Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4.26

Awesome59.83%
Worth A Look: 20.92%
Just Average: 10.88%
Pretty Crappy: 2.51%
Sucks: 5.86%

15 reviews, 149 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Wonder Wheel by Peter Sobczynski

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Rob Gonsalves

Swindlers, The by Jay Seaver

Oro (Gold) by Jay Seaver

Disaster Artist, The by Peter Sobczynski

Explosion by Jay Seaver

Lucky (2017) by Rob Gonsalves

Breadwinner, The by Jay Seaver

Endless, The by Jay Seaver

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed


Almost Famous
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"One of the Year's Most Beautiful Films"
5 stars

Whenever I see album and song reviews in newspapers and magazines, I can barely find the strength anymore to read them and when I do I usually wind up scratching my head. What do these music critics look for while they are listening to each song? The depth of the lyrics? The voice of the artist(s)? The complexity of the music? What do they hear? Why does some of the music I listen to get a “C” rating, but Beck and the samplers of Rap are the greatest artists on the planet? Now comes Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, a movie that, on the surface, seems like just an autobiographical (yet fictional) account of his days as a rock reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, but is so much more.

Crowe tells his story through the eyes of 15-year old William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who was unknowingly moved up a few steps on the grade school ladder due to his prodigy-like intelligence. He already doesn’t fit in amongst his classmates and then comes home to a loving, but strict mother, Elaine (Frances McDormand), whose hatred of rock n’ roll as a means to protect her children has already driven her eldest daughter to leave and pursue the career of a stewardess. William is left a farewell gift though, her vast collection of rock albums. Turning his writing attention to articles about music, William gets to meet his idol, legendary Creem magazine critic Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who gives him his first real assignment: $35 to write 1000 words on Black Sabbath, playing in town that week.

After being rebuked admittance, William meets up with some “band-aids” (glorified groupies who are true fans, almost acting like muses for the band) led by the mysterious, angelic-looking Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). She and her fellow band-aids get him in as a guest of the opening act, known as Stillwater, headed by lead singer, Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) and lead guitarist, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). Treading themselves carefully not to reveal too much to the “enemy”, they nevertheless grant William enough respect to take him on the road with them when he’s given a career-making chance to cover Stillwater for an article in Rolling Stone. Young William intends to write an honest backstage story about the band, but despite the advice of Lester warning him not to make friends with his subjects, he can’t help but be enamored with the company he finds himself with, not the least of which is Penny Lane.

From here on the film becomes about several key relationships; between William & Penny, Penny & Russell, Russell & William. And each one gets their time together to grow and grow up with Penny and Russell having more in common with William than they think, living their lives in a world that is more fantasy than reality. Helped all the while by writer/director Cameron Crowe, who can take ordinary movie cliches, like the first kiss or the running along a taxiing airplane and make them seem original and special. Crowe is able to earn his sentimentality in the end without having it feel forced or tacked on because it builds naturally through the progression of the story and its characters.

One of Crowe’s filmmaker mentors is James L. Brooks (who produced both Say Anything & Jerry Maguire). Both of them take their time in between projects (Crowe, 4 films/11 years & Brooks, 4 films/17 years) and perhaps that’s why their films soak with such intelligence and well-drawn out characters surrounded with interesting supporting characters. Think of Crowe’s Say Anything with Lloyd, Diane & her father. Jerry Maguire with Jerry, Dorothy and Rod. Now Almost Famous with Penny, Russell, William and his mom.

Not a single performance here hits an off note and half that credit goes to Crowe who has enough respect for his characters that he avoids turning them into one dimensional cliches, which any of them could easily be. Frances McDormand’s mom could have simply been the villain, a bastion of hatred for rock stars doing the Devil’s work (much like the mother in the wretched 70s rock comedy Detroit Rock City.) But she is a loving mother who wants her cherished William to do good, allowing him to go to the concert and on the road with the band, not wanting to make the same mistake she made once, yet still remaining concerned for her child. Kate Hudson is incredible as Penny, bringing an equal amount of worldliness and a child-like viewpoint in the fantasy world she has carved out for herself. Patrick Fugit perfectly embodies the wide-eyed nature of a child in an adult world, forcing to quietly take it on the chin for the greater good on more than one occasion. Billy Crudup may turn out to be the unsung hero of this film. Yet he deserves equal, if not, greater praise for a very tricky role as the guitarist and poster front man for Stillwater who is looking to reach out to someone, but is afraid of what he might say or do. Crudup encapsulates Russell with an arrogance and a quiet warmth that shows (without words) when he’s ashamed of himself. Literally phoning in his role, Hoffman plays Bangs to perfection, helped once again with Crowe’s amazing writing. The way Lester describes being “uncool” and the “currency” involved with it is one of the most beautifully written pieces of dialogue you’ll hear this year.

