Salon discussion of "Almost Famous" gang-rape scene

Patrick McEvoy-Halston: The "Almost Famous'" gang-rape scene?
Isn't this the film that features the deflowering of a virgin -- out of boredom -- by a pack of predator-vixons, who otherwise thought so little of him they were quite willing to pee in his near vicinity?
Maybe we'll come to conclude that "[t]he scene only works because people were stupid about [boy by girl] [. . .] rape at the time" (Amy Benfer).

Sawmonkey: Lucky boy
Pull that stick a few more inches out of your chute, Patrick. This was one of the best flicks of the decade. (sawmonkey, response to post, “Films of the decade: ‘Amost Famous’, R.J. Culter, Salon, 13 Dec. 2009)

Patrick McEvoy-Halston: @sawmonkey
It made an impression on me too. Great charm. Great friends. But it is one of the things you (or at least I) notice on the review, there is the SUGGESTION, with him being so (rightly) upset with the girls feeling so free to pee right before him, that sex with him is just further presumption and disregard on part of the girls, the movie decides to play it off mostly as some great score for the kid. My guess is that Crowe is conflicted about the incident. Packs of girls / women as friends but also vipers, is certainly something you notice in his films. The male protagonist who associates with them, who ardently defends / serves them, forcefully represents their interests to his male peers ("Joe. Joe. She's written 65 songs . . . 65. They're all about you"; "You guys, you're always talking about the fans, the fans, the fans; she was your biggest fan, and you threw her away!"), is made to seem possibly more evolved (the women certainly are in a hurry to deem him such) but also possibly someone who will never garner full respect from women -- someone, who in the end, is actually the one who making the mistake in not hanging out at the "Gas 'n' Sip on a Saturday night completely alone drinking beers with no women anywhere." Crowe seems someone who could well ask,"One question. Are you here because you need someone or because you need me?," but also someone who'd immediately retract, capitulate, owing to still being a bit afraid to stand up for himself and put his foot down.

Brian D: Wow
I believe some people need to re-read the premise for these "reviews." I think it had something to do with which movies were the most personally influential films, not perhaps the critical best.
The film had a similar affect on me personally, but I wouldn't say it was the best film of the past decade. And yes, there are some issues of gender politics in the movie, but name a film where there isn't. (Brian D. response to post, “Films of the decade: ‘Almost Famous’”)

Patrick McEvoy-Halston: @Brian D.
The premise behind this new Salon feature is to launch "salvos" and otherwise get a spirited conversation going. How does, "And yes, there are some issues of gender politics in the movie, but name a film where there isn't" draw us further into the film rather than school us on out? I was getting at something I felt fascinating and significant about Crowe, that hasn't been much remarked upon, and was hoping for expansion and engagement, not dismissal.

sawmonkey: You're right, in a way Patrick.
If gender issues had nothing to do with the scene it would be a horrific gang-rape. The social mores, being what they are, say the opposite to me. What 14 year old boy doesn't dream about being surounded by a sea of pussy? Some of Crowe's more self-serving moments don't hold up well (ie: this particular scene) but on the whole, he captures what it's like to be a kid living in his skin. The soundtrack ain't bad, either.

Patrick McEvoy-Halston: @sawmonkey
Well said, sawmonkey.


  1. Just watching the film, and I Googled Almost Famous rape scene, and your blog was the only thing that came up, it hadn't occurred to me that it was a gang rape scene. Swap a 15 year old lad for a 15 year old girl and...well and it wouldn't have been filmed. Perhaps the world has changed so much in the last 6 months, that this scene would have been OK last year but maybe a film maker would have thought twice about it today. Equality should be a 2 way street sexual harassment flows both ways too.


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