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Overall Rating
4.26

Awesome59.83%
Worth A Look: 20.92%
Average: 10.88%
Pretty Bad: 2.51%
Total Crap: 5.86%

15 reviews, 149 user ratings


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Almost Famous
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Almost my story."
5 stars

The weirdest thing about Almost Famous is that it’s almost my story. The main protagonist, William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a San Diego native, 15-years-old, with rock ‘n roll on his mind circa 1969-1973. (The music and references range from The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Sunny & Cher, etc.) I’m a San Diego native, granted, several decades later, but with film on my mind, circa 1994-2000 (and growing).

At age 15, he begins to write as a rock critic for Creem Magazine, making friends with first-rate critic Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman). When I was 15, I began writing as the movie critic for the now defunct The Daily Californian as well as The Star-News, making friends with San Diego’s first-rate movie critics Duncan Shepherd (The Reader). But as both of our budding careers took off, his got better; along the way Rolling Stone picks him up to do a story