This is one of my favorite scenes of all time. The film’s significance to me stems not just because of its beautiful coming of age story, but because it brings all of the intricacies of the film together in a fantastic approach. What stands out to me most in the film is the relationship between Penny Lane and Russell Hammond. On the outside it looks like a passionate yet doomed partnership between a rocker and his muse, but I see it as a metaphor. For me, Penny and Russell represent the power that music–and all mediums of art–have over people. As with Lane and Hammond’s tale, there are some things in life that you know you should stay away from because due to some form of unmissable destruction to follow, yet the enticement is so strong that you’d do to keep its presence constant. Until the film’s ending, that’s exactly what Penny’s relationship was like with Russell; she knew he could break her heart, yet she traveled the country with him and was by his side through everything. I feel like that’s how art is with people. There’s something about a melody, a picture, a poem or lyric that without warning engulfs your very soul. It speaks to you, caresses you, enlightens you or gives you some kind of meaning to the broad existence that is life. Art does things to people that are almost inexplicable but its existence becomes an outlet, a home. That is precisely why I love the band-aids and what they stood for; sure, they hooked up with the band, but their reasons weren’t the cliche equivalent of that as normal “groupies.” The fundamental reason for their infatuation (dedication, even) to Stillwater went beyond the materialistic; it was that these men understood it. “It” meaning that just like Penny, Sapphire and Polexia, these men’s very souls were birthed from the melodic lure of a rhythm or note. Sapphire said it best, “They don’t even know what it is to be a fan…to truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts.” While the brilliant line was used to explain Sapphire’s disdain for the “new groupies,” I can’t help but interpret it as a summation for Russell and Penny, art and people.
**So my reason for loving this scene:
As the audience watches the Stillwater front man finally be compliant in giving William his long awaited interview, the relieved Miller begins by asking “So Russell, what do you love abut music?” The question prompts Russell to position himself in a position that would alludes to him giving a prolonged response. Quite oppositely, Hammond replies with the four words, “To begin with…everything.” An answer so frustratingly simple, yet behind the mundane response lies an astounding amount of depth and passion. That is my interpretation of the film’s conclusion Crowe’s masterpiece. “To begin with…everything” illustrates to me that there are things in life which hold such a significance to an individual that when speaking about it, even the shortest response tells the longest story.