In 1984, British newspaper reporter Arthur Stuart is investigating the career of 1970s glam rock star Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by American rock singer Curt... See full summary »
Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
The story of a close-knit group of young kids in Nazi Germany who listen to banned swing music from the US. Soon dancing and fun leads to more difficult choices as the Nazis begin ... See full summary »
Robert Sean Leonard,
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
Actress Amy Wright is credited for the role of 'Mrs. Deegan' in director's cut of the movie on DVD in 2001, but not on Blu-ray 2008. Actor Shannon Saint Ryan is credited on director's cut DVD as 'Shannon St Ryan'. On director's cut Blu-ray he's 'Shannon Saint Ryan'. Actor Bodhi Pine Elfman is on director's cut DVD 'Bodie Elfman', on director's cut Blu-ray 'Bodhi Elfman'. See more »
Finally, a movie worth the full price of a ticket! Almost Famous is Cameron Crowe's semi-autobigraphical story of an aspiring rock journalist who goes on tour with a band in the 1970's. If it sounds familiar, it's probably because the story is hardly new. There have been dozens of movies made about the rock and roll lifestyle: the drugs, the sex, the fights, and all the bumps on the road to success.
So what sets Almost Famous apart? The acting, for one. Frances McDormand was brilliant as William's (newcomer Patrick Fugit) well-meaning but overbearing mother. Fugit, for his part, had a convincing performance as the shy, awkward teenager struggling to be a journalist but at the same time aching to belong. Kate Hudson, in her breakout role as groupie "Penny Lane", gave her character depth beyond what might have been a limiting role. And Billy Crudup, as band Stillwater's charismatic lead guitarist, shines. Jason Lee is always good, and as Stillwater's lead singer, this role is no exception. And I can't review this film without giving a shout-out to the chronically and criminally-underrated Philip Seymour Hoffman, who steals every scene he's in with his portrayal of legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs.
The writing in the film also contributes to its effect. Many of the great lines belong to McDormand but there are plenty of others to go around. In addition, the music of the era can't be beat. Everything from Simon and Garfunkle to Alvin and the Chipmunks shows up at some point in the movie's extensive musical score.
The plot may not be particularly original, but it rings true. I of course am approaching this review as a music fan and someone interested in the industry. Nonetheless, I believe that even people who couldn't care less about rock music will enjoy this movie, since it's not so much about the music as it is about life. A central theme is the conflict of William: Should he remain a detached but lonely outsider so as to be an impartial journalist, or allow himself to make friends with these people and feel like he belongs? Aside from bringing up questions of journalistic ethics, this dilemma mirrors much of what people in all wakes of life deal with daily.
Almost Famous is realistic, funny, touching, and one of those rare movies that makes you feel like you've gained something just for having seen it. It's too bad that they say rock and roll is dead, cause we could sure use more movies like this one!
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