What I truly missed though in Almost Famous is the way a band writes music and how a rock critic writes about those writings. We witness William taking little notes here and there and we listen to an opening paragraph, but that’s about it. I even took a class in college to help understand what music critics see that I don’t. After failing to get the answers I wanted there and after seeing Almost Famous, I realized that I just didn’t care. When Russell is finally asked what he loves so much about music, his one-word answer says it all. The meaning of how music or a song is a universal entity, crossing boundaries and hitting home not just on an individual basis. Crowe doesn’t even need to put this truth into dialogue, instead having everyone slowly unite into a rendition of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer. Frowns and despair turn into song and happiness and it’s an absolutely beautiful moment in an absolutely beautiful movie.

Almost Famous ultimately is about so many things, you won’t know where to begin discussing it. It’s a wonderful coming-of-age story wrapped up in a tale about the 70s, rock-and-roll, first loves, and what it’s about to be a passionate fan of something or someone. I’m a fan of Cameron Crowe and his fourth film, Almost Famous, is one of the best of the year. (Note: Crowe has stated that his original 170-minute vision awaits us on the DVD.)

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3454&reviewer=198
originally posted: 09/14/00 16:51:57
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell boring as fuck i hate this movie 1 stars
1/10/13 Martel732 Rock in the early '70s,according to ditzy,hippy airhead flibberdegibbet ,Nancy Wilson 1 stars
11/30/12 Leonard over-hyped-- This could have been Disney...was the screenplay written by a 15 yr old, too? 2 stars
3/30/12 Peter Reilich "rock stopped being art and started being a product of big business" is untrue. always both 1 stars
10/10/10 Dymphna Kahl Very good movie & acting, , song "Tiny Dancer" the best. 4 stars
8/10/10 art a GRAND 1970's HIPPIE MOVIE! 4 stars
8/05/10 Heather! One of my favorite movies ever! Hilarious and moving...I love Cameron Crowe! 5 stars
12/28/09 Bert I have to say this is my favorite movie of all time! 5 stars
11/05/09 Jeff Wilder Perfect rock and roll film. 5 stars
7/05/09 MP Bartley Soft peddles everything to the detriment of the film - nice while it lasts, though. 4 stars
3/02/09 Samantha Pruitt very interesting with great characters and acting! 4 stars
1/17/09 matt flawless 5 stars
7/03/07 fools♫gold I give you up, mb: your totally personal life I know little of seems empty. 5 stars
3/17/07 mb Gave It Up After 37 min. ... seemed empty 2 stars
11/24/06 David Pollastrini very good 5 stars
10/24/06 Jess loved it! all the performances are wonderful! 5 stars
4/23/06 Annie Made me remember being a teen of the 70's! Oops, telling my age here! 5 stars
4/01/06 I'll stay anonymous this time if you don't mind A rock film for people who don't like rock. Or movies, particularly 2 stars
8/19/05 ES If you dream of bing a rock groupie this is your film 1 stars
8/04/05 ^podo incredible.... 5 stars
5/22/05 Chlo ...don't you mean the 70s, cris? 4 stars
5/04/05 Cindy Lovell I loved it, Jason Lee was awesome 5 stars
3/13/05 cris i will always love this movie! for 2 h, i live in the 60s 5 stars
2/27/05 Lorrin Great movie, not once did I want to turn it off 5 stars
2/13/05 sbpat21 a modern classic; masterpiece 5 stars
2/06/05 Desperado Touching,amazing, brilliant coming of age story that makes me want to grow up in that era 5 stars
12/16/04 sully no sex,no drugs,no rock&roll,dumbed down after school special 1 stars
12/08/04 Joshua Hitchens Amazing 5 stars
9/16/04 Jacqui Ambler Touching, but never a cliche, complex but never full of its own edginess. 5 stars
9/14/04 anna wicked 5 stars
7/07/04 Denise Duspiva where is the story 2 stars
5/22/04 muffin cool film! 5 stars
5/12/04 This girl A solid three star movie from the always good but never earth-shattering Cameron Crowe 3 stars
5/01/04 Nicole Settimi This is one of those instances where you will feel it is more than "just watching a movie". 5 stars
4/11/04 Peter It brought back fond memories of the era 5 stars
4/04/04 Charlene Javier Another Crowe classic! 5 stars
12/14/03 Christia Bjørnskov One of my all-time favourites...everything rings true. 5 stars
10/30/03 Veronica Lodge One of my top faves... this movie is absolutely beautiful, nostalgic, and poetic 5 stars
10/16/03 sarah i h8 it, it really sux 1 stars
