Study Guide

Almost Famous Jeff (Jason Lee)

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Jeff (Jason Lee)

What would Stillwater be without its loud, insecure, and totally hilarious lead singer? Absolutely nothing, Jeff Bebe would say. Jeff has got some charisma, but he's desperate for the same level of attention received by the more vastly more talented—and infinitely more mysterious—Russell Hammond.

Perhaps Jeff's plight is summed up best when the band nearly leaves him behind at a gas station. "Oh, it's okay, I'm easy to forget. Just leave me behind!" he shouts, starting to run after the bus. "I'm only the &$*#!@ lead singer!"

It's clear Jeff is hungry for attention from the way he talks to William—he's the only guy in the band who actually gives an interview—down to the way he dresses—all blinged out belt buckles and bright colors. As he primps for the San Diego show by greasing up his hair with shaving cream, he waxes poetic about the meaning of rock and roll. It's only later that he realizes how ridiculous he sounds: "'Rock and roll can save the world?' 'The chicks are great?' I sound like a dick!"

In his hunger for approval, there are times when Jeff definitely gets petty. He blows the whole T-shirt incident out of proportion, seizing the opportunity to give Russell an earful. Much of his frustration comes from the fact that he feels like he doesn't get the credit he deserves. "I work as hard, or harder, than anybody on that stage," he tells Russell. "You know what I do? I connect. I get people off! […] And yet," he continues, "why do I always end up feeling like I'm a joke to you?"

Maybe some of Jeff's concerns are valid. But he just can't help getting petty again, discrediting everything he just said by telling Russell that his "looks have become a problem."

Aboard the airplane, Jeff's jealousy comes out again. "You act above us. You always have," he tells Russell. "You just held it over us, like you might leave. Like we're lucky to be with you. And we had to live with it, man." There's no doubt that it would be challenging to always live in the shadow of your artistic partner, and in this moment, yeah, we sympathize with Jeff—especially given Russell's recent lameness. But though these two are polar opposites, from the way they act to the way they dress, Jeff and Russell are brothers. They'll fight, but they will always come back to one another.

In the movie's final montage, it looks as if Jeff and Russell have indeed moved on and gotten over their differences. They get back to playing music not for the popularity, not the girls, and not for the cool factor—but for the love.

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