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Worth A Look: 20.92%
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15 reviews, 149 user ratings

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Almost Famous
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by EricDSnider

"Almost perfect."
4 stars

Say whatever you want about "Jerry Maguire," the last film directed by Cameron Crowe before his new "Almost Famous." As far as I'm concerned, it's "Say Anything" -- that brilliantly funny, poignant and important "teen film" (though it defied that genre) from the '80s -- that made Crowe virtually infallible.

"Almost Famous," in fact, is almost perfect. Semi-autobiographical, it begins in San Diego in 1969, when overprotective single mom Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand, off-kilter and funny as always) has finally caused teen daughter Anita (Zooey Deschanel) to move out. The issue? Rock music. (It's all about drugs, you know.)

When Anita leaves, she tells her little brother William where her LPs are. He starts listening, and it changes his life forever....

Fast-forward to 1973. William (Patrick Fugit) is a would-be writer and a completely non-cool 15-year-old. Ambitious, though, he sends clips from his high-school paper to various rock 'n' roll-oriented publications. Creem editor Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gives him a chance, but warns him about big-time magazines like Rolling Stone, where they'll tear his words up and force him to be a hard-hitting journalist. Also, he warns, don't get too attached to the bands you cover. If you like 'em too much, you won't be honest in your writing.

William tries oh-so-hard to take this advice to heart, but soon he's on assignment for Rolling Stone and -- in a turn of events that's almost TOO surreal, except that it's true -- touring with Black Sabbath opening act Stillwater (a fictitious band, though a group by that name did exist in the late '70s). He grows to love this group, particularly lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), who is carrying on with lead groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), who doesn't realize -- or doesn't care -- that she's just being used.

Can William write an insightful, non-fluffy piece about a group of people he loves so much? They trust him to paint a pretty picture of the band, and therefore aren't afraid to have their fights and drug-induced stupors in front of him.

This is not a movie about journalistic integrity, though. Obviously crafted with a great deal of love, from the hand-written opening credits to the last musical note, Crowe's story is about music, doing what you love, family, loyalty and self-worth. The humor in it comes naturally, with no set-ups or punchlines; just the regular flow of comedy that comes from real life. (Well, OK, there is the outrageous scene of a woman having her stomach pumped while Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" plays.)

McDormand is fantastic as the worried mom, making her utterly realistic -- no easy feat, considering how over-the-top she is in her overprotection. Hudson is no less remarkable as the world's biggest groupie, a heart-breaking character who gives the film it's wistful poignancy (a common feeling in Crowe films).

New-comer Patrick Fugit is impressive, too, as William. His struggles are real, and not just in trying to meet a deadline when the band is too giddy to sit down long enough to be interviewed. Here's a kid away from home, doing what he loves but not loving what he's doing, wondering if it's all worth it, doubting his abilities -- who hasn't felt that way at some point? Fugit acts better than many of his peers twice his age, playing a demanding role with just the right mixture of awkwardness, enthusiasm and humor.

Crowe expertly avoids the pitfall of many "labor of love" projects, where the finished product is only interesting to the guy who made it. The film may not resonate with everyone -- there is a strong emphasis on rock 'n' roll, with little attempt to universalize it -- but it will surely strike a chord of nostalgia with any open-hearted viewer, particularly those who have learned that "family" can be the people you're born with as well as the people you meet.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3454&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/29/03 21:00:45
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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
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  22-Sep-2000 (R)
  DVD: 04-Dec-2001


  22-Feb-2001 (M)

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