10/09/03 Erik Van Sant Great upon first viewing...then you realize what a stupid, annoying slut Kate Hudson is. 3 stars
8/23/03 yulia loved it! penny lane - amazing screen presence... 5 stars
6/23/03 cochese overrated, the kids annoying and so is kate hudson. 3 stars
6/03/03 Charles Tatum A perfect film 5 stars
3/23/03 Winthrop J Applesmythe III damn fucking good. this is in my top 15 of all time. 5 stars
1/16/03 y2mckay FEVER DAWG, SCRATCHIN' AT MY BACK DOOR . . . Jason Lee rox, Kate Hudson quite droolworthy 4 stars
12/02/02 Monster W. Kung Entertaining and interesting, but not a masterpiece. Doesn't try to go deep enough. 4 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted One of the Bests of 2000. Billy Crudup delivers an amazing perf. 5 stars
10/26/02 MarktheShark6 Jason Lee and an appearance by Jimmy Fallon. A great flick, no doubt. 5 stars
9/27/02 mell it was the sh*t!!! 5 stars
9/14/02 Joe Zappa (I'm Back!) I like it because it's funny and it has Jason Lee in it. 4 stars
8/13/02 guisada crap. 1 stars
8/07/02 Silellak A truly amazing movie 5 stars
8/06/02 hum story is really nothing special and yet its a very enjoyable flick 3 stars
7/20/02 Sofia just a really great movie, from beginning to end. 5 stars
7/14/02 Dan Rapp A great film that captures the feel of the early-mid seventies. 5 stars
7/07/02 Mr. Punch If you don't smile during the entire movie, then it's time to order your gravestone. 5 stars
6/22/02 The Conscience Objector simply put:crowes greatest 5 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi sweet!!! 5 stars
6/01/02 sdjfsdkjf top notch. Kate hudson was really good in this, I was suprised. Loved the music. 5 stars
5/29/02 Gary Highly enjoyable comedy fleshed out by excellent performances. Brilliant. 4 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Great movie.....gotta love the end 4 stars
4/30/02 katie my favorite movie. loved everything about it! 5 stars
3/15/02 Sara Goldfarb's Red Dress 'Tiny Dancer' sing-along a great movie moment..rest was kinda shite 4 stars
3/07/02 Mo Anand I think this movie has all the essentials...comedy, drama, and great music 5 stars
3/02/02 Chowie Fucking AWESOME! 5 stars
3/01/02 Alan Smithee A most excellent film (especially the director's cut)...and I want to marry Kate Hudson. 5 stars
2/28/02 melissa if your into the 70 era, its your your movie. Its awesome 5 stars
2/20/02 luda hoe good script 4 stars
2/09/02 Veronica Tatterworth Almost aimless would be more like it. And the point is? 2 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden Boring and Unlikeable Rock-Movie. Maybe This Would Have Been Better In 1972. 1 stars
1/13/02 Flick Chick did we all see the same movie???? 1 stars
12/16/01 Fred Emmer fabulous and touching story that sinks into your skin 5 stars
12/03/01 Peter Reilich The Spinal Tap of rock music critics, without trying to be funny = double satire 1 stars
10/14/01 gus nice 5 stars
10/07/01 Tzila Seewald it's great and make me move somewhat 5 stars
10/04/01 daniboy best 2000 film by far 5 stars
9/13/01 Donelle Bourne I loved the movie!! 5 stars
9/04/01 Revster.Jeffster a really sweet film- drags a little here and there 4 stars
9/01/01 john cramer limp, insipid, bad original music, wasted talent...waste of time 1 stars
7/07/01 John Lyons Loved it. Really impressed with Kate Hudson! 5 stars
6/22/01 Josh Tybur One of those movies that makes you feel better about life.... 5 stars
6/18/01 Shuttle Doc If you grew up then, and this doesn't grab you...your dead inside. Simply awsome 5 stars
6/12/01 il siciliano thet'n nice film writing 5 stars
6/10/01 Phil M. Afficianado Watch this and a warm feeling should come over you. If not, get a checkup for cynicism. 5 stars
6/03/01 R.W. Welch Not heavyweight stuff, but nicely done and effectively written. 4 stars
5/29/01 Jake Frances does it again. 5 stars
5/20/01 BillP brilliant script and Kate Hudson's sweet smile carry a very fine movie. 5 stars
5/10/01 J Good movie but FAR from being 2000's best. 4 stars
5/05/01 Gariess Excellent, Almost lost me at the start. Took a little too long to get going. 4 stars
4/25/01 bombshell it was one the greatest movies i have seen 5 stars
4/17/01 Brian Good Film, Awesome Music 4 stars
4/09/01 Girl 9 Just could have been done so much better. 3 stars
4/01/01 gellybean182 I loved it... it's so real 5 stars
3/26/01 LadyZoe WOW - the soundtrack rocks! Tthe movie is funny, sad & painfully truthful re road life.. 5 stars
3/19/01 Monday Morning Almost great...very good slice of the 70s w/ terrific characters. 4 stars
