Cameron Crowe has been behind some wonderful movies during his career and he his back in the director's chair this week with his new film Aloha.
Aloha is the first film for the writer and director since We Bought a Zoo back in 2011 and sees him team up with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, and Rachel McAdams.
We take a look back over Crowe's career so far and some of the great movies that he has brought to the big screen - and there are plenty to choose from.
- Say Anything (1989)
It was back in 1989 when Cameron Crowe made his directorial debut with comedy/romance Say Anything and it was a movie that immediately put him on the movie map.
As well as being in the director's chair, Crowe also penned the screenplay, while John Cusack Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack, and Jeremy Piven made up a terrific cast list.
The movie follows a high-school valedictorian who begins dating an irresponsible army brat, much to the dismay of her father. After breaking off the relationship and being pursued for the remainder of the summer by the boy she dropped, she finds that there's much more to life than just perfection.
What I have always loved about Crowe as both a writer and a director, is his knack of developing interesting and multi-layered characters... and he did this with his very first film. Instead of packing this teen film with the clichés that we have seen before and since, Crowe developed two central characters in particular that were interesting and relatable.
Say Anything is a great coming of age film about discovering who you are, what you want, your place in the world, and if love is worth it. Some witty dialogue is brought to life wonderfully by Cusack and Skye, who give two charming central performances as Lloyd and Diane.
Say Anything was a big critical hit when it was released and has gone on to be one of the most loved teen movies of all time. This is the movie that really kick started Crowe's career and made everyone sit up and take notice of this young and new filmmaker.
- Singles (1993)
Those who had been big fans of Say Anything here in the UK, had to wait until 1993 to see Crowe return to the director's chair with his second feature film Singles.
The romantic comedy saw Crowe on writing and directing duties once again, while bringing together a cast that included Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick, Sheila Kelley, Jim True-Frost, Matt Dillon and Bill Pullman.
A group of twenty-something friends, most of whom live in the same apartment complex, search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle.
While the rom/com genre was nothing new in 1993, there was something incredibly fresh about Singles that did make it stand out from other films in this genre. He captures the grunge-era of the early nineties perfectly and it is as much a commentary about what was going on at that time as it was about the characters.
Once again, Crowe created incredibly engaging characters that you cared and rooted for from the moment that you met them. You can really feel the director's affection for these characters as they try to navigate their way through their complicated love lives.
As well as being packed with charm, Singles is also incredibly funny and you can't help but get swept away in the notion of love and romance in this nineties ear. Fonda and Dillon, for me, were the film's standout couple as the chemistry between them really buzzed from start to finish.
Singles may not be one of Crowe's most financially successful movies, but it remains one of his best and is a must see if you are a fan of his work.
- Jerry Maguire (1997)
It was 1997 when Jerry Maguire hit the big screen here in the UK, and this was the movie that really did send Crowe's star rocketing. Crowe had enjoyed critical and commercial success so far, but Jerry Maguire was the film that really changed everything.
The movie saw Crowe team up with Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, and Cuba Gooding Jr for the first time as he mixed comedy with the sports drama to produce this gem of a film.
When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.
'Show me the money!' become one of the most quoted movie lines of the year - it also is one of the most famous of all time. Crowe penned another great script that was penned with fascinating characters and interesting relationships and all of this was hooked by two terrific performances from Cruise and Gooding Jr as sports agent and sportsman.
There's a humour and a warmth to both of these characters and Cruise and Gooding Jr really do make a terrific comedy pair. Jerry Maguire is very much a romance movie, but there is also a fantastic bromance element to this film as well, which works perfectly. Crowe perfectly balances the romance, the bromance, the sports drama, and comedy elements of this film so beautifully.
Jerry Maguire went on to gross over $273 million at the global box office and went on to become the ninth top grossing film of 1996.
Jerry Maguire was also the movie that brought Crowe his first Oscar nominations. The movie picked up five nods - including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Cruise, It walked away with Best Supporting Actor for Gooding Jr on the night.
- Almost Famous (2001)
Crowe has been behind some terrific films during his career, but Almost Famous remains my favourite. Almost Famous was the first film for Crowe after the success of Jerry Maguire and it hit UK cinemas back in 2001 - hard to believe that this movie is already well over a decade old.
Almost Famous followed central character William Miller, school boy who is given the chance to write for Rolling Stone magazine. The fifteen year old hits the road in the 1970s to follow and cover the fictitious band Stillwater.
Written by Crowe, Almost Famous is based on the director's own experiences of touring with rock bands as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. I love the personal nature of Almost Famous and it is this charm and warmth that really pulls you into the story and the era.
Of course, Almost Famous is a movie about rock and roll and being on the road, but it is also very much a coming of age film about finding your place in the world and breaking away from the protection and the expectations of your family. It is a film very much about finding your own path and following the dreams and ambitions that you have - something that we really can all relate to, no matter how old or young you are.
Crowe penned an endearing, charming, and incredibly touching screenplay as well as capturing the seventies era so vividly. He really pulls the audience into this world and this time and you go on the journey with William.
Sadly, Almost Famous was not the box office success that it should have been but it was a huge critical hit. The movie was nominated for four Oscars, with Crowe walking away with Best Original Screenplay; this was the first Oscar win of Crowe's career.
- We Bought A Zoo (2012)
The last time that we saw Crowe in the director's chair was in 2012 when he brought We Bought A Zoo to the big screen. The movie was based on the 2008 memoir of the same name by Benjamin Mee and saw Matt Damon take on the role of Mee in the film.
We Bought A Zoo was the first time that Crowe had teamed up with the actor, while Aline Brosh McKenna as also on board to help pen the screenplay.
After the death of his wife, Benjamin Mee movies his young family to the country side for a fresh start. However, he takes on more than he bargains for as he tries to turn around a struggling zoo.
We Bought A Zoo is a heart-warming, touching, and moving tale about succeeding against all of the odds, finding help where you least expected it, and coming to terms with grief and loss.
While Crowe may have strayed off the original tale a little, that doesn't mean that We Bought A Zoo is any less a great movie. Damon is wonderful in the central role as a man who is struggling to be a single father while make the leap of faith he has taken work.
I have been a fan of Damon for many years and he is really does keep the audience hooked as he and his family go on an incredibly difficult journey. The moment with his children - especially the struggles he has with his young son - are some of the film's most powerful and they fail to see eye to eye and they don't know how to help each other with their grief.
But it is not a doom and gloom story as We Bought A Zoo is about friendship, family, and fighting to protect something. It is really is an uplifting tale - all the more so when you know that it is based on an incredible true story.
Aloha is released 18th September.