Almost Famous (2000)
The Life of Crowe
As a teenager William Miller (Patrick Fugit) wants to be a reporter covering music and he gets his chance when he gets to write a story about new rock back Stillwater for Rolling Stone Magazine. Joining them on tour he gets to experience the life on the road as he becomes friends with lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) as well as groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). But not only does he have to deal with his mother Elaine (Frances McDormand) being over protective and always calling but also Rolling Stone magazine who want him to dish the dirt on the guys he calls his friends.
Here is the main fact you need to know about "Almost Famous", it is writer and director Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical account of his teenage years during the 70s as a young reporter writing for Rolling Stone magazine. Why that is the main fact is because I believe that this is one of those movies which unless you experienced what it is about it doesn't fully work. With out that connection "Almost Famous" is still an enjoyable movie which ticks over nicely with a great energy, good performances and some fun scenes but it isn't great.
The thing is that it is understandable because unless you were mad for music as a teenager and went to concerts, idolized a band and followed them around you would struggle to connect to with the experiences of young William as he gets to live his dream of life on the road with a rock band. It is the same with the 70s vibe as unless you lived during that time you just can't fully appreciate what Crowe has created.
But as I said it is still enjoyable from the humour of William having to deal with his over protective mother calling up all the time to the friendships he makes. "Almost Famous" also has pretty good performances starting with Patrick Fugit's fresh faced enthusiasm to his looks of horror when ever someone tells him his mother called. Then there is Kate Hudson, a ridiculously youthful looking Kate Hudson who has echoes of a young Jodie Foster about her. And I could go on because Billy Crudup and Jason Lee look like they belong in a 70s rock band and also act like it with the right moves when they are on stage.
What this all boils down to is that "Almost Famous" no matter what is an entertaining movie with enjoyable performances and a great vibe. But it is also a movie which I am convinced works even better for those who lived through this era or were heavily into music as teenagers and can connect with the experience of being not only a fan but the life of following a band around.
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