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Almost Famous

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Almost Famous

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

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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

Cameron Crowe's first film since "Jerry Maguire" is so engaging, entertaining and authentic that it's destined to become a rock-era classic. Set in 1973, this slightly fictionalized, semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age story revolves around a baby-faced 15 year-old (Patrick Fugit) prodigy whose intelligence and enthusiasm land him an assignment from "Rolling Stone" magazine to interview Stillwater, an up-and-coming band. With the help of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a bewitching "Band-Aid," he meets the charismatic lead guitarist (Billy Crudup) who invites him to join the tour, much to the dismay of his mother (Frances McDormand) who relentlessly repeats, "Don't do drugs!" Soon he's part of the inner circle of the band he idolizes, disregarding the caution of his rock critic mentor (Philip Seymour Hoffman): "Friendship is the booze they feed you to make you feel cool." Eventually, of course, the rookie reporter becomes disillusioned, honest and unmerciful. What's so compelling is Crowe's infallible casting which doesn't have a single discordant note. Patrick Fugit embodies innocent bewilderment, revealing one layer of surprise after another. Billy Crudup is dynamite, a superstar waiting to happen. Kate Hudson (Goldie Hawn's real-life daughter) gives a captivating, flamboyant yet hauntingly poignant performance. Frances McDormand is bracingly funny, playing with perfect pitch. Philip Seymour Hoffman is mesmerizing, exploding like a land mine. Finally, Crowe, cinematographer John Toll, art directors Clay A. Griffith & Clayton Hartley, and costume designer Betsy Heimann cleverly capture the sense of time and place. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Almost Famous" is a soaring, spirited 10. I loved it! I haven't had such a good time at the movies in ages.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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