The early 1970s. William Miller is 15-years old and an aspiring rock journalist. He gets a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine. His first assignment: tour with the band Stillwater and write about the experience. Miller will get to see what goes on behind the scenes in a famous band, including the moments when things fall apart. Moreover, for him, it will be a period of new experiences and finding himself.Written by
Cameron Crowe's character is pulled into the pre-performance huddle. The scene is based on an occasion when Eddie Vedder pulled Crowe into Pearl Jam's huddle before performing one of their Lollapalooza shows. See more »
When William Miller and Russell Hammond are walking outside
the concert, a VW bus is driving behind them and passes them on the street. In the next shot, the same VW bus is back 50 yards or so again. It then passes by again less that 10 seconds later and the driver invites Russell and William to a party. See more »
In the special edition DVD the extended cut of the film is renamed "Untitled". See more »
A scene was filmed in which William plays Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" in front of his mother and some high school staff, as well as Darryl (Anita's boyfriend). William introduces the song by saying that it was based on the works of Tolkien. During the song, the group is looking through the lyrics on the inner sleeve and a copy of Rolling Stone. William and Darryl are lip-synching and playing air guitar and drums. Elaine denounces the song, and the scene continues with her saying "no, no, no, no" before finally agreeing to let her go. However, rights problems forced Crowe to cut the scene. The scene is presented on the "Bootleg Cut" two-DVD set. The scene has no music, but there is an on-screen cue telling the viewer when to start the song. 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!
244 of 279 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this