08:06):
I had. I mean, I still have them to an extent,
but they've slowly been pounded down by time. Tell me
about it. There is something so appealing about the like,
I totally agree with you. I think the seeing Little William,
You're just like, oh that if you see that movie
at the right time, You're like, that's me. That's so me.

(08:28):
I'm gonna leave home tomorrow. My mom is so oppressive
and I'm going to go in the road and everyone's
gonna get it. But then it ends up kind of
being a cautionary tale, but then also not because if
you know anything about Cameron Crowe, which I did when
I first saw this movie, I like and it worked out.
Now he makes movies man like, so it's not a
super cautionary tale because you know that he's ends up

(08:49):
like he stays at journalist, he stays an artists. Yeah,
and then he made elizabeth Town and then people got
mad at him. Oh yeah, yeah, I mean Cameron Crowe.
I think people forget the camera. Crow had such a
string of hits. He was almost too big to fail
in the nineteen nineties through to the early two thousands,
and I mean I love most of them. You know,

(09:11):
they're all problematic ish in different ways. I've still never
seen Jerry McGuire. Jerry McGuire is a lot of fun,
even though it is again incredibly troubling. But it's got
a it's got a fantastic Kelly Preston performance. So I
always it's one of those movies that I don't plan
on watching and then like an hour will have gone by,

(09:31):
but it's great. But then he did this, and then
I mean, I don't think Elizabethtown necessarily doomed him. I
think it was the film that people just realized that
they were sick of him. I think Vanilla Sky was
like the first, like Wobble, which I think Vanilla Sky
is a fantastic movie. Time is going to tell on
that one. And Elizabeth Town. I remember reading the script

(09:53):
for Elizabethtown back in the days when people would like
trade screenplays that they got from illicit means, and I
read the script, and the script that I read was fantastic.
The movie is not that. And I know that Crowe
is played around with it a bit more, and he's
released not necessarily director's cuts, but more extended versions of

(10:13):
that film that have gotten I think, closer to the
heart of what he wants it to be. But the
spark is gone because if you look at everything else,
you know, loha, Oh my god, I forgot that with him.
And then did he do we bought a zoo? He did?
We bought a zoo, which is only good for Matt
Damon in a cozy dad's sweater. So, I mean, I

(10:34):
don't know. I don't know if maybe he's one of
those directors that, like, once you become so far removed
from the zeitgeist, you just can't get it back because
I think that like Cameron Crowe as a director really
defined some some respective eras, whether that was writing the
script for Fast Times a Richmond High or say Anything,
or or even something like singles. I mean, he was

(10:55):
really close to the eras that he got, and I
don't know, maybe he's a maybe just you know, the
benefits of time and age. He's just not hitting it
in the same way. I feel like a lot of
directors from this generation are currently in a flop era,
and in some cases that's a decades long flop era.
I e. Robert Zemeckis and others. Oh yeah, anyway, Wow,

(11:20):
Caitlin just took this opportunity to just fling shit for
Robert Zamecas for no reason. Look, I had to. We
had to watch Pinocchio recently, and I'm still mad about it. Anyway, Jamie,
what is your history with almost Famous? I honestly I
rewatching this for this episode was kind of a journey

(11:43):
because I sort of went into it. I mean I
went into it being like, this is a movie I've
seen maybe like two times. I was like, I think
the first time I saw it would have been in
high school, and I liked it, but I don't something
about like movies about classic rock or just like not
fun for me. Usually it's just not my thing, even
though I liked the music itself, but like rock star

(12:05):
movies were never really it for me. However, journalism, scrappy
little journalism movies are for me. But I think that
I saw this movie on both sides of the raging
Manic Pixie dream Girl debates of the early twenty tents
and place out once before that was like a popular
term and was just like, ah, this movie is like

(12:27):
I wasn't thinking about it very hard because I was fifteen,
and I was like, I want to live on a bus,
and I think that might have been the extent of
my thoughts. I was like, I don't want to see
people do weird stuff, but like be a loser like
that seems like we're all excel in life hopefully. And
then on the other side, I think it was after
the Manic Pixie dream Girl thing, and I came in

(12:47):
with a feeling of dismissiveness towards the movie and the
character Penny Lane that now watching it again years later,
I think was maybe a little unfair, and I don't know, Yeah,
I feel like if on a whole journey with this
damn movie because now, like I don't know, I did
that show Lolita podcast a couple of years ago and

(13:09):
really looked into how young women and in the case
of Penny Lane, girls are you know, hyper sexualized by
older men, and like how and then also on top
of that, how like fairly complex characters and movies can
be reduced to marketing symbols in a way that I
feel like Penny Lane kind of has become over the years.

(13:30):
And I didn't even realize that when I was going
into this viewing. I was coming in with the like
poster of Penny Lane in my head and didn't really
remember that much about what actually happens with the character,
what she says and what she does. And I still
think that, you know, we have a lot to talk about,

(13:50):
and there's like, certainly not enough to be like she's
actually like one of the most well developed characters in
film canon, Like she's definitely not. But I do think
that there was more to her than I gave credit
for on my last viewing. I have a lot of,
like I guess Lolita Dolores adjacent thoughts where Penny Lane
is the idea, and then Lady is the person and

(14:13):
finding the space between that, and then I had a
lot of fun looking into the person who Penny Lane
is based on, Pamela de Bars. Got a little bit
about her for later. I don't know, I just it's
been a real day I've been I'm in the fucking zone.
I didn't I didn't walk into this recording being like
it's time to lightly hand it to Cameron Crowe. But

(14:36):
here we are. It's the day we're doing it. Caitlyn.
What's your history with this movie? Not a long one.
I saw it for the first time in the mid
two thousands, I think as a freshman in college, and
I was not really I guess I was just kind
of indifferent about it. I was not like, Wow, I
love this, nor was I like I don't like. I

(14:59):
was it's like, okay, now I've seen it. So brave
of me to be indifferent about things. And then I
watched it again, I would say probably within the past
like six years or so, I think, just because I
was like, wow, people still talk about this movie a lot.
People still ride or die pretty hard for this movie,
and I don't remember it at all, So maybe I

(15:22):
should watch it again. And I watched it, and I
realized I kind of confused this movie with Boogie Nights.
Not necessarily like the plot or anything like that. It's
more just like scenes that I thought happened in Boogie
Nights actually happened. And Almost Famous. I think, like the
like guy on the roof and jumping into the pool scene,

(15:43):
I was like, that could happen in either a movie.
I feel like, so my brain kind of just like
confuses scene like individual scenes from those movies. But anyway,
the most important thing is that Almost Famous has no
Alpha Molina, and so it is by default the weaker film.
Um but precisely, you know, I don't think that that
means there's there's nothing to love about Almost Famous, But

(16:06):
what if Alfred Molina was in it? I also, this
is like so goofy. But I forgot that this was
the movie where Mark Marin said locked the gates, and
I sort of it like itched something in the back
of my mind where I was like, wait a second,
I like, I just forgot that that was where that
soundclip was from. I didn't realize that was Mark Marrin.

(16:26):
I didn't either. Yeah, at the beginning of not to
out myself as someone that. I mean, do WTFS gave
me a really good show, Okay, I can, and I
listened to it sometimes when i'm when I'm excited about
the guest. Okay. And at the beginning of every episode
of the show I've been listening to since high school.

(16:46):
That's just started when I was in high school. Wow,
And at the beginning of every episode, you guys, there's
that there's that clip where he goes, look the gates.
Now I'm embarrassed. I like that show sounds like you're
a podcast groupy to me, Jamie. He seems nice. Now,
my mom was a podcast groupie. My mom. I mean,
I think I've told the story in the podcast before.

(17:07):
My mom. I showed her WTF when I was in
high school and she got really into it, and she
had a huge crush on Mark Marin and we saw
him do you Stand Up? Once? And he like remembered
who she was because she had replied to all of
his tweets every single day for months, and he remembered
who she was, but like, not in a positive way.

(17:29):
He was like, so, Jill the groupie is in my
bloody fair Anyway, I'm excited to talk about the movie.
So shall we Let's unlock the gates and started this
amazing discussion. Let's do that right after we'd take this

(17:51):
quick break. All Right, we're back and we're unlocking those gates.
Mark Marin would be so mad. All right, shall we?
Is it time for Caitlin's famous recap? Yeah, let's do it. Okay,

(18:12):
It's nineteen sixty nine in San Diego, California. Ever heard
of it? We meet a young William, his mom, Elaine
played by Francis mcdormant, and his older sister Anita that's
Zoe Deschanelle. William's mom has a lot of rules, but
she's also kind of a hippie. But she hates drugs

(18:34):
and rock and roll's. But she's also pretty cool and chill.
She's also a non conformist who doesn't want them to
They don't celebrate Christmas on Christmas. They celebrate in September,
so it's not commercial. And they they're maybe vegans, I
don't know, they're whatever. Yeah, they see vegetarian vegans, is right.

(18:56):
She kind of cracked She cracked me up because I
feel like she I've known, like when I was younger,
I had like friends with like kind of hippie parents
like this where they were so countercultural that they sort
of were back to being conservative parents, and like didn't
realize it. I was like, but wait, they can't go
outside or say bad words, and they're like, yeah, but

(19:16):
that's because of counterculture, and you're like, hmm okay. So
Elaine and Anita don't get along because of all the
things that Elaine has banned in the household. So Anita
leaves home and leaves her music collection to William, saying
it will set him free, which is the best gift

(19:37):
that an elder sibling can give a younger sibling. That's
so beautiful. Yes, and I hope that William saved all
those records because they would fetch him the mint. Truly
someone's dad. Yeah, So yeah, we see him listening to
all these records, and then we flash forward to four
years later. He is now fifteen. He played by Patrick Fuget.

