Crowe’s quasi-autobiography has no shortage of warm and fuzzy feelings

Published on Friday, 21 June 2013 22:08 - Written by BY STEWART SMITH ssmith@tylerpaper.com

“Almost Famous” is one of my favorite “feel good” movies. It doesn’t matter how sour of a mood I’m in, I can pop in Cameron Crowe’s quasi-autobiographical film and get a nice dose of the warm and fuzzies.

There’s something almost Capra-esque in how some of Crowe’s films are relentlessly positive and upbeat. There’s no shortage of schmaltz and borderline overbearing sincerity, but it almost always feels earned, in large part because Crowe and his script and actors are all just so darn earnest.

And so it is, especially with “Almost Famous.”

Crowe, in his teens, was a freelance journalist for “Rolling Stone” magazine, and the film mirrors his adventures with William Miller (Patrick Fugit) as he follows the (fictional) rock band, Stillwater, on the road. This, in turns leads to us getting some wonderful performances by Billy Crudup as Russell Hammond, the band’s lead guitarist, and Kate Hudson as Penny Lane, Stillwater’s foremost “band-aid.” (Don’t even think of calling her a groupie.)

It doesn’t matter how many terrible movies she does, Hudson always will get a pass from me for this one role that fits her like a glove.

“Almost Famous” also has one of my all-time favorite movie moments. A band coming together with everyone singing Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Perfection.

CHEESE FONDUE

INGREDIENTS

2 cans (11 ounces each) condensed cheddar cheese soup

1/4 cup dry white wine or apple juice

2 cups shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper sauce

4 medium green onions, finely chopped (1/4 cup)

Bite-size pieces French bread

Bell pepper pieces, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, sliced celery, carrots, olives, pieces of ham or pimiento-stuffed olives

DIRECTIONS

In 2-quart saucepan or chafing dish, heat soup, wine and cheese over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Stir in garlic powder, a few drops pepper sauce and the onions. Pour into fondue pot or chafing dish to keep warm. Spear bread pieces and vegetables with fondue forks; dip into fondue. (If fondue becomes too thick, stir in a small amount of dry white wine or apple juice.) The name fondue comes from the French word "fondre," which means "to melt". Leftover fondue? Thin it with a little milk to turn it into a delicious soup. Top servings with croutons, and serve with apple and pear slices. If you don’t have a fondue pot, you also can use a slow cooker.

Recipe from Betty Crocker