Cameron Crowe may love the movies, but the movies don’t appear to love him anymore. It’s been 16 years since “Almost Famous,” the Rolling Stone journo-turned-filmmaker’s last bona fide insta-classic. Since then it’s been flops and critical pinatas or both, though the not bad “We Bought a Zoo,” it should be noted, did make its share of dough.
So he’s doing what all talented filmmakers who’ve fallen on hard times do: Fleeing to television, where the writer-director is king. Next month sees the premiere of “Roadies,” a Showtime show that brings Crowe back to both his first love — music — and to “Almost Famous.” In fact, it basically looks like “Almost Famous: The Show,” following the travails of tour crew and “band aids” as they deal not with an intrusive junior journo but something far worse: a suit from the record label.
Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, Rafe Spall, Luis Guzman and Imogen Poots — who truly seems to have been put on this earth to be in a Cameron Crowe product anyway — star in the show, and the trailer betrays the usual CC concerns: jokes amidst sentiment, vibes at once heartfelt and wacky, and lines like, “The key is family — the feeling you get when you realize you’re not alone.”
May TV give Crowe the appreciation he deserves, though hopefully he won’t forsake cinema altogether. Unloved as his recent output has been, the films are underrated and at times wonderful. “Vanilla Sky” is an endearingly crazed remake in which a filmmaker with a sensibility wholly unsuited to a twisty mindf— still manages to make something fully imbued with his distinct personality. We’ll even stick up for the good (though not bad) parts of “Elizabethtown.” And we're the ones who like “Aloha,” which may have been cut to ribbons but is still frequently a delightful, Hawksian hang-out movie. We still love you, Mr. Crowe, even when we don’t.
"Roadies" premieres on June 26 on Showtime.