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15 reviews, 149 user ratings

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Almost Famous
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by Jason Whyte

"Please don't give him any more acid....thank you."
5 stars

The 1970's are a decade I wish I lived in. The parties, the attitude. But more importantly, the freedom. Sure, responsibility was few and far between in that decade, but the 70's represents the cultural freedom of not just the people, but the artists as well: great movies were plentiful (until "Star Wars" changed everything) and the creative forces of music, as caught masterfully in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," was coming out in full force.

I think "Almost Famous" is a film to celebrate, a movie that gets the feel of the 1970's as authentic as possible, while still being funny, honest and heartbreaking, AND maintaining a rich, epic feel to it. I certainly want to see more films where it is clearly evident where the director knows his material, trusts his material, and uses his material and doesn't abuse it.

The story begins with William Miller (a wonderful Patrick Fugit), who is a young, budding writer who sends his school-paper news articles to journalists and writers, and even the expert tutilage of "Creem" magazine (Philip Seymour Hoffman). When William works his way to a concert, he gets an "in" with the opening act, Stillwater. This attracts the attention of Rolling Stone magazine (then a small office in San Fransisco that published onto newsprint rather than magazine stock today), who pursue William to go along with the band and get a full report on their status.

When William begins his journey, so does the audience. While the film's story is always moving, Crowe wisely focuses on character interaction and how people speak to one another. It's nearly Altmanesque how beautifully Cameron's wordplay is. With Patrick, we discover the entire life of a travelling rock concert, with the band-aid's (or groupies), girls who are along for the ride for sex and a good time, the spirit of the backstage, the feel of the bus trips (they're so obsessed with the Almost Famous - Tour 73 bus that they laugh at the thought of taking a plane), and the fights and relationships that come out of it.

In particular, William's relationship with the main guitarist (Billy Crudup) and the groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) take the story on an interesting journey of a writer's relationship with the artists he is going to write about later. William is told not to get personally involved with the performers, but the life of the party wins him over, and the confusion and pubescence of his 15 year old self doesn't help either.

The young William is loosely based on the real Cameron Crowe, who was a young writer for Rolling Stone. He wrote several articles, toured with bands, went to post-secondary school, then went a whole year underground to a school to write the book that would later become the film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"...Crowe later went on to do the wonderful "Say Anything" (still the best teenage romance film ever made that is not Romeo and Juliet), "Singles" and "Jerry Maguire", all great films. One of Crowe's greatest gifts is his attention to human emotion and to character, and to make everyone in his film interesting with a certain degree of reality, and yet have them all be a little odd and goofy at times as well. Just how human emotion should be. And like all his other films, he makes three-dimensional characters out of the supporting roles as well. (The "It's Bowie!" guy is one of my favorites.)

Patrick Fugit, in his first film role, is so wonderful as William, a performance that blends all aspects of childhood innocence, confusion, shyness and coming-of-age angst, and Fugit brings all of this across. Billy Crudup is a standout as a guitarist who strikes up a relationship with William, and his best scenes are where he recognizes the true horrors of where he has gotten (watch the reaction on his face in the scene where he is on the phone with William's mother). Frances McDormand, as William's mother, is the exact kind of afraid 1970's mother that fears for her children, and everything artistically is altogether bad for them (Simon and Garfunkel, according to her, appear stoned on pot on one of their LP covers). And the rest of the supporting cast, including Jason Lee, Anna Paquin, Noah Taylor, Zooey Deschanel, Fariuza Balk and others are wonderful, proof that Cameron loves his characters and knows how to show them.

However, there is one, brilliant performance that I will never forget: Kate Hudson as Penny Lane. She gives one of these "Where the heck did she come from?" kinds of performances. Before this, I had never seen her in a film (though she has been in a few, like "Gossip", "Desert Blue" and "200 Cigarettes"), and here she is the amazing soul of the film, with the wild, free spirit that joins the groupies to give her a place in the world, since she probably doesn't have any. Hudson owns the scenes she is in, Cameron Crowe saidin many interviews that Penny Lane is based on a real character. I believe him.

Films like "Almost Famous" don't come out often, but neither do Cameron Crowe films. He seems to go away for a three-four years (a typical director would have one movie every two years), write a script, do other work, then come back in full force with a new film that bleeds with his own view on life and people. They say movies can change your life if done well, and "Almost Famous" is certainly one of them.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=3454&reviewer=350
originally posted: 04/01/04 13:19:37
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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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