Film: Almost Famous

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Film:

Almost Famous

Director: Cameron Crowe
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Dreamworks Video

Almost Famous is the movie Cameron Crowe has been waiting a lifetime to tell. The fictionalization of Crowe’s days as a teenage reporter for Creem and Rolling Stone has all the well-written characters and wonderful “movie moments” that we expect from Crowe (Jerry Maguire), but the film has an intangible something extra—an insider’s touch that will turn the film into the ode to ‘70s rock & roll for years to come. We are introduced to Crowe’s alter ego, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), at home, where his progressive mom (Frances…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Almost Famous is the movie Cameron Crowe has been waiting a lifetime to tell. The fictionalization of Crowe’s days as a teenage reporter for Creem and Rolling Stone has all the well-written characters and wonderful “movie moments” that we expect from Crowe (Jerry Maguire), but the film has an intangible something extra—an insider’s touch that will turn the film into the ode to ‘70s rock & roll for years to come. We are introduced to Crowe’s alter ego, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), at home, where his progressive mom (Frances McDormand, just superb) has outlawed rock music and sister Anita (Zooey Deschanel) has slipped him LPs that will “set his mind free.” Following the wisdom of Creem’s disheveled editor, Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman in an instant-classic performance), Miller gets on the inside with the up-and-coming band Stillwater (a fictionalized mixture of the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and others). A simple visit with the band turns into a three-week, life-altering odyssey into the heyday of American rock. Of the characters he meets on the road, the two most important are groupie extraordinaire Penny Lane (Kate Hudson in a star-making performance) and Stillwater’s enigmatic lead guitarist (Billy Crudup), who keeps stringing Miller along for an interview. From the handwritten credits (done by Crowe) to the bittersweet finale, Crowe’s comedic valentine is an indelible, heartbreaking romance of music, women, and the privilege of youth. —Doug Thomas

Barnes and Noble

One of 2000’s most pleasant cinematic surprises, Almost Famous celebrates the liberating influence of rock ‘n’ roll on America’s youth during the 1970s, and is in turns both exhilarating and elegiac. Writer-director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire), drawing on his own adolescent experiences, creates a believable alter ego in Patrick Fugit, cast as a talented teen journalist assigned by Rolling Stone magazine to accompany an up-and-coming band on a nationwide tour. Flush with ambition, the shy youth dutifully chronicles the band’s activities and its members’ peccadilloes, in the process learning valuable and occasionally painful lessons about fame, friendship, and love. Billy Crudup is letter-perfect as the band’s charismatic guitarist, whose increasing popularity threatens insecure lead singer Jason Lee. Frances McDormand sparkles in her relatively brief appearances as Fugit’s protective mother. But Kate Hudson’s performance—justifiably recognized with an Academy Award nomination—is the movie’s most luminous, as she portrays the vulnerable, if free-spirited, groupie who steals Fugit’s heart. Evocative of its period but timeless in its appeal, Almost Famous recognizes rock’s contribution to American pop culture with warmth, humor, and the yearning for a bygone era filled with promise. Ed Hulse

Related Works

Album:Almost Famous: Music from the Motion Picture

Almost Famous: Music from the Motion Picture

Nancy Wilson

Writer-director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, Singles) was a teenager when Rolling Stone magazine sent him out to write cover stories in the 1970s. Nearly 30 years later, Crowe tells the tale in satisfying fashion and extensive detail with Almost Famous, accompanied by a soundtrack that accurately reflects the time of his trial by fire. Led Zeppelin have never before licensed a performance to a soundtrack, so “That’s the Way” earns the distinction. A live version of Lou Reed’s “Waiting for the Man” performed by…

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