Window pain floating in the sky

My friend, David Horne, occasionally writes a “Movie Lessons” segment for his blog. I love these and constantly nag him to write them more often. So, while I wait for him to pen a new one, I decided to write one myself.

One of my favorite movies is Almost Famous, written and directed by Cameron Crowe. It won an Oscar in 2001 for best original screenplay. What makes this movie even better for me, is its autobiographical nature. As a lover of rock music, Cameron Crowe wrote for Rolling Stone when just a teenager, interviewing, and sometimes traveling with, rock legends.

Set in the 70s, Almost Famous follows fifteen-year-old William Miller who plays hooky from high school to get an exclusive interview with the fictitious band Stillwater for Rolling Stone. William travels with the band in their old tour bus as his angst builds because he must return to school to placate his hovering mother, yet he hasn’t nabbed his critical interview with Russell Hammond, the lead guitarist. Weeks pass and William falls for Penny Lane, a groupie who calls herself a “Band-Aid.” But Penny is in love with Russell, who causes strife within the band given he’s the most talented and generates the most attention.

Russell stomps off after a post-show band argument and gets wasted with a sea of teenagers at a fan’s house. The scene ends with him leaping off the roof into a pool below. The next morning, the rest of the band and the manager arrive to pick up Russell. What follows, to me, is the most magical scene in the movie. As the tour bus motors through the corn fields of middle America, the band pissed and Russell hungover, Elton John’s Tiny Dancer plays on the radio.

Not only does the scene show the healing power of music and its ability to move the soul, but the moment between William and Penny is forever lodged in my mind. William turns to Penny and says, “I have to go home.” Penny examines William with an impish grin, then trickles her fingers down in front of his face. “You are home,” she answers. It’s oh-so-subtle, but the dawning realization on William’s face, is cinematic gold.

Lesson: Home is anywhere you discover your passion and your people. And even when we find them, sometimes we are too busy clinging to our old lives to realize we are home.

Have you found home, or are you still looking?


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