William Miller is a 15-year-old kid hired by Rolling Stone magazine to tour with and write about Stillwater, an up and coming rock band. This wonderfully witty coming-of-age film follows William as he falls face first to confront life, love, and lingo. Written by
The legal disclaimer at the end of the film (which, for most films, merely states that all characters and events are fictional, with any real-life similarities being coincidence), notes that the character of Penny Lane was "loosely based" on a real individual. Cameron Crowe has stated that Penny Lane is based on his real-life friend, Pennie Trumble, who goes by the name "Pennie Lane". She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is involved in the music industry. See more »
William Miller appears in underwear with the "Fruit of the Loom" name printed all around the waistband. That style was first produced in the 1990s. See more »
'Almost Famous', based on director Cameron Crowe's own experiences as a writer, is a formidable piece of work. It can be viewed as a coming-of-age story, a study of a 'collage' of characters mixed into a wonderful story or a love story. Crowe smoothly tells his story about William's love for rock music, his curiosity and excitement towards the world of rockstars and rock music, his relationship with the musicians and the Band-aids, his relationship with his mother and sister. He's put a lot of heart into the making of this dream (?) project and clearly shows a deep understanding for rock and roll. What makes 'Almost Famous' different from other rock movies is that it doesn't solely focus on drugs, sex, etc. Sure, they are there but there's a whole lot more going on, both good and bad. Crowe shows us what attracts people to the world of rock.
Every single actor does nothing short of a great job. Even those with limited screen-time, such as Zooey Deschanel and Fairuza Balk are outstanding. Of course the superb dialogues also help richen the characters but the dialogue delivery is up to the actors. Kate Hudson is stunning and fits her part like a glove. She is amazing with the subtle expressions and shares a wonderful chemistry with her co-stars. Crudup is brilliant as the guitarist who's under the impression that he's loved by everyone and that he's the best. Hoffman, Lee and Taylor are very good. McDormand is sublime. One can't help but love this character. And, last but not least, Fugit as William Miller effortlessly pulls off the character's awkwardness and initial unease to losing his virginity, falling in love and understanding it all.
As mentioned earlier, Crowe's writing is just fantastic. It would have been easy to make Elaine Miller a caricature anti-rock and roll mother or Anita Miller as the mom-hating rebellious teen but Crowe just gave enough attention to writing all the characters well enough. The dialogues make the screenplay more unique e.g. the scene where Elaine Miller screams out of the car to her son "Don't do Drugs", or the turbulent scene where the Rockband confess. The soundtrack itself is a 'must-buy'.
There's a lot more that I can write about but I'll just stop here. Those who think 'Almost Famous' is nothing different from other rock movies, then they just missed the point. It's funny, it's got drama, it's got wonderful characters, great music, it's rock and roll!
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