(20:02):
He is an aspiring music journalist and he's kind of
following around Lester Bangs. That's Philip Seymour Hoffmann, who is
the editor of Cream, a music magazine, and Lester is like,
all right, so you want to be a music journalist, great,
but don't make friends with rock stars because there'll be

(20:22):
a bad influence on you and they'll use you. Just
be careful. But he gives William his first assignment to
write a thousand words on Black Sabbath. So William goes
to a Black Sabbath concert but he can't get in
because he's not on the list and he's a baby
and he's a child. Also the baby Baby William as

(20:44):
Michael Anganaro, which I thought was fun. He's like a
child star and an adult star. He's lovely, and he's
married to Maya Erskin. He's the hilarious drama teacher in
Penn fifteen. If anybody watch this into Okay, he's amazing.
But the Patrick fugit, I think it's so like, I

(21:06):
don't know, so rare that Like I as I was
watching it, I was like, oh, you don't really see
a lot of like actual teenagers playing teenagers. Like he's
at the exact perfect moment where you're always just like,
oh my god. Like he's just so pubizent in struggling,
he's extremely fifteen. He's poor kid. Yeah, So outside the

(21:29):
Black Sabbath concert, he meets Penny Lane. That's Kate Hudson
and some other they're not groupies. They are band aids,
as they call themselves, because they are there not for
the famous people, but for the love of the music.
They're literally kind of announced themselves as like muses. They're like,

(21:51):
we are We're not here to fuck the band. We're
like a part of a grand tradition, right, But according
to be Hugh Phillips, she's like, we still kind of
fuck the band. Yeah, it's only what was a lie
like way, it's only black jobs. Yeah, just blow jobs
and that's it. Yes, there's rules, there's standards. Yes. Uh.

(22:15):
Then William meets the guys from fictional rock band Stillwater,
although there is a real rock band named Stillwater, but
this is not the same band. The Stillwater in this
movie is a very fictional band. They are coming into
the Black Sabbath concert. I guess they're probably like the Openers,
but um, we meet lead guitarist Russell that's Billy Crude. Up.

(22:38):
We also meet the lead singer Jeff that's Jason Lee
and the other band mates who are far less important characters. Um,
but William wants to interview them, and they're like, fuck critics,
we play for the fans, and then William shows them
that he is a fan because he knows theirs and

(23:00):
their songs and other tidbits about them. So they take
a liking to William and they get him into the show.
Then they invite William to go to La with them
and he basically starts touring with Stillwater as they're kind
of like journalist on retainer where everyone's role and I

(23:22):
know that this is like based in Cameron Crowe's actual experience,
but I'm just always like it would be so stressful
to me to be in a ragtag group and be
that unclear on what my role was. I be like
what am I doing here? Like what is my job? Well,
it's really like the ultimate who you know story apparently

(23:43):
because like he gets the first assignment because he meets
Lester Bangs the Great Philip symour Hoffmann who gives him
the assignment, and then at a certain point Ben Fong
Torres from Rolling Stone just calls him up and says, oh,
we've seen some of your stuff. We want you to
write for us, which, in Cameron Crowe's actual narrative he

(24:03):
did work partially for a Rolling Stone. They did hire
him on not knowing how old he was, but like
he was doing actual work for them before this, as
opposed to just them being like, oh, we read some
of your stuff other places and we want to poach
you as like probably a permalance, a physition. I don't
see them hiring him his staff. So you know, back

(24:26):
in the days when you didn't have to show any
proof of identity to get a job. They just call
him on the phone. They're like, you can write two
thousand words for us, right, we don't need a bank
account or social Security card. Just tell us where to
drop the money. Yeah, no need to hill out tax forms, etc.
I liked the few like actual historic figures that they

(24:46):
bring in from this era because mostly everyone's made up,
but like ben Functuras and lester Bangs, very real guys.
I went, my dad was a big lester Bangs head. Okay, yeah,
we had some lester Bangs kicking around the house. Make
no mistake. Okay. So William starts touring with the band

(25:08):
and they're going around the US penny Lane and the
other band aids are along for the ride, such as
Plexia that's Anna Paquin and Sapphire played by for Roosa
Balk and Penny Lane is having a not so secret
affair with the lead singer Russell, even though he has

(25:31):
a partner back home. And then also William seems to
have a crush on Penny. Meanwhile, back in San Diego,
Elane is not thrilled that William is like touring with
this rock band and she's always calling him and like
terrorizing the people at the front desk of hotels and

(25:51):
being like, send a message to my son to stay
away from drugs. I wish we knew more about Elaine
because I really I'm just like, she's just I'm like,
I just want more context for how she got to
where she's at. I also love that one of the
many people she calls and interacts with is a pre
modern family Eric stone Street. Yes, yes, the guy that's

(26:14):
like your mom really freaked me out. Yeah. I do
like the idea of Frances McDormand just calling around and
terrifying different men, which is kind of what she does
the whole movie. And she's totally fine with the long
distance charges because she's calling pretty much across the country.
Yeah right, it's so I mean, I don't know. Also,

(26:36):
her character was more complicated than I was expecting the
movie to allow her to be but we'll get there. Yeah.
So then William gets a call from Ben Funktores at
Rolling Stone, who wants William to write for them and
do a piece on Stillwater and they're going to pay
him a thousand dollars in nineteen seventies money. Oh my god,

(26:59):
I can't a thousand dollars in twenty twenty three money
for writing something like that. You're just like, right, okay, cool,
and like all expenses pay. That's how you know it's
fucking fiction. They're right. So now Stillwater is apprehensive about
talking to William because Rolling Stone has a reputation for

(27:21):
like hating certain bands, and they don't know if they
can trust him. But they're like, yeah, he's probably harmless.
So William keeps trying to do an interview with Russell,
but Russell keeps blowing him off. He's usually too busy
in his hotel room with Penny Lane. Then Russell and

(27:43):
Jeff get in a fight about their roles in the
band and the band's image and all this stuff. So
Russell takes off, with William saying that he just wants
to hang out with real people from now on. So
they go to this party at a fan's house in
Topeka where Russell does acid and is like, I'm a

(28:07):
golden God. I'm on drugs, and then he jumps over fun.
I didn't remember what happens in this movie to the
extent where I'm like, does he get injured when he jumped?
Because there are I feel like a few different scenes
in movies over the years where someone jumps into a
pool from a great height. Sometimes it's a really cathartic moment.

(28:29):
Other times they get gravely injured. This one was one
of the cathartic ones. Sometimes you have not another teen
movie where it's hilarious. Other times you get Get Him
to the Greek where Russell Brand does break his arm.
I hate that. I was probably thinking about Get Him
to the Greek. It was a moment in time. That's
a good movie. That's also a great rock star movie.

(28:50):
So were we ever so young as to be watching
Get Him to the Greek? Yeah, Oh my gosh. Okay.
So then and the next morning, the band reconciles and
they head to Greenville on their next step of the tour,
but William's deadline for the Rolling Stone piece is four
days away. And he still hasn't really interviewed Russell, and

(29:14):
he hasn't written anything substantial yet. Then the band's label
brings in a new manager, Jimmy Fallon, because they're they're
current manager doesn't really know what he's doing. So Jimmy
Fallon comes in. He's like, I know how to do
all this stuff for you, and also we're gonna fly

(29:34):
in a plane from now on. And they're like, what
abandoned Doris the Bus? Yeah? Right, that is like a
fun movie paner. It's like, bus means your assault of
the earth. Playing means your sellout garbage. You're like, yeah, exactly,
but also what a spirit airlines mean? Not addressed in film,

(29:56):
but also feminist icon Doris the Bus. It's true, you know,
although classically set in a nurturing role. Yeah, it's complicated anyway.
So meanwhile, William keeps not going back home as he's
supposed to. He misses his high school graduation, and then

(30:17):
Rolling Stone informs him that his piece on Stillwater is
going to be the cover, so the stakes are even
higher than They all head to Boston, where, during a
poker game with some other rock stars, Russell is like, yeah,
you guys, can have Penny Lane and the other band
aids after this, because Russell's girlfriend will be joining them

(30:42):
on the next step of the tour in New York,
so they kind of have to like distance themselves from
the band aids. And then William sees this unfold. Penny
sees Russell with his girlfriend Leslie. She's very upset by this,
and she takes a bunch of queludes and William finds

(31:04):
Penny in her hotel room. She's oding. He calls in
some doctors. They have to pump her stomach. There's more
that happens in this scene that we will unpack, but
the next day she's recovered and she kind of wishes
him farewell and she heads back to San Diego. Then

(31:27):
William is on the plane with the band. He finally
is getting his interview with Russell, but then the plane
runs into an electrical storm and it seems like they
might crash and die. So everyone starts yelling out all
of their secrets and they're like, I love you guys,
but wait a minute, I hate you. I killed a
man in my car, and then a very two thousand

(31:50):
gay joke, yes yeah, and everybody slept with the one
guy's wife. Yeah, yes, it's not like actual like real
stuff like I been stealing. Like I feel like the
menu does this a bit better where there like actually
have consequences like if you're not I mean, I know
that the manager admits that, like maybe he took an
extra dollar here, like maybe he's been embezzling. But like,

(32:13):
considering most of the rock stars of the seventies that
got like royally screwed over by recording companies, I feel
that this guy definitely probably stole way more from them, probably.
And then so William is like, you know what, all
you guys suck. You claim to be about the fans,
but Penny was your biggest fan and you used her

(32:34):
and dumped her. So it's a very intense moment. But
then the plane recovers from the storm and they all
survive and they land, and Russell is like, you know what,
William write whatever you want about us. So now William
has all these juicy secrets, and with pressure from Rolling Stone,

(32:56):
he writes this juicy story. But the band and eyes
everything because they realize they seem super corny and amateurish.
I love this like another as a fan of journalism movies,
even when they suck. There's something so fun to me
about the deadline call. The deadline call comes a couple

(33:16):
different times. The actor who's enforcing the deadline has really
never given much to work with, so it always sounds
kind of goofy, where he's like, all right, William, you
have one minutes to get me the best story of
all time or the magazine will explode, and it's like, yeah,
I feel it. I love when there's a character that's

(33:38):
like and I'm here to remind you of the stakes
and you're like, thanks, man, appreciate it. And then he
says something like oh yeah, when my lady wants me
to unclog the garbage disposal, I have I understand. I
gotta get on it too, And I'm like, okay, sir,
thank you, Ben Fong Taurus. So the band denies everything,

(34:03):
and so Rolling Stone can't run the story because they
think William made everything up, which I have a lot
of issues with that ending, well, at least that section
as a journalist, Like yeah, of course they're gonna say no,
they didn't do all of this, which is why you
have like if he has those seats or like other thing,

(34:25):
and I'm pretty sure like if he demanded it, they
could go to legal and pretty much say like sue us.
Like the US is pretty like when it comes to
like slander laws. I mean, I don't think Stoewater was
going to be sue in them because they would have
had they would have to prove that it didn't happen.
This is where I'm just like, come on, yeah. Also,

(34:45):
he has all this stuff on record, like he was
rolling a job that also stuck for me where you're
just like, but we've seen him taking notes and recording
everything the whole time he has their and even so
you're totally record like he would have more you know,
leeway than it's implied. And then also at the like

(35:08):
insult to injury that they cast off the entire like
blame of that onto like shrew woman who works at
the magazine who's like, you know, like the feminist kill
joy at Rolling Stone ruins the story and you're just like, ah, man,
You're just like, oh, it's a conspiracy. So the Who
can get on the cover of Rolling Stone, which I

(35:29):
was like, I love that still Water with your first
choice and the Who in nineteen sixteen, nineteen seventy whatever
with your backup choice, Like, that's offensive to rog your
daltry in so many levels, right, especially because at this
point in this like fictional band's career, they were still
an opening act. It seemed. Yeah, yeah, there's no like moment.

(35:52):
There's no like Star is Born moment where they like
have a song that races up the chart. I mean,
it's not it's not that thing you do. Not pretend
to be nice and Josie and the Pussycats yet. No,
and I mean I know as I know he sells.
It is like it's a think piece, which is that's
pretty much every journalist like thing where we don't know
what the hell to say. We're like, it's a think

(36:13):
piece about a working band making good and you know like, okay,
yeah that's great. It's not original, but I mean it's
it's doable. Um, So I mean I guess that's that's
your angle. So I mean, damn, dude, you better have
a really great story to back that up from every
other working band making good in the nineteen seventy Yeah,

(36:37):
can I have I have one more? I'm late to
adding that it's no blank from other music mon oh, no,
go for it. It's no Cinderella from the Cheetah Girls. Folks,
it's yeah, overnight hit, which I mean, I shouldn't complain.
Nobody's really watching Almost Famous for the journalistic elements of it,
I get it, But as a journalist, I just have

(36:58):
to be like, this is not how actual writing works.
Are you saying that Hollywood has misrepresented something? I mean, yeah, Hollywood.
If we're talking about how Hollywood has represented journalism again,
they're all hot dudes that are breaking like government corruption
in three piece suits looking like Bob Radford and or

(37:19):
they are female reporters who are sleeping with their sources
a la Amy Schumer or all of the other female
journalists that apparently can't keep it in their pants. Or
they're female journalists who are, in spite of being journalists,
constantly referred to as mothers and wives like the recent
movie she said, Oh yeah yeah, or they're they're never

(37:43):
been kissed, you know where. It's just like, we want
to have you relive your trauma in order to sustain
a story. Godos. I feel like if a woman had
been at the center of Almost Famous, this would have
been like pretty baby or something. This would have taken
a really dark her where they would have been like,
we can't take you seriously as a journalist. You're a groupie, right,

(38:05):
she would have been completely mistaken as a woman offering
sex with like a no patner hand. So, oh, you're
totally right. You're totally right. And it's like, uh, I
don't think I want that movie. I mean I kind
of do, but I would love, like maybe like a
Lourene Scafaria or like a woman who actually understands the

(38:27):
nuances of that era in some way to do it
because I think that, I mean, I have a lot
of opinions. I'll let you get through the recap before
I started throwing them out. So, because the band has
denied all of these you know, stories and quotes and stuff,
William basically gets fired from Rolling Stone, so he goes

(38:48):
to the airport to go back home, where he runs
into his sister Anita. They both return home and reunite
with their mom Elaine. Meanwhile, Russell calls Lane to see
how she's doing. He wants to meet up and like
clear the air and say the things they never said
to each other, and she gives him an address that

(39:11):
turns out to be William's address, so Russell shows up
realizes it's not Penny's house, it's Williams. And he's like, hey,
I called Rolling Stone and I was like, actually, what
William wrote was true. And then William's like, Okay, let's
do this one last time, and he takes out his

(39:33):
recording device and he starts to interview Russell again, and
then the movie ends with William's story does end up
on the cover of Rolling Stone. Penny. We see her
leaving on the trip to Morocco that she's always wanted
to go on. We see the band continuing to play together,
and we see William hanging out with his family. Yeah

(39:56):
the end as led Zeppelin plays at the end and
getting another Zeppelin reference in there. Yeah, let's take a
quick break and then we will come back to discuss.
And we're back, and we're back. Where shall we start

(40:19):
with this movie? There's so much to talk about. I mean,
I think I think for me, there there's two there's
two things that are worth pointing out. So I don't know,
did you got you guys. I'm assuming saw the theatrical
version of this. Yes, Oh, I guess I don't know
the difference, but I saw whatever version is on Amazon Prime. Okay, Yeah,

(40:40):
because there's there's two versions. There's there's the theatrical cut,
and then there's crows director's cut, which is commonly called
untitled UM, which is what he wanted to name the
movie and they told him, no, you can't. People will
get confused by a movie with no title called untitled,
which is fair enough. And the un title version is

(41:01):
maybe about half an hour longer it's and it's got
a bit more backstory, particularly with regards to Penny Lane's
relationship with Russell Hammond. It's kind of frustrating that they
cut so like that sequence when they first re meet
at the hotel and the ice room where you just
see her coat go over the window to block it.

(41:22):
There's a whole dialogue exchange there that goes on that
pretty much like yeah, yeah, that lays out their history
and pretty much she's like the back and forth of
like she doesn't want to, but she can't help it,
you know. There's an extended sequence about her birthday that
is just like heartbreaking leading up to the reveal that

(41:43):
they've sold the groupies to Humble Pie, where Jimmy Fallon
just like treats her like shit and it's just like
another like poker. So there's a lot more to her
character in the untitled version, as well as more like
inside rock things like I think the Mark Marin scene
goes all longer in that one. Uh So I would

(42:04):
say to people Mark Merrin, yes, I would say, if
you haven't, it's it's worth watching the director's cut, if
only because I think the biggest complaint a lot of
people have when they watch the theatrical is like, well,
I don't know why she would give this guy the
time of day other than he's hot, you know, and
he's a rock star. In the movie, there are a

(42:25):
couple more scenes that showcase this history. She doesn't seem
quite as naive when it comes to him. So I
just had to throw that out. It's worth It's worth
a watch. It doesn't completely fix the Penny Lane issues,
but it gives a little bit more backstory. Sure, I
watched the ice box scene and then I read about
the kind of the rest of their mouth stuff, and
I do feel like it would, yeah, like help a

(42:49):
little bit because so much of I don't know, I
have so many complicated feelings about Penny Lane. But I
think that in the theatrical cut, before I started doing
research when I just watched it raw. I mean there,
you just don't get to learn very much about her
until the very end, and that's because you know, this

(43:09):
movie is so told through William's eyes and like part
of and so that's like, I guess that's where I
struggle with it. Where it's I think the criticism around
how little we know about her is like well placed,
and we don't know a lot about this character, but
this movie is being narrated by someone who doesn't know
a lot about her and is clearly like idealizing her

(43:34):
in a way that is, you know that maybe is
like what she how she wants to be idealized, but
not as is not a reflection of who she actually
is as a person. And I do think that that's
really interesting in a character. I don't know, I don't
know how well I'm going to be able to articulate
my thoughts on Penny Lane, because there definitely is like

(43:56):
so much going on with her in terms of like
who she wants to project to the world versus who
she actually is, which is like such a thing for
sixteen year olds that I feel like it's overly dismissive
to be like Penny Lane is not a real character.
It's like, well, no, Penny Lane is a like character
that lady devised for herself to be able to navigate

(44:18):
the world. And you know, you can have issues with
that on its face, and you can have issues with
like a you know world where that seems necessary. But
I don't think that that means that it's not a
character worth examining. It's she's a Cameron Crowe woman, I
think is the big thing. You know, like Cameron Crowe

(44:39):
is nothing if not consistent with the types of women
that he has written. You know, she's she's Dorothy Boyd
and Dorothy Boyd I think, yeah, Dorothy Boyard is the
Renees Awa, her character in Jerry Maguire, you know, the
woman that makes you want to be a better man,
you know, type of thing hit a woman who has
you at hello. Yes, yes, exactly. And they're all blonde too.

(45:02):
Like we didn't really start to realize that he was
actually creating the same type, you know, like Penelope Cruz
and Ventila Skies is very similar. Or of course, like
the Apotheosis is the Manipixie dream girl. Karson Dunst in
Elizabethtown and that's where it becomes dissociative, yes, And I
think what's what's interesting is Crowe has talked about how

(45:22):
he wrote Penny Lane to be a tribute to the
women that he saw on the road in groupie situations
now what we know as groupies, And it's really jarring
to me again to watch this movie as a teenager
and to read Pamela Despar's book and numerous other groupies
of this time period of written books and Cynthia plaster

(45:44):
Casts did a documentary which is also really interesting worth watching,
and these women will tell you that in the nineteen seventies,
which was a far more permissive time, that they felt
there was empowerment in being a groupie, that they are
inspiring the music right as as as she says, you know,
and that did happen? You know, I think, like what

(46:06):
is it? Rolling Stone referred to groupies by name in
some of their songs. Zeppelin did it, like all of
them have name dropped. But now to go back to
this post me two world that we're living in now,
especially like watching the movie this week after like Steven
Tyler got sued for sexually assaulting a minor who he

(46:28):
also talked openly about having a relationship with when she
was a child. It hits differently now, I think, like
I realized I had aged differently with this movie when
I realized that Penny Lane, they make a very specific
point of saying that she's over eighteen. She's clearly over
twenty one because they're drinking too, So like she's in

(46:48):
this weird non specific age limit where she's clearly legal,
but she's not old and decrepit, like twenty okay, because yeah,
because I was really I mean, and we'll talk, we'll
get into this, but this movie's approach to consent. This
movie is approached to underage characters and their sexuality. Right.

(47:12):
Not bad, it's real bad. Um, But I was like,
how old are these these band aids? Because there's a
scene early on where Penny Lane is talking to William
and she's like, how old are you? And he's like eighteen.
She's like me too, okay, but how old are we really?
And he goes seventeen. She says me too, and he's like, well,

(47:33):
I'm sixteen. She says me too, and then he's like,
but I'm also fifteen, and then she stops talking. So
I'm like, okay, I guess she's sixteen. But I also
wasn't sure if she was just kind of like playing
along with him. Yeah, she's playing along with him. She says,
the truth sounds different. You know, it's clear that she
can tell that he's not being truthful. I mean, I

(47:54):
got the impression, and I think it's helped by Kate Hudson. Looking.
I think she was like what twenty twenty two was
early twenties when she was twenty one when the movie
came out, because she's born in seventy nine, so she
was an adult one of his film. But then I
went and looked at the script because the script usually
tells how old a character is or ballpark. So here's

(48:15):
what I found. As far as Penny Lane, her character
introduction does not specify how old she is, so we
don't have anything to go on there. But Plexia when
her character is introduced, here's what the script says. Another
breathless girl teetering on tall shoes. She is in the
vicinity of sixteen. Her black hair is cropped short and

(48:37):
died red, just like the cover of Bowie's Aladdin Sane.
She is Plexia, the voluptuous one from Riverside. So Polexia
sixteen years old. Here we go for outsteps Sapphire nineteen,
a tall girl with taller platforms, heavy eye makeup, etc.
So we have a Sapphire who's the Froosa Baut character.

(48:59):
She is nineteen in the script. Then we have chattering
excitedly with sophistication far beyond her seventeen years. Is Australia
so or estralla, I don't know how she pronounces it.
So she is seventeen. So we have these characters who

(49:20):
are no older than nineteen, and some as young as
sixteen Penny Lane unclear. Again it's not specified, but I
have to assume because even if they are drinking, that
doesn't mean they're of legal drinking age, right because they're
usually like you know, they're in hotel rooms and stuff
like that where they wouldn't be carded or anything. I

(49:41):
feel like Penny Lane could very easily be sixteen. There's
definitely a chance that she's not of age. Yeah, the movie.
The movie puts her in this like she's old enough
to party age whatever age that you want that to be.
And and I mean to read Pamela Dispar's book in
the other like groupies of that era sixteen would be

(50:01):
nice because like a lot of these girls started out
at like thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. I mean they're they're babies
who had very permissive parents, you know, or we're not
you know, came from from families where it was okay
for them to be running around and I mean you
and I think what's hard for me to reconcile with
is like the real world implications of what we now know.

(50:21):
You know, like what is an Axel Rose adopted his
teenage girlfriend, you know, so he could write sweetch out
of Mine or something like that, like absurd. Yeah, I
mean there's like I mean, the list I feel like
the lists of kind of classic rockers of the sixteen
and seventies that didn't engage in this behavior is shorter
than the ones that did. I usually, I joke quote

(50:44):
unquote because I think that's the only way to deal
with with some of this sometimes is I'm like, finding
a rock star that didn't sleep with children is a
lesson futility because I think, I mean, I know, like
like you know, I've read rock star biographies. I love
the who you know. I'm like Roger Daughtry writes in
his autobiography that like he had illegitimate children, but you

(51:05):
don't need to know about like he was. He claims
he wasn't doing anything terrible, you know, whereas as we
know like Pete Townsend, you know, it was definitely dating
underach girls. So it's it's one of those things where
you're like, how do we reconcile with what we historically
know and in which now I think, even within the
last few years with me too, is far more open

(51:25):
about like actually know this was inappropriate and some of
these these you know, women that were groupies in that
era have had to go back and do their own
kind of reflection on like, yeah, did I get taken
advantage of? And it's hard to enjoy the movie without knowing.
I mean, I compartmentalize because as a woman, as a

(51:45):
disabled woman, like I have to compartmentalize in order to
enjoy anything, because nothing is perfect. But they talk about
this often on the podcast, and I mean, like you
have to in order to enjoy this movie, because you're like,
I don't really know if that's appropriator, right, because what's
happening in the movie, there's certainly a historical precedent for

(52:07):
all of this behavior, and it was very permissible back
then in the in this era, and even in two
thousand when this movie came out, it was still far
more permissible by our rape culture than it is today
in twenty twenty three. So it's very tricky too. My
thing is like it's I have no issue with even like, like,

(52:30):
I mean, the character descriptions I think are very obviously
written by a man, But I mean the fact that
these characters are the age that they are, I feel
like that's just pretty historically accurate. I feel like it
would be almost dishonest to be like, and these women
were twenty seven and like, you know, taking time off
from their job at the bank or whatever fun you know,

(52:51):
Like it is like this was what historically happened, and
it's something that I agree Christmas has been really uncomfortable
and fascinating to watch the people involved have to grapple
or not grapple with that period of history. I think
that my problems with it just have to do it
the way that it's framed and told, and like it
just seems like I mean, in some ways and for

(53:15):
certain characters, Cameron Crowe is an excellent person to be
telling this story. He literally, to some extent was William,
but in other areas he's like deeply unqualified to like
I mean, and even in most of the issues with
this movie are not with what's happening. It's how it's
we're being told that it's happening, and the way that

(53:36):
it's you know, like glorified as like these are the
golden days, like this was the best that things ever were,
and there's it's just deeply uncritical of anything and is
so determined to kind of glorify certain aspects of this world,
not all of them, but most of but a lot
of them. There's the point at the end, towards the

(53:58):
end of the movie where they're talking about the new
types of groupies, right Sapphire brings out. You know, none
of them use birth control, and you know they don't
know what it's like to be a fan, you know,
until love a piece of music till it hurts. And
I think that that's this real critical distinction that Cameron
Crowe feels that these women are responsible for that they

(54:21):
are responsible. They are muses, right, they are these Tripsikorean
type of muses that have inspired the music. And they're
not here for the money. They're not here to get
pregnant and railroads, you into marriage or any of that.
You know, they're not here for anything other than the music.
But as we've seen a lot of rock stars, Will

(54:41):
Jeff says at one point, the chicks are great, and
so it's a little like ridiculous to be like, yeah,
it's kind of stupid for you to say that the
women are here for this altruistic like they're here to
inspire music and the dudes are are just here because
you know they're not. They don't see them just things
to have messed around with and get weighed. And really,

(55:04):
if we're talking about inspiring the music, I mean, sweet
Child of minds a great song, but would we does
anybody know the name of the girl that inspired it? No?
You know, like, and I think so it is a
little disingenuous to be like, these these women are here,
these young girls are here, you know, purely because they
don't want to And Penny Laye makes that distinction at

(55:26):
several times. You know, groupies want to be near someone famous.
They're not here for anything else. There's a hierarchy, right,
I'm also sorry. I always think of that. I also
think of the song My Sharona every time that this
like thing comes up, like there's so many songs and
you're totally right, Christmas. It's like that you never know
who it actually is, very very rarely. There's a few

(55:48):
songs that you're like, oh, that's about yo, go on
now and h and John Lennon, you know, no notes
about him? Great guy. Well there's that scene where I
don't remember which character it is now, but she's introducing
William two Penny Lane and being like, you haven't heard
of Penny Lane. She is like one of the founders
of the band Aids, and her whole ethos is, I'm

(56:10):
tired of letting my body be sexually exploited by these
rock stars. You know, we're here for the music, we're
here simply because we are fans of the music. So
it's almost it seems as though Penny and the other
band Aids they're again their ethos is like we're taking
the power back for ourselves, like well, but they still

(56:31):
end up being exploited by these men and in many
cases like statutory rape is happening right here, and remember
nobody's Williams not interested in writing about their struggle Like
that's I think that's that's an actually more interesting story
than local band makes good. Like let's talk about these
young girls that are supposedly inspiring the music or you.

(56:53):
And it's almost like this we saw in the two
thousands up until maybe about like what is it like
twenty fifteen. This this kind of like reverse feminism, which
is which was women taking things that we've historically like
as a response to, like second wave feminism and kind
of like recontextualing it as empowering. Yet the girl Boss era,
for example, you know, and relationships, the cougar thing, you know, like, oh,

(57:17):
it's okay because like men have been doing it, so
we're gonna do it, um right, And I feel like
they're this is kind of this is part of that. Like,
and if you read Pamela des Bars and any other
groupie of the seventies, like they'll say that, yeah, they
thought that they were empowered and that they were doing
something that was like saying screw you to the counterculture.
But it's one thing to hear that, and then it's

(57:38):
another to read out of the same breath. You know,
Pamela das Bars talking about like locking herself in a
bathroom because a rock star was trying to have sex
with her and she had told him no, Yeah, so
you're kind of like like Crow, I think sees this
as this this empowerment thing. But even the women of
the two thousands into the twenty tens that we're doing
this now, like looking back at this, were like, Yeah,

(58:00):
that actually wasn't as empowering as they thought they were.
You know, it's a forty day but it's true, which
again is like he's just I just don't think that
he as a writer is kind of able to or
qualified to give you the appropriate context, Like because even
if you're watching this in two thousand as a young person,
like it would have I think it would have been
really helpful to in any way in the story shoehorn

(58:24):
in like where is second wave feminism at this point?
Like there are certain things about this story that they
go out of their way to give you the historical
contexts you need, and then other areas where you just
kind of don't know, because like I didn't understand the
first time that I saw this movie. You know, I
just was like, Oh, this looks really fucking cool. But

(58:44):
how you know, like with the ethos of second wave feminism,
like they are still very much under the thumb of patriarchy,
like they're still very beholden to the interests of men.
The subversion, or the way that the subversion was often
seen is that like, I don't have to be a
fucking housewife. I'm not like demand, Like it's not demanded
that I am home and being a wife. And that

(59:07):
is kind of where the freedom and the catharsiss is
like some level of choice, but even when you're able
to make that choice, you're still treated like shit, which
I feel like it is illustrated in Penny Lane and
the Band Aids to some extent, but it just like,
I don't know, it doesn't go far enough for me,
and I think it makes you wonder you look at

(59:28):
like the relationship with Anita. Anita is a great example
of exactly what you're saying, Like she's a woman that
doesn't want to be a housewife. From what we know
about her, she wants to go see the world. She
becomes a steward is and like seems to be having
a real good life. You know, she's happy about that,
and yet the movie still doesn't really I don't know

(59:49):
if it makes an opinion about how it feels about Anita,
because she clearly has no relationship with her mother. It's
unclear what her mother expected of her to do, you know,
because because she seems fine with when William follows his bliss,
but when Anita tries to do it, it's like, I
feel like there's so much internalized misogyny going on with
the mom that I would have been cool to see more.

(01:00:11):
Elaine's whole thing is like, oh, this is a hobby, right,
William's gonna give this up at some point and go
become a lawyer. And and even though she's opposed to it,
she still allows it to happen. There's no like, don't
come back if you can't do this. I mean, the
kid misses his high school graduation and she's like upset,
but we don't see any like severe pushback. But it's
unclear what she wants from her other daughter. You know.

(01:00:33):
She says to her at one point in like this
really hurtful moment that you know, when she asked what
their dad thought of her, and Elaine says, you are
rebellious and ungrateful of my love. Yeah, it's not really
clear what she expects her child to do, and she
seems to be doing okay. If anything. It seems more
empowering than Penny Elaine. And yet we still have to

(01:00:55):
send Anita back home to reunite with the mom, and
it's really unclear she kind of stay home? Is she going?
Did she quit her job? Yeah? What is the deal here?
Because she's actually living this empowered life that the movie
seems to be saying that the band Aids are living, right,
and she and we explicitly know her age. We know
that she is eighteen when she leaves home, and so

(01:01:17):
it's like, well, she's on her own, she's doing her
own thing. And and by the time the movie jumps
she's eighteen when when he's little right, and then right
the movie jumps forward to like him, missus sears in
high school. So yeah, she's she's easily like early mid twenties,
so definitely old enough to make decisions and like start
paying taxes and whatnot. So I think that characterization and

(01:01:42):
just like the framing of all of that is indicative
of the big issue with this movie, which is that
there is a far more interesting story to be told
about these characters. Like you said, Kristen, as far as
the way that these teen girls are having to kind
of like reframe or thinking of like, oh, well, I'm
not being abused if I don't view what's happening to

(01:02:06):
me as abuse, Like if I am again like kind
of taking the power back and saying like, yeah, the
same thing still happening, but if I approach it differently
in my mind, then then it's fine. I'm I'm consenting
to this actually, which young people are kind of put
in a position to do all the time. Like every
generation has those situations. I feel like it's just the

(01:02:28):
way that Crowe frames the Rockers, Like he frames them
as assholes for sure, and he frames them as like
vapid and too into their own success, but he does
that in a way that still makes them extremely redeemable
and clearly wants you to still love them by the
end of the movie and still be rooting for their success.
Is just like, well, then he's he's coming at it

(01:02:49):
like in a way that is just like not I
don't know, like it just I always and maybe if
I watch the extended cut I would feel different, but
I am. I just I'm like I don't care about Russell.
I don't care about him. I'm like, who gives a
shit if this guy's successful? And at the end when like,
you know, he's like, oh, I think Penny wanted you

(01:03:10):
and me together. I'm like, why would william even want
to talk to you? You're the fucking worst. I don't
understand why Williams still interested in you after all this time,
christ And I think you're totally right. If he was
a really good journalist, he would have realized that Russell's
not the story or he if anything, he's the villain
of the story. If anything, he would have written a
story that like, Snowwater is great, but Russell Hammond's a dick,
a piece of shit. Yeah, like yeah, like their music

(01:03:32):
might be good, but them as people are bad. I mean,
and yeah, I mean I know that like the movie
The Snowwater is supposedly loosely based on Robert Plant and
Jimmy Page from from Led Zeppelin, which yeah, I'm like, okay,
if that was the case, trust me, this would be
way more fucked up of a movie, because if you've
read even an ounce of what Zeppelin did during their heyday,

(01:03:54):
like they committed practically committed crimes. Oh so, but I
always I tell people all the time, I think I
put this on Twitter, like a year or two ago,
who was who is your favorite trash boyfriend? And why
is mine? Russell Hammond um and that like he is
he is essentially like the Troy Dwyer of this movie,
you know, but the Ethan Hawk in the sense that, like,

(01:04:18):
I know, he's a horrid human being. But maybe it's
the hair. Maybe it's like the seventies aesthetic. There's just
something where you're like, oh, I can't. I didn't. I know,
it's terrible. I can't do him. I can't do him,
And I wonder how much of this now? I mean,
I have backstory to Mike's and my explanation for this

(01:04:38):
because I think, again, as I said it up top,
I had a billy crude up thing back in the
day leading up to the whole like Claire Danes Mary
Louis Parker triangle that happened, which again he's also part
of the problem because he is just as problematic as
the movie that he's in. Google that story if you
want some juicy reading. But but I mean to watch

(01:05:02):
them like this was kind of like his stock in
trade is he played douchebags, like inventing the Abbots, which
is another favorite of mine, Like he plays the same character,
he's got better hair, h So I mean, I get it,
and I wonder how much that plays into all of this,
And I think conceiving him as kind of like a
Robert plant esque like musical genius, but he's like a

(01:05:26):
piece of shit. I hate it. I have no explanation
for why I dug it then, I have no explanation
for why I dig it now. But I think that
like in the grand tradition of like all the trash
boyfriends again going back to Ethan Hawk, in reality bites
like there's just something where you're like, God, I maybe
I want to feel like shit. Maybe I want somebody

(01:05:46):
to treat me bad. It's a very masochistic relationship. The
movie kind of explores this in certain conversations between William
and Lester Bangs, where they're both like, we're not cool
and we're never going to be the type of guy
who's gonna like instantly get the girl quote unquote, because
it's the rock stars who get the girl and who

(01:06:07):
are perceived as so cool and who you know, are
just like effortlessly like chicken magnets. It feels a little
revenge of the nerds that that whole exchange where he's like,
you know, like we're just we're smarter than them, Like
we're we're playing the long game. And you're like, okay,
so women are still objects to you, but you know

(01:06:27):
you're just playing a longer game. Cool, right, So it's
so the movie has some self awareness about like these dynamics,
these these power dynamics as they relate to gender and
like these age gaps and all this stuff. But for me,
it goes back to what would be a more interesting
story here, the mental gymnastics that a lot of girls

(01:06:52):
and women have to do in a culture where they
are so heavily oppressed and objectified, and you know, any
marginalized person has to deal with this, like the mental
gymnastics you kind of have to do just as a survival, right, technique,
Like that would have been the more interesting thing to
explore through the lens of like the Penny Land character

(01:07:13):
and seeing things from her point of view, But instead
we're seeing the story from the point of view of
this teenage boy who doesn't understand her, who doesn't understand her,
who's in love with her, quote unquote, but he's can't
be because he doesn't know her, Like he's in love
with the right, with the persona she's crafted exactly. I
feel like Sophia Coppola did this a lot better, you

(01:07:34):
know what, like the year before with the version of Suicience,
which which is very much about like a group of
boys that think that they know these manic pixie dream girls,
and Sofia Coppola's like, slow your role, you actually know
shit and you don't know these people, and you know,
and the source materials very similar to that. So it's doable.

(01:07:57):
It's doable if you care. And fortunately, I mean I
think again this was this was Cameron Crow and his
too Big to Fail era, and you know, we weren't.
We weren't asking those questions. We were just like wrapped
up in the seventies aesthetic man. And I think Boogie Knights,
like you mentioned, you know, really did play into this
as well, because what is it the thirty year gap

(01:08:19):
that we take to nostalgize stuff, you know, so like
the nineties into the two thousands, was this seventies heyday,
which honestly, I would love for us to go back
and look at now because I feel like we still
have never reconciled. We just went straight to letting dudes
make movies about how great the eighties were, but we
never really looked at or criticized the nineteen seventies, which

(01:08:42):
is probably one of the most fraught decades just from
a gender perspective, and gender influenced everything. I mean, it
even influenced the music and in so many ways. So
you know, I would love a nineteen seventies groupie story
from like a feminine, like a female director script that
it's just like, actually, how do you reconcile with the

(01:09:04):
fact that you're like a teenage girl and you're hanging
out with like again Louren Scafaria, just like make Diary
of a Teenage Girl again, but like groupy addition, Yeah,
I would, I mean I really would love to see.
And also I would love to see a piece about
like a woman now who was who was a teenager
then having to reconcile it and like getting into arguments

(01:09:28):
with her daughter or something about like how because that's
like it is like a fascinating, difficult position that I
don't envy anyone to have to be in, is to
have to feel in conflict with modern feminists because you
didn't have a twenty twenty three brain in nineteen seventy
two and having to process that with a modern lens,

(01:09:50):
a past middle age and figure out, well, how do
I feel about that, and like challenging how you It's
like challenging sort of everything, you know, which I think
I don't know. I've talked with my mom a lot
about that too, because I think and this movie again
almost sort of I think, touches on it a little
with Elaine and Anita of how a parent, in this

(01:10:13):
case a mother specifically's own you know, internalized misogyny can
be projected back onto their own kid in a way
that diminishes them and makes them feel like shit. And
it's like, well, yeah, if you don't, if you're not
able to for whatever reason, process your own experience and
figure out how you feel about it, it's going to
turn into like this inadvertent weapon that can like hurt

(01:10:36):
people you don't want to hurt. And I don't know.
I mean, I'm excited that I ordered Pamelad as far
as book because I really want to read it now.
And there was a good interview with her in Vulture
back in twenty twenty just talking about this with a
post me to sort of focus on how she sort
of views this character because there were a lot of

(01:10:58):
Peter's I think three different women that Ameron Crowe has
like alluded to. There's Penny Lane, Trumbull, Baby Bull, and
Pamela Dispars. Penny Lane Trumbull also fascinating person, and I
think what was cool about her was that she later
made a band that was like made up of other

(01:11:19):
groupies and they started making their own music, which is
another thing of like access, Like that's a way to
gain access to a world you may not have had
access to otherwise that was not as welcoming to women.
But anyways, Pamela Diaspars, she says a bunch of things.
I mean, she she's particularly bothered by the Penny Lane

(01:11:41):
overdose scene, not for the same reasons I'm sure we're
about to talk about, but because of so she says this.
She says that that scene where Penny Lane sees that
Russell is with his girlfriend and then seems to attempt
to or inadvertently overdoses. She says that that's quote horribly
misogynists to look at what a groupie muse is. That

(01:12:02):
made me so angry. This character, the groupie like she's portrayed,
is pathetic. I knew all the main groupies in a
heyday of group edom, none of them would have done that.
There was always someone else coming to town that really
turned me off. No actual music loving goddess groupie would
do such a thing unquote. So I think she thought that,
you know, Cameron Crowe is being melodramatic and diminishing a

(01:12:23):
character that was very much based on her. And then
the other thing that she said that I was like, Oh, yeah,
they're like, Cameron Crowe hired a number of consultants for
this movie because obviously he's like well connected in this
period of history. Peter Frampton was a consultant on this movie. Yes,
And I guess that Pamela dispars because she didn't meet

(01:12:44):
Cameron Crowe when he was a fifteen year old writer,
and she did see the movie, and she did have
notes about it. She's not completely dismissive of it, but
she's there's a lot of things she's kind of like
what the fuck about. One of them was that she
wasn't brought on as a consultant, And that makes a
ton of fucking sense, Like, if you've got a Peter
Frampton consultant budget, you've got a Pamela dispar As consultant

(01:13:07):
budget and like your Cameron Crowe in two thousand, fucking
hire her. And I bet that this the material would
have been elevated. And I don't think Peter Frampton would
have been giving a lot of great insider Like when
you talk about top tier hedonistic rock stars at the
seventies that had like groupies that were probably on that level,
I'm not thinking Frampton comes alive. Okay, it is interesting

(01:13:28):
though you brought up, you know, reconciling as an older woman.
People forget. Two years after this movie came out, we
got Goldie Hawn and Susan Surandon in The Banger Sisters,
which actually is a comedy about two women who were
nineteen seventies groupies dealing with like being essentially fish out

(01:13:49):
of water. Like it's just it's just not at all
Like it's a very two thousands look at groupie dom
in the same way as this, where it's like Susan
Surrandon's given up that groupie life and wears brown suits
and she's very type A and she puts that aside
to raise her children to be utterly perfect and they
hate her for it. And Goldie Hawn is like the
Goldie han She's this free spirit who's still trying to

(01:14:13):
be She's like, um, she's like Steve the pirate from
from Dodgeball who like still commits to the bit and
doesn't understand why people believe, like don't believe that she's
a modern woman. She's Austin Powers. Pretty much very fun movie,
but not does not reconcile at all with like the
dichotomy of that era. It's more just like Susan Sarandon's

(01:14:37):
daughter in the movie, who's Erica Christensen is like, you're saying,
our mom used to be fun and made mistakes and
smoked weed. What What's It's very much of its era, right.
Do you think Goldie Hawn, her character in that movie
is somehow related to Penny Lane's character in Almost Famous
because famously Goldie Hawn is Kate Hudson's mom. It took

(01:15:00):
until two thousand and three, February seventeenth, at one o
six pm for me to make that connection. I did
not realize that until I just started talking about it,
and I wish I had made that connection that. I mean,
it's very very possible. It's very possible. The movie did
not do well enough to make any impact on audiences
except me, who still finds it delightful. And I think

(01:15:21):
if anything, that movie also throws in like the plaster
castor elements like there's a whole there's a whole sequence
of Goldie Haunt and Susan s Randon looking at pictures
of supposedly famous rock penises, but again never reconciling with
the fact that they're like, also, hey, look at this
photo of us. We were like fourteen years old, and

(01:15:42):
also we have dick pics on Polaroid. Yeah, I mean
I would, and I do think that there's a way
to make a movie like that that isn't inherently fucking depressing,
which I think is always my issue with movies about
like women reflecting on their lives. And they're like, well,
of course it's safe to assume it fucking sucked, and
like it was really depressing the whole time. You're like, well,

(01:16:04):
it can still be like an engaging, interesting I think
we just need to write this. Yeah. Another thing that
Pamela despars mentioned that also registered for me, just given
the time and the scene that you're in, is she
made a note in that twenty twenty interview with Vulture
of saying how whitewashed the movie felt to her, and
how like centered on white rockers, you know, white rockers

(01:16:26):
who were certainly around and people that Cameron crow would
have encountered, but like the seventies was a huge moment
for black music in particular, and like the fact that
you the only black musicians and black people in general
that you see are very much in the background of
scenes either like set dressing and the way that women
are occasionally used as set dressing in this movie as well,

(01:16:49):
in a way that this is just like not historically accurate, right,
I feel like Cameron Crowe has that problem in all
of his movie. Well, he did make a lohot, didn't
he did. I was gonna say, yeah, I mean Emma
Stone was one eighth Chinese or what I whatever the
hell that movie was saying, Yeah, saying she was so

(01:17:11):
you know, chronic problem, yes, but yeah, I appreciated that
she called that out as well. Yeah, and yeah, I
guess she teaches memoir writing classes now, which is kind
of cool. Cool, I was I want to take that
what okay, Um, We've been speaking broadly about consent so
far in this episode, there's a few specific let's talk

(01:17:32):
about the scene, the two scenes where it's a huge thing, yes,
um placing a trigger warning here for rape for underage
sexual assault. So chronologically, the first one is the let's

(01:17:53):
deflower William scene where three of the band aids Sapphire,
Polexia and I think Beth from Denver. Question Mark is
the third one. They basically decide amongst themselves that they
are going to deflower William, who they know is fifteen

(01:18:15):
years old. They then descend on him while he's trying
to talk to Penny Lane, who he's in love with
the idea of who she has presented herself as being.
But anyway, so they're talking, they descend on him. They
kind of like pull him into the other room. He's resisting,
He's saying no, no, no. They are pulling his clothes off,

(01:18:39):
and then they start kissing in front of him, and
then we cut to the next morning they wake up
and bed together, and then they say they refer to
him no longer being a virgin, and everyone's kind of giggling, right,
I mean, it's very clear what happens. It's the way
that it's framed as this like romantic cool moment like

(01:19:00):
the scene could not be filmed more as like, pro
what's happening, even though what he's saying is no. And
he's in the middle of a conversation with Penny, and
like they physically drag him into the bedroom. But then
it's like a very romantic tone, the cameras like circling them,

(01:19:21):
and you know, it's very cropped body. You know, there's
just butts passing his face and he's looking at Kate
Hudson and she seems to be thrilled that this is
happening as well, and she leaves the room and it's
just like, well, this is an assault that's taking place,
but the way that Cameron Crowe films it and frames it,
you kind of would never know it. And I don't

(01:19:41):
think that people really talked about it like that until
at least a decade later, right, I think we still
have this weird issue with male consent. I mean, we
saw the same types of discussions when Bridgertin came out.
There was some deep talk about like is that a
rape scene that we're watching it certainly non doesn't feel
consider ENSUALU And that just came and went, like we

(01:20:03):
never really talked about it after that. And I think
that with with something like this, it goes back to
that whole concept of like the reverse feminism that we
saw in the two thousands, where it's like, well, these
women have power, they're taking it back, and like they're
the ones that are offering, like as if to say
that as long as women are consenting, that makes it

(01:20:23):
okay that they're okay with it. And you know what
kind of guy wouldn't want his first time to be
with three women? Am I right? Like it's just very
much in that grand scheme of like women can't be predators.
It's it's you know, if they're dating young men, it's
just like doing what men have been doing all this time.
It doesn't make it right. But it's this this mentality

(01:20:45):
that I think we had at the time, where it's
the rock and roll lifestyle and the women are okay
with it, so therefore it is fine. Right, That is
very much a byproduct of rape culture. That's still yeah,
permis to this day where there there's still an idea of, oh, men,
there's no need for a man to consent or not,

(01:21:07):
because a man is always going to consent to sex
with a woman, right, And then if you don't, there's
something wrong with people. And it's like your if your
default isn't hyper sexual, then you're lesser, you're less masculine
or whatever that thing is. Yeah, like it's so frustrating
and interesting to like reflect on that period of time.

(01:21:31):
They're talking about Christen of like the girl Boss mentality
of like, well, the solution to patriarchy, which already is
very like cut down the gender binary, is that women
should just be able to do what men have been
doing the whole time. And it's like, no, it's a
systemic no, no, Yeah, it's come on, like it's not

(01:21:52):
a challenge of like, well, how do we view consent
in general? And like have we ever had a productive
cultural conversation about consent. It's just that, you know, women
should be allowed to do what men do. And it's like,
well no, but we didn't like what they were doing.
That was the that was a big problem. No one
should mistreat anyone, regardless of gender. So yeah, the movie

(01:22:14):
does not frame what happens as a gang rape, but
that's what is happening. And then the movie just moves on.
Immediately they're like okay, and now there's another call about
the deadline and then it just like never comes back.
And this is also like would be an interesting thing
to see an older man reflect on in a movie

(01:22:36):
like this is just yeah, I don't know, this is
sort of bizarre. But I used to be really into
these self published blog memoirs that a Carney would write.
He would be around Kivered Crow's age, but like, same,
what was traveling in carnivals as a teenager in the

(01:22:58):
late sixties early seventies, And when I was watching the scene,
I was like, whoa, this is so similar to something
that Kevin wrote about in his blog of like how
when he was a teenager, like there were a group
of women carnies that were like, Okay, it's time for
you to lose your virginity and he was like okay,
and then like writing about it as an older man,

(01:23:19):
like not quite knowing how to place that experience, and
like at the time telling himself as a kid like
I'm supposed to feel happy about this, So I guess
I feel happy about this, but in reality, it's like
that's it's just because you're sort of in the same
way that Penny Lane is sort of reflecting how she's
supposed to feel about things in order to keep some

(01:23:41):
semblance of control of her life. It's like William has
to do that too, But I don't think that Cameron
Crow sees it that way. And then I'm also wondering
how this reflects Cameron Crowe's life and experience like that too.
We don't know he's the William character. Yeah, I was
very curious about that too, but I haven't found any
thing about it, not that it's any of our fucking business. Right,

(01:24:03):
how Camera Crow lost his virginity? So there you go.
I mean, the movie's attitude toward consents insects is very
reflective of the seventies the two thousands. And then there's
the overdose scene. Yes, what happens here is Penny Lane
is overdosing on Quelude's William calls a doctor to the

(01:24:27):
hotel room. He's waiting for the doctor to arrive. He's
like holding her, She's drifting in and out of consciousness.
He professes his love to her, and then he says
something like I'm going to boldly go where many men
have gone before. Hilarious moon landing assault joke. And then

(01:24:48):
he kisses her while she's unconscious. Good one, and the
movie again it is not critical of this at all.
It does not see this as the assault that it is,
and it just breathes right past this moment as if like, yeah,
that's just what you do. It's also unclear what this

(01:25:08):
does to their relationship, in the sense that it's not
even clear if she knows. Don't think she does. Yeah, which,
considering like their their relationship and that this would be
a moment for them to discuss are we into each
other or is she into him as much as he
is into her, it's never acknowledged. The scene culminates with

(01:25:31):
the stomach pumping. I mean, I think, if anything, that
the humor of having my Sharia Moore play over her
bar finger gets out is probably a better use of
humor than the moon landing joke. But when she, you know,
has the realization later and they have that discussion, it's
more of a moment for her to be real with

(01:25:53):
him right and say what her real name is and
talk about her background very briefly, But it never is
discussed what their relationship is. It stays fairly platonic, not
for his lack of trying, but he never makes any
effort to do that. While she is coherent right right.
He even says, like, why am I doing this? You're

(01:26:15):
never even going to remember it tomorrow, Like he's aware. Yeah,
he comes so close to being self aware in that moment.
And then still and even the setup of that scene,
And I mean, I think once I read that Pamela
des Bars took serious issue with the fact that that
scene happens at all, sort of clarified for it, like
he's already set up as the hero of that scene

(01:26:37):
where it's like sort of implied that not only you know,
as Penny Lane so devastated that she would you know, overdose,
but also that she needs to be rescued by William,
which she does. And then later Russell echoes that exact
thing in that scene I don't like where he's like, oh,
I think she wanted us to do our little interview,

(01:26:59):
what do you think? And then it's also one of
her friends is like, oh, I always told Penny not
to let too many guys fall in love with her,
but I guess I was wrong because one of them
saved her life kind of like Mario style, and you're like, uh, like,
I feel like at that point in the movie, you
have enough about Penny that if we're talking movie logic.

(01:27:21):
It would have made sense to me that she would
have saved herself, because that's like where her narrative is
heading anyways. But William has to be the hero in
that moment, but he also assaults her immediately before, Like
it's just it's a mess of a scorn horrid. How
did Peter Frampton not say something? But again, it's like,

(01:27:44):
I bet that scene wouldn't even be there if Pamela
Dispars was a consultant, or would be there in a
different form, in a different capacity. Yeah. Yeah. The last
thing I want to touch on is the character coming
out as a joke two thousands a two thousand. Yeah,
So what happens here is one of the other members

(01:28:05):
of the band who we haven't spent much time with,
so not Jeff or Russell. Um, I honestly don't even
know which one it is, Larry or is it? Yeah?
Oh no, it's Ed. It's Ed. It's Ed. Okay, it's Ed,
someone who doesn't speak throughout the entirety of the movie.
He literally says almost nothing. So what happens is they're

(01:28:27):
on the is the scene on the plane they're hitting
all this turbulence, they think they might crash and die,
so they're again they're like kind of being very forward
with their feelings and their secrets. And the button on
that conversation is, um, who did we decide it was Larry?
I think okay, ed name so Ed is like I'm gay.

(01:28:55):
Everyone is like huh. And then immediately after that, the
plane kind of like levels out, the turbulent stops, the
light comes back on, like everything seems smooth, sailing through
one lens, living his authentic truth saved everyone's life through magic.
But I don't think that's what camera Crow is trying
to do exactly so, and then the character has this

(01:29:17):
kind of like panicked look, which fair coming out is
gay in nineteen seventy three certainly came with a lot
of risk, But I feel like the coming out and
then his panicked aftermath is it was a Joel played
for comedy. Yeah for sure, Like, oh and now everyone
knows he's gay, and isn't that funny? Is how the
movie wants you to view that. Yes, On the one hand,

(01:29:39):
it's really weird to find the connection because there's a
joke in Mall Rats that Jason Lee ironically tells that's
a very similar story about like people on an airplane,
the plane crashes and they start essentially masturbating, and then
the plane rights itself and everybody asks to look at
each other knowing what they've done. Kevin Smith that in

(01:30:00):
like ninety four, and then it happens in this movie
in the sense that like it's a very similar and
it starts Jason Lee. So I never liked know how
to take that. If that's like an intentional comparison, that's
so bizarre. But I mean the plane, the plane crash element,
there's this this air of dark comedy in it. Right,
considering how many rock stars did perish in plane crashes,

(01:30:21):
do you wonder what their their last moments were, like,
you know, was it a similar like confessional moment? And
I think that at the time, like as as you said,
two thousands is going to two thousand, like we this
is the Will and Grace era still, you know, like
we were still laughing at like we accepted that, you know,
gay people or a thing, and we're still finding we're

(01:30:42):
trying to find humor in this type of like revelation.
But I think for me, again, context is key and
knowing that it's nineteen seventy three. I was like, oh,
so they would have just kicked it out of the
band after this, Like what is the discussion after this?
Because there I mean, I'm doing just a casual search
of my brain, and I don't know any rock stars

(01:31:02):
that openly were gay in the nineteen seventies, especially considering
this is like the era we're coming up on, like
Anita Bryant and like harsh backlash for gay people. I
don't I think that, like if anything, again, William leaves
the story on the table, not that outing should be
a thing, but like that would be like Ben functorres

(01:31:23):
might be like, dude, wait a minute, one of these
guys is gay, like the screw local band makes good,
Like there would be repercussions. There would have to be
a discussion because to be a major rock band came
with a heavy dose of heterosexuality. That's why they had groupies.
There weren't We weren't hearing stories about groups of dudes

(01:31:44):
offering sex to rock stars, you know, in this time period,
even though I'm sure there were rock stars that were gay,
and there probably were groupies that were also, I mean,
those stories aren't told, but there would have to say
that they would have gotten off that plane and not
looked at him, it would have changed everything, I think.
And at the end of the movie when it's like

(01:32:05):
every look at where everybody is like they show ed,
He's just like, I'm with the bands still okay, So
did you have to lie? Did you get a girlfriend?
Like Elton John had to date women? Right, and he
was the biggest star in the world. Yeah, in the
same time period, what was happening with Freddie Mercury? Freddie Mury?
I think Queen was starting out in the mid seventies

(01:32:27):
and even then, like I mean, Freddie was okay, well,
but we still like people still made fun of him
and there was still criticism and back like he just
didn't give a fuck about it. Yeah. Well, I ultimately
think that that joke takes place in two thousand in
a movie that is supposed to be in nineteen seventy two. Like,
I think that that is a very of the late nineties,
well into the two thousands, just referencing queerness as a

(01:32:52):
punchline with no serious thought about the year. Like I
don't think Cameron Crowe was thinking about nineteen seventy two
when he wrote that Big used those oh, this is
a fun button for the scene like, and it simply
is not. And maybe he knows that now. I don't know.
It's always one of the things that frustrates me, especially
about this new world of color blind casting in period pieces.

(01:33:15):
We've just bypassed the discussion and gone straight to it's
okay to see to have all these characters be different ethnicities,
that's great. I'm glad that we're seeing something like Minx,
and there's more black women and we're having more minorities.
Minx is a great example. It's not just casting that way,
it's also saying, what would the experience of a black

(01:33:37):
woman in the nineteen seventies have been like? Because trust us,
it would not have been the same as the experience
of a white woman in the nineteen seventies. And I
think that too many films and television shows have not
wanted to reconcile with how different races would have been
treated in the past. Again, not to piss on Bridgertin again,
but Bridgerton is a great example. It's a great world

(01:33:58):
to live in where you have a predominant cast of
people of color. That's great, but you have to look
at the era in some way, we can't. We have
to talk about how the distinctions of having a black
monarch would be in that time period, and to not
discuss it with any nuance just seems disingenuous. And we're
still not having those conversations. And it's twenty twenty three,

(01:34:20):
It's how many years since this movie came out. We're
still not able to have those those discussions. The last
thing I wanted to touch on is how Cameron Crowe
did have to sort of like answer for some of
his crimes in this movie about twenty years later. I
think it was like twenty nineteen or twenty that Almost
Famous was being adapted into a Broadway musical and Cameron

(01:34:43):
crow is very involved in the process, and so a
lot of the criticism that have been made of the
movie came up while this was being developed into a
Broadway musical. He did defend Penny Lane against the manic
pixie dreamgirl allegations. He said, I always thought that she
was a soulless, selfless, loving person who was super into
community and kept herself a little bit hidden, and also

(01:35:06):
makes reference to the real women he was pulling from,
which fair point, but they did not get the opportunity
to weigh in on the characters. I feel like that
is maybe perhaps a little deflective. But the positive thing
I wanted to mention was that he does at least
have the self awareness that he cuts the gang rape
scene from the musical that does not appear. It seems

(01:35:29):
as if he took the note that that is not
a sequence that you would want to glorify, and I
think that his response was to not include it in
the musical adaptation at all. Wow, a man doing the
bare minimum. I know, yeay, not including a gang rape
scene in a lighthearted Broadway musical. So that's that. Does

(01:35:52):
anyone have anything else they want to talk about? I
will throw out that as flawed as this movie is,
the Tiny Dancer sequence is still my favorite favorite movie
moment of all all time on feminist icon Doris the Bus. Yes,
I don't believe any movie has has done the group

(01:36:15):
sing with as much fun and beautifully filmed as it
does in this movie, So much so that me, as
a little film nerd in junior my junior year of
high school, did a whole presentation about just that scene
and Cameron Crowe's relationship to music and editing, and I
knew I was a goner. So I give this movie,

(01:36:36):
if anything, credit for that moment. Hell yeah, Well does
this movie pass the Bechdel test? Ah? Yeah, it does.
It does. It passes between at least Anita and Elaine
at I think a few different points. They're arguing about
Anita's direction in life and Elaine's opinions on when Christmas

(01:36:59):
Shippy slid rated. It passes again at the end with
that exchange that was so loaded, and I was like, ah,
I want to know more about this of like, I
forgive you, I didn't apologize. I think it may pass
the most between them, but I'm sure it passes at
least a couple times between the band aids. Among the
band aids, yeah, I feel like they are often talking
about the male members of Stillwater, but yea or well, yeah,

(01:37:25):
we talk about music, question mark. I always forget to
pay attention. Famously, I am almost famous for not remembering
how to do our show. I was gonna say it
might pass for that wonderful discussion between the band aids,
Sapphire saying that she needs to get into a room
and have a valium. I think that might that might

(01:37:48):
count Mike. My favorite pass was when Anita says, feck you, mom,
and then Elaine says her sister did it. She used
the effort in Little Little Williams like I think she said, fete,
what's missing the letter you? And then Elaine was like,
I gotta hand it to him there, Yeah, Elane. I mean,

(01:38:10):
I think Lane, there's so much going on with Elane
and I wish that. I mean, will you get a
good amount of Elane and you get like a single
parent in the seventies. We know what her job is,
we know like stuff you wouldn't normally know in a
movie like this. I will say that there is a
sequence in the untitled version as we were talking about
like what are her beliefs as this, like maybe she's

(01:38:31):
a hippie. There is an extended discussion at the beginning
of the movie where she stops somebody who is painting
Mary xmis on a storefront and she goes on like
a five minute diatribe about how it's either marry Christmas
or happy Holidays because ords have meaning. That says a
lot about her as a person. It does based on

(01:38:54):
Cameron Crowe's own mother, It's true and I guess she
was like on set a lot, Yeah, to keep any
why couldn't you have high hired family dispars Everyone worked
on this anyways. But let's get to the metric that
really matters. The nipple scale shall exactly zero to five

(01:39:14):
nipples based on how the movie fares when examining it
through an intersectional feminist lens. Oh, well, I would probably
only give this a nipple because for the potential that
ends up being squandered. But as far as like Penny

(01:39:34):
Lane and the other band aids circumstances and their situation,
there's a very interesting story there that just simply goes
almost entirely unexplored by Cameron Crow and the other kind
of creative forces behind this movie, because it's more interested
in telling, ultimately a story about what it's like to

(01:39:58):
be a young teenage boy journalist swept up in the
cool world of rock and roll. And even though those
rock and rollers are pieces of shit who absolutely abuse
women and are predators and creeps, at the end of
the day, aren't they still kind of cool? But ultim
believe they deserve a redemption arc At the end, Russell

(01:40:21):
actually was a pretty good guy who deserves all the
success he got, which is how the movie feels. This
is how the movie. They're like, he's yeah, he was flawed.
But would I hire him to consult on my movie
in thirty years I guess I would. And yeah, the question, yeah,
we never know if like Russell and Leslie, I mean,
it's eluded that maybe they aren't together. I don't know.

(01:40:43):
It could very well be that she decided after a
couple of weeks that their toxic relationship is worth keeping.
I'd like to believe that he never cheated again. But again,
to go back to Roger Daldry's autobiography, he could also
have just been the guy that, in twenty years or
thirty years would write a Stillwater biography where he says,
I have illegitimate children, but my wife understood that what

(01:41:06):
happens on the road stays on the road, and we're
not going to talk about all of the cheating I did.
I have three children from it. But you know, you
don't need to know the details. You're like, sir, sir,
there this is I mean, yeah, this is like anything
I hear about rock history inherently stresses me out, which
is why maybe this is just like not my genre,

(01:41:28):
because you do have to like like you're saying Christ
and like compartmentalize so many different parts of your brain
to be able to engage with it where it's trying
to come at you. It's like my mom grew up
in the seventies and she always tells me stories and
they always culminate with me saying how did you not die?
Like how are you not on a block curtain? Because
every story is horrible? And she says to me all

(01:41:51):
the time, if you were there, just got it. And
I think that that's like the thing is that, like
if you lived in that time, it makes more sense
than us as outside observers. So maybe that's Cameron Crowe's
whole thing, Like you had to be there, man, Like
you know, it's like me trying to explain the beanie
baby thing to somebody likes you had to be there.
I can't. I can't explain that to you now. I

(01:42:14):
mean you missed it. Oh I've tried to explain it
to people and no one fucking gets it there. But no,
I think you're right. And but again that that would
only be elevated by him hiring Pamela des Bars because
she was also there. And it's like, at the end
of the day, the real winner is Pamela des Bars.
I think we all agreed yes, because she's she's been

(01:42:34):
plugging her this entire Yes. In conclusion, the movie's failure
to understand various nuances across a bunch of different topics,
most horrifyingly, the movie's failure to understand consent. So yeah,
one nipple for the female characters we do get who

(01:42:54):
I would have liked to see more of potential was squandered.
One nipple all give to Doris the Bus. I'll give it,
I guess a nipple and a half. I'll I'll skew
you up a little bit, and I'll bisect a nipple
for because I do think that like Penny Lane is

(01:43:14):
a very rich character who is um, I think miss misused.
I would be interested to see the other cut in full,
where you do get more context for what her history is. UM.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just like bringing my Litlita
podcast up to the to the table here, but I
am always like interested in a young woman who is

(01:43:37):
sort of just being projected upon like fucking wildfire and
has to develop a way to navigate that. UM. Like
young women, especially the further back you go historically, like
are always projected upon and viewed through this very through
the fucking mail gaze. God, And now I sound like

(01:43:58):
a freshman in college. But in all serios, like, I
think it's interesting that Penny Lane slash Lady has to
develop a persona in order to navigate the world with
some feeling of power and belonging, and of course that
is still not going to be enough in a place

(01:44:20):
where she's not being looked out for by anybody really,
And I think that there's just there's just more there
than Cameron Crowe was interested in exploring, and she was
I think misused in like you're describing Kristen as like
the Cameron Crowe woman, where ultimately her purpose is to
show Russell and William that life is epic and boys

(01:44:43):
can be forgiven for all of their trespasses and it's
all good. And I just wanted you to hang out
the whole time, ignore all the assaults and my lack
of ability to navigate the world with a sense of identity.
But I think that that was there. It just he
just wasn't interest did in it, which is frustrating. I
like Anita a lot. I wish that there was more Anita.

(01:45:05):
Maybe not in the framework of that story, it wouldn't
have worked, But I just thought it was a good
performance and a good character. I like Lane. I wish
that we could have understood her a little more as well.
And I don't know. I mean, there's no shortage of
interesting women in this narrative, and I just feel like
they're not really focused on by the story, and that
is a bummer. Also the consent, I mean, and then

(01:45:28):
I'll go everything you said gaitly about the consent stuff,
which is complete dogshit and forgivable. Yeah, And you know,
on the part of the filmmaker prioritizing bringing on consultants
who would not bring any sort of critical lens to
this era, I feel like it's kind of a misstep
on his part. So given a nipple and a half,

(01:45:51):
I'm going to give one to lady and I'll give
the other half to Anita. Nice Christ, how about you?
Oh gosh, I mean, I I compartmentalize a lot with this.
But if if we're looking at it, you know, just
watching it, especially somebody watching it today, you know, it's

(01:46:13):
it's one of those moments in time where I'm like yeah,
but in two thousand, man, it was great. I mean
it gets it gets it gets a two. Uh you know,
I'd give it higher just purely off of the nostalgia
and you know how it affected me as a person
and as a writer, Like it's it's up there with
like you know, I tell people the two movies that

(01:46:33):
define me are like my girl in this uh you know,
in terms of like who I am as a person. Um.
But at the same time, yeah, I mean reading the
stuff that I've read, like growing as a person. It's
one of those movies, you know, much like Garden State
is a great example going back and like being like,
oh god, I have real issues with this now, um

(01:46:54):
you know, but I mean as a piece of film,
I still look at it and I still you know,
the soundtrack and the time period in the la story,
like the acting. It's I love it for all of
those things. I and I have to put all of
the problems in a in a separate little container where
I'm like, I love it, but uh and the butt
gets longer every time I talk about it. Um, So

(01:47:18):
I love it, but you know, Cameron Crow and I
know it's got problems, and I am glad that Cameron
Crowe seems to know it has problems. Now. That is
like again, a fun, bare minimum thing to to observe of,
like someone who's able to engage with the criticism of
their work over time. H is not nothing. However, the
crimes of Aloha will never be forgotten. Um all right, um, Kristen,

(01:47:43):
thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. We're
a big fan. We cite your writing frequently, so it's
so nice to have you finally on the show. Come
back anytime. I mean I'm always around to talk mess
and feminist them and where the two intertwine. So yeah,

(01:48:04):
we'll have to team up again. I'm ready. So you guys,
you guys were my first like la event that I
ever I ever saw came to our show at the Ruby.
I forget which movie it was, but it feels so
long ago. I mean it must have been like maybe
three or four years ago. Yeah, it was a robe
in Michelle. Oh maybe God yes, yeah, wow it was

(01:48:28):
a simpler time. Yes, I've come full circle. So yeah,
well here you are, and we'll have you back. Where
can people um follow you online? Check out your writing,
check out your book. Yeah, so I'm I'm over at
The Wrap The Wrap dot com you can search the
Rap Kristin Lopez. You'll find my my writing there. I'm
on all the social media platforms, probably to my detriment,

(01:48:49):
but I'm most active on Twitter at Journey's Underscore Film
and Instagram at Kristin Lopez eighty eight. And yes, but
have you read the book fifty two literary Gems that
inspired our classic or favorite Holmes is out merged seventh.
You can buy that wherever you get books. I know
a lot of authors hype buying independent, but honestly, I
will just be happy for anybody who buys it anywhere.

(01:49:11):
So it's wherever you can get your books. And I
hope to do a lot of stuff in the LA
area when the book comes out. So if you're you're
around and you buy it, let me know ooh amazing.
We'll be there and you can follow us on social
media Twitter and Instagram. At Bechtel Cast, you can scoot
over to our Patreon aka Patreon. It's five bucks a month.

(01:49:35):
It gets you two bonus episodes every month. That's at
patreon dot com slash Bechtel Cash. That's where you can
find the Pinocchio Wars episode that Kaitlin was dumping on
earlier zamecas found dead ditch all right, you can also
get our merch at public dot com, slash v Bechtel
cast And with that, let's let's let's load onto Doris

(01:49:59):
and get the fuck out of here. What are you saying?
I'm a golden god jumps into pool, Bye bye,

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