Show Me the Money: Ranking Cameron Crowe's Films

To celebrate 100 years in the business, the Santikos Theater in Tomball is holding Tuesday night special screenings of some of the most random movies you can think of. It's their Centennial Celebration Film Series to honor cinema, America and there will be hot apple pie. Tonight, they will be screening the delightful dramedy Jerry Maguire, directed by Cameron Crowe. Crowe has been buzzing around quite a bit lately due to his much-hyped Pearl Jam documentary Pearl Jam 20, to be released this September.

Art Attack is happy to see Cameron Crowe back in action, as it's been almost six years since his last feature film. Of all the 20th century auteurs, Crowe has had such a religious following with such few movies; he has only directed six feature films in his prolific career. Of those six films, it's difficult to put them in order of best to worst... but we will anyway!

Here is our ranking order of Cameron Crowe classics.

6. Elizabethtown This should have been a good movie. It focused on a down-on-his-luck Orlando Bloom, who, about to commit suicide, finds out his father has passed away and must travel to Kentucky. He meets Kirsten Dunst, a kooky stewardess and his eventual love interest. The rest of the cast is stellar, including Alex Baldwin and Susan Sarandon. So what happened? Our theory: Do you recall the Zach Braff vehicle Garden State that came out just shy of a year prior to Elizabethtown and was the exact same movie? The depressed man-boy meets cutesy-girl-who-opens-his-world-up-to-new-possibilities was already done to death and it was already done to death by Crowe!

5. Almost Famous (We will probably get panned for this placement) Almost Famous is the semi-autobiographical story of when Cameron Crowe wrote as a teen for Rolling Stone. In the movie version, the young Patrick Fugit tours across the country with a stereotypical 1970s rock band to cover life on the road and learn a thing or two about people, idols and himself. Almost Famous has so many wonderful characters and memorable scenes. Who could forget a drugged-out Billy Crudup standing atop a house screaming, "I am a golden god!" and, of course, the tear-jerking "Tiny Dancer" bus scene. At times, however, the characters feel forced and the ending is gift-wrapped so tightly, it gets lost in all its pretty paper.

4. Vanilla Sky Vanilla Sky is a highly underrated movie that blends science fiction, suspense and romance into a picture-perfect album cover of a film. Based on the Spanish film Open Your Eyes, Vanilla Sky focuses on a sassy Tom Cruise who takes his flawless life (and face) for granted. A near-death car accident and a crazy Cameron Diaz turn his world into a dreamlike state in which nothing is real anymore. We'll say the ending is a bit out there, but a surprise nonetheless. It's one of those films that you have to go back and watch multiple times to see everything you missed.

3. Jerry Maguire You had me at hello... you had me at hello. We DARE you not to cry at that scene.

2. Singles Singles is the story of a group of friends, living and loving in Grungeville, USA, during the Grungionic Era of 1992. It remains the most iconic film of that generation and introduced the Seattle scene to mainstream media. Bands such as Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone and Soundgarden, among others, made appearances, as did Doc Martins, coffee-shop hangouts, environmental PC'ness, moshing, tights under shorts and the triumphant return of Matt Dillon.

1. Say Anything Not only is this the best Cameron Crowe film, it is debatably one of the best films of all time. Can you call Say Anything a "chick flick?" Maybe. It's a fairy-tale love story about the guy you've always wanted and the girl you've always wanted to punch in the face getting together. Cameron Crowe introduces you to the real person behind Ione Skye's stuffy and uptight Diane Court, and by the film's end, you genuinely feel for her. But it is John Cusack's Lloyd Dobler who steals the movie, steals your heart and raises the romance bar to unrealistic heights for all men for eternity.

Notable Mention: Fast Times at Ridgemont High Crowe didn't direct the party-school flick, but he did pen the screenplay. I task anyone with finding a better stoner than Sean Penn's "Jeff Spicoli."

7 p.m. Santikos Theater, 24720 State Hwy 249. For information call 281-290-0077 or visit www.santikos.com. FREE

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