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Almost Famous

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Almost Famous

Starring: Billy Crudup, Jason Lee
Director: Cameron Crowe
Rated: R
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: September 2000
Genres: Drama, Music




Review by Chatterbox
4 stars out of 4

Cameron Crowe (wrote the screenplay for "Fast Times At Ridgemont High" as well as wrote & directed another great rock n roll movie "Singles") wrote & directed this flick & he knows rock n roll. He wrote articles for Creem Magazine (I used to love that rag), Playboy, Penthouse & Rolling Stone. At 15 years old he was interviewing bands as big as Led Zep for the magazines. That's what "Almost Famous" is centered around...a 15 year old boy who gets a job writing a story for Rolling Stone. He travels with a fictional band called "Stillwater" (they are the most believable bunch of actors portraying a band I've EVER seen). Billy Crudup (he's gonna be huge) is amazing as the bands lead guitarist. The story is mostly about the kid & his adventures with the band & his struggles as a journalist (should he get as close to the band as he is? will it effect his writing?) & his relationship with the Crudup character Russell Hammond, as well as your regular coming of age stuff that's such a common movie subject...But there are several other great substories...one about internal turmoil within the band....most all bands have this problem where one guy is the brains behind the band & carries the others along & it causes a lot of friction (Think Billy Corgan from the smashing pumpkins & his ego..he's a dick but the music really is all him). Another story is about the kids mom (Frances McDormand)..she tries to be a good mom & underneath her ignorance & plain old fear of rock music she's actually pretty wise....There's also some great stuff about groupie's VS. band aids (band aids are like groupies...only they are real fans who have real love for the music & aren't just sluts). Penny Lane (Kate Hudson..who I am now in love with..also daughter of Goldie Hawn) is also a main character who has a thing for Russell & also helps the kid who's new to this sex & drugs on the road lifestyle get in with the crowd. Philip Seymour Hoffman (has he ever given a bad performance? I don't think so) is great again as the real life editor of Creem magazine Lester Bangs. I read the mag like crazy from when I was like 9 till I was 16 then I think they called it quits (that was the end of real rock anyway)...read about all things rock n roll that could warp the mind of a kid from a small town in Illinois...so I found Lester interesting...he took it seriously & had a real life impact on me.

Back to the movie....He is honest to the kid & gives him great advice... "Don't become friends with the bands..they will make you feel cool to get good press & believe me kid...your not cool". There's still a lot more to the movie & it's also really funny but I'll stay brief (for me). The soundtrack is great. The songs Stillwater plays were written by Crowe & his wife Nancy Wilson from Heart. I hope this movie gets popular if anything just to influence the kids & media that see it & show them how great some of that classic rock was. I'm sick of rap & soul being a background to everything on TV. Yeah, you could argue bands like The Who selling out & being used in a Nissan truck commercial but thats another story....in 1973 (when the movie takes place) we didn't have video's & all the other media selling the bands as a product. The music had to be good... Everything I knew about the bands & the music I grew up with came from Creem magazines & convincing my mom to buy me rock records from yard sales based on what I read. Just go see it....I'll see it again & look at it to enjoy it's technical accomplishments like the great editing & camera work. It struck emotions in me but it's a movie that anyone who likes music (or movies) can relate to. It just reached #1 on my list of favorites so far this year. And hey those of you who don't quite get as excited about music as I do...remember Crowe was also the guy who brought you Jerry Maguire.

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