Five Ways Something Ruined My Life

Five Ways ‘Almost Famous' Ruined My Life

You may not know this but I love (most of) the movies of Cameron Crowe. I mean, Singles, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, come on! But today we’re going to discuss perhaps my favorite Cameron Crowe movie (which happens to feature our own Zooey Deschanel) Almost Famous!

Let me just tell you I love this movie DESPITE the fact that an ex-boyfriend (then current boyfriend) once told me “my ex girlfriend looks just like Kate Hudson in this picture” (barf). So that’s saying a lot.

Ever since I saw this movie I’ve been obsessed with it. My dad and I even say “eleven?!” to each other the same way Young William Miller says it in the car when he finds out his real age (and generally quote lots of lines from this movie). The cast is amazing, the music is great (duh) and it’s just the sort of movie I want to curl up inside of like a tauntaun. It’s the reason why I always think “I LOVE KATE HUDSON” and the reason why I think of palm trees when I hear that Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song.

And OMG there’s Eric Stonestreet:

And Rainn Wilson!

Here are five ways Almost Famous ruined my life:

1. Final Nail In the “I Love the Name Penny” Coffin

I love the name Penny (not Penelope – sorry) and generally all characters named Penny. But Penny Lane in Almost Famous was the peak of this obsession for me. She absolutely put me over the top for the name and made me want to have a kid to name her Penny (that’s a solid reason to have kids, right?)

Is Penny Lane a super role model for young girls? No, of course not. She sleeps with a jerk musician and follows bands around on tour when she’s apparently only 16. She ODs and has to have her stomach pumped, she’s a mess. I mean this is a girl who says “famous people are just more interesting” when asked if she has any normal friends.

But she has an awesome sense of style and “aura” about her and she’s just really cool. So back off. And I mean, as evidenced by the main photo, I’m really into emulating her.

And this is maybe my favorite exchange of the whole movie:

Penny Lane: How old are you?
William Miller: Eighteen.
Penny Lane: Me too! How old are we really?
William Miller: Seventeen.
Penny Lane: Me too!
William Miller: Actually, I’m sixteen.
Penny Lane: Me too. Isn’t it funny? The truth just sounds different.
William Miller: I’m fifteen.

But I’m also partial to when she tells William, “you are home” on the bus.

2. I Now Cry Every Time I Hear “Tiny Dancer”

I’m working on a compilation of all the amazing music moments in Cameron Crowe movies…in my mind. Because if there’s one thing the man can do, it’s use a track of music.

But I love the entire scene on the tour bus with William and Penny and Russell and everyone when they’re singing to “Tiny Dancer.” (Not “hold me close young Tony Danza” as Pheobe Buffay believes).

It’s such a good scene in general and somehow ISN’T hokey considering a group of people spontaneously break out into song in a non-musical and that is a feat in and of itself.

3. Made Me Think Riding Around on a Tour Bus Would Be the Best Thing Ever

I’m not in a band. I don’t want to be in a band. I hate confined spaces. I hate weird airplane-like bathrooms. I hate when people just start playing the guitar in front of me like an awkward solo concert.

But for some reason I assume riding on a tour bus would be the height of fun and coolness for me, in spite of all these reasons why I know I’d hate it.

I guess what I’m saying is the first season of Road Rules really had a big impact on my life is all.

4. I Also Really Wanted to Be a Stewardess

Again, do I enjoy confined spaces? We already know I hate them! And I hate airplane-like bathrooms! Which they have on airplanes!

But before Catch Me If You Can I wanted to be a stewardess because of Almost Famous. Ultimately, this is mostly based on how cute and awesome Zooey looks in her stewardess costume. And since I also have brown hair and blue eyes, I thought, “well maybe I can look that cute and awesome as well.”

I totally get that we don’t use the term stewardess anymore but that’s definitely specifically the role that is romanticized here for me. Not being a flight attendant, but being a stewardess. Crazy kind-of-sexist appearance requirements and all.

5. I Still Say, “It’s All Happening” All the Time

As stated above, I love Penny Lane. But I also just love all the Band Aids. Don’t call them groupies.

Penny Lane: We are not Groupies. Groupies sleep with rockstars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids.