3/14/01 TheRock Anyone who doesn't like this film is crazy 5 stars
3/14/01 Onyx Almost enjoyable. Doesn't seem to be going anywhere. 3 stars
3/03/01 Suzz loved it 5 stars
3/03/01 Donna Sindle I watched it FOUR times! I absolutely loved it! 5 stars
3/01/01 viking The most enjoyable rock film since "Still Crazy" 5 stars
2/23/01 matthew smith a very funny and nostaglic film 5 stars
2/20/01 Rich My personal favorite for 2000. An honest movie with a great story. 5 stars
2/19/01 Nick Berger cheesy shit...nothin i didnt expect though...cameron crowe sucks 2 stars
2/14/01 Michael Nicholls Almost good... 3 stars
2/14/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Sometimes...very rarely, but sometimes...it pays to believe the hype. 5 stars
1/21/01 Evan Price one of my favorite films EVER crowe's best work... magical 5 stars
1/10/01 Matt69 Definetly one of the best films of the year with great supporting performances all around. 5 stars
12/30/00 kevin Pretty good movie, it inspired me. Pretty real, the mom was good B+ 4 stars
12/08/00 Marya Perfect! 5 stars
12/07/00 ashley uh........IT ROCKED! 5 stars
12/02/00 scott wahls my only complaint is that it WASN'T four hours long, thank you GOD, um, MR.CROWE 5 stars
11/23/00 shawk Superior 5 stars
11/20/00 The Bill Head Along with Gladiator, this is one of the best movies of the year! 4 stars
11/10/00 spork-girl anyone who says this sucks is just heartless hellspawn 5 stars
10/30/00 kyle Over-rated. More Jerry Maquire than Singles. And what the fuck was that tiny dancer scene? 3 stars
10/25/00 Marc the most amazing film ever made 5 stars
10/22/00 Dan If you are a horney 15 year old you should like this crappy flick 1 stars
10/21/00 lindsey This was an excellent movie! 5 stars
10/20/00 Benji Graham Greatest fucking movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
10/15/00 monumentl sweet and tender, accurate and astringent...fabulous! 5 stars
10/10/00 PJ Beautiful perfromances, beautiful movie, I cried. 5 stars
10/09/00 Natasha I smile just thinking about how much I love this movie... 5 stars
10/09/00 Jay Excellent Bildungsroman, partially because it allows us to see more than 1 character grow 5 stars
10/09/00 TheBomb69 Awesome baby!!! 5 stars
10/06/00 Bob True beauty! Excellent! Hold me closer tiny dancer.... 5 stars
10/04/00 Bonnie This the absolute best movie of the year so far and it's totally hilarious. 5 stars
10/03/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble I lived through the '70's. Life was never this good, Believe me!!!! 1 stars
10/02/00 Marc A beautiful film that came straight from the heart! Kate Hudson will get Supporting Actress 5 stars
10/02/00 Alyssa After reading Erik the Movieman's coments, I could not agree more. It was wonderful!!! 5 stars
10/01/00 Image previous looked wacked..but when i saw the movie...it wuz juss PHUCKEN GREAT!!!! 5 stars
10/01/00 pigri i am in love with this movie. the "child-meets-world" theme is beautiful! 5 stars
9/25/00 Reeves Wow 5 stars
9/24/00 PJ Beautiful movie, Crudup, Lee, McDormand, Fugit, and Hudson shine, a classic, I fell in love 5 stars
9/24/00 Thor-Leo Best movie I've seen in months. Engaging, affecting, hilarious. 5 stars
9/23/00 The Rock A movie that is great in most areas. 5 stars
9/23/00 Chartsy Can it get any better than this? There's absolutely no way! 5 stars
9/23/00 Will Great acting all around, that was pretty great. 5 stars
9/23/00 Politicsman Cameron Crowe: Best Original Screenplay 5 stars
9/23/00 McSkeeter glorious 5 stars
9/23/00 Jenny-My-Fur this movie is incredible, a new classic is born 5 stars
9/22/00 Suzz great script; great performances 5 stars
9/18/00 Poetcdh Great Characters and music 5 stars
9/17/00 Michael Grimm Paul is a fucking moron, this movie rocks 5 stars
9/17/00 Paul If you are a moron then this movie is for you! 1 stars
9/17/00 Schlong Great all around. Crowe is incredible 5 stars
9/16/00 The Bomb 69 Crowe could not make a bad movie if he tried, worked on all levels 5 stars
9/15/00 Zeppelin Best movie of the year, so transcendantly uplifting & provoking. Kudos to Hudson & Crudup 5 stars
9/15/00 Justine Briggs Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit are going to major stars after this movie. Its fantastic. 5 stars
9/10/00 frank i'm speechless. CAMERON CROWE is the fuckin man. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  22-Sep-2000 (R)
  DVD: 04-Dec-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Feb-2001 (M)




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast