Cameron Crowe started out as a rock journalist for Rolling Stone
at the age of 15 in The Seventies
. While his colleagues at the magazine were indifferent to (if not contemptuous of) the Hard Rock
, Progressive Rock
, and other popular music of the decade (including such groups/musicians as Joni Mitchell
, Fleetwood Mac
), Crowe was a fan of most of it, and was often the only journalist at the magazine willing or able to snare interviews with those bands/musicians.
Near the end of the decade, Crowe left the magazine and wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High
, which became a film in 1982 (directed by Amy Heckerling). Dismissed at the time at being merely another teen sex comedy, it has since been Vindicated by History
. After writing a sequel (1984's The Wild Life
) which was nowhere near as successful commercially or critically, Crowe eventually turned to directing in 1989 with Say Anything
. He won an Academy Award
for Best Original Screenplay in 2000 for Almost Famous
, which was based on his time at Rolling Stone
Tropes associated with his work include:
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Except for Vanilla Sky (which has a Bittersweet Ending), all of Crowe's films qualify as this.
- Enforced Method Acting: Or writing, in this case. As mentioned above, he researched Fast Times at Ridgemont High by going undercover for a year at a California high school. Since he was in his early 20's and still looked relatively young, he got away with it.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Elizabethtown features the Trope Namer.
- The Power of Love: Just about every movie he's directed runs on this trope.
- The Power of Rock: Obviously a big part of Almost Famous, but is heavily featured in other films he's done as well.
- Production Posse: Eric Stoltz at one point appeared in everything he wrote.
- Also, his then-wife Nancy Wilson (of Heart) wrote music for every movie he directed up through Elizabethtown.
- Had Jerry Zeismer as his First Assistant Director for every movie from through Almost Famous. Story goes Zeismer (famous for getting Apocalypse Now finished) was looking to retire in the late 80's but Crowe begged for his support to get Say Anything made, and every movie since just kept throwing anything he wanted at him until he signed on.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: All of his films come out as idealistic, though they also show how tough it is to maintain that idealism. Best summed up by a line in Singles, when one character tells another, "You're a realist/dreamer."
- Vindicated by Cable: Except for Jerry Maguire (and to a lesser extent, Vanilla Sky), none of his films were big hits at the box office, but they all became popular on cable, video and/or DVD.