So the group of them spend the whole movies saying the phrase, “it’s all happening” and now I find myself saying it ALL the time. And picturing Anna Paquin and Fairuza Balk and just…loving life. And, please, someone start calling me Polexia or Sapphire.

It’s ALL happening!


And, let’s all be glad I made it through the whole post without mentioning Vanilla Sky.



(Main photo adapted via, all other photos screengrabbed by me from the DVD)

  • Kendall Gibson

    This movie is one of my favorites. <3 Just… yes. To all of this.

  • Noella Delaney

    Great piece. Amazing movie. I dig music…. AND I’M ON DRUUUUUUUGS! :)

  • Mallory Wagner

    I had an aunt that was freaking out over my brother’s aura and all I could think was “YOUR AURA’S PURPLE. IT’S PURPLE.” This is in my top five and I’ll watch anything of Cameron Crowe’s. Elizabethtown was underrated, I thought.

    • Cassie Weber

      Elizabethtown is my absolute favorite movie of all time! completely underrated.

    • Candice MacNeale Lazecky

      Honestly, you could hate every second of Elizabethtown, but when that road trip starts all is forgiven! (I also, love that movie!)

  • Colleen Sweeney

    I’m a Golden God! This movie is amazing. It’s literally one of two movies that Kate Hudson is in that I can stand without wanting to chuck the DVD out the window at break-neck speeds.

  • Jessica Michelle

    This is literally my favorite movie. It makes me feel like I should have been in California in the seventies. This movie may just be my soulmate! It’s all happening!

  • Alli Treman

    All of these, and I always say “so this is where the enemy sleeps” when I see a person’s bedroom for the first time ever. They usually don’t get it.

    • Erin Long

      Haha, I might have to steal that from you!

  • Cassie Weber

    love love love :)

  • Elise Blanc

    best movie EVER!! I was obesessed in my teen with it!

  • Lotte Beck

    I soooooo agree! Even the eleven!?!! and Tony Danza reference.. Phenomenal! Oh, and how beautiful is the scene where Penny dances in the empty concert hall after the show <3

    • Erin Long

      I know, that scene kills me.

  • Sapphire Kaye

    Hah, my name is Sapphire. I win. This movie RULES.

    • Erin Long

      You obviously need a friend called Polexia.

      • Sapphire Kaye

        Clearly I need to get on that!

  • Catrin Morgan

    Tiny Dancer Bus scene one of my favourite movie scenes!!!!

  • Lara Paquette

    erin, it seems that you and i have the same taste in movies and pretty much the same sense of humor, so that’s pretty cool.

    • Erin Long


  • Emily Luna

    I love this post with a passion! My Dad and I are constantly quoting this movie! “I am a Golden God!”, “They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool.” but our favorite was every time my Dad dropped me off anywhere he would yell “Don’t take drugs!”

    • Erin Long

      Funny that it’s a thing with your dad too!

  • Candice MacNeale Lazecky

    This is the first movie I watch every summer! It sets a tone, you know?

  • Laura Gonzales Buck

    My favorite movie! I named my dog Penny Lane (she’s copper colored) after Hudson’s character.

  • Edward Cannata

    As many times that have seen this movie and loved it, I recently purchased the directors cut blu-ray DVD, only to discover it includes many new and extended scenes. If you are a fan of this movie – its a MUST SEE! The extra -1footage adds so much more to the story, you will not be disappointed…

    • Jennifer Herd

      Oh wow. I did not know this. Thanks for the tip!

  • Edward Cannata

    It’s actually called the bootleg cut and runs 40 minutes longer than the original theatrical release.

  • Jessica Townsley

    Truly my favorite Cameron Crowe film! Every time I head “Tiny Dancer” I either think of Phoebe or imagine that incredible tour-bus-sing-along (I wonder how Elton would feel about that?). And now I fear I’ll have to force the husband to watch this (again) tonight when we’re supposed to be watching “new” movies (as is our anniversary tradition). Thank you for that :-)

  • Liz Haebe

    This movie makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and I’ve loved it since I saw it on opening night! I think I made all my friends go see it too. They were so lucky to have a friend like me. 😛

  • Maren Guckelsberger

    I recently watched “Almost Famous” by coincidence and I enjoyed it very much! The music is awesome and Penny Lane really is a great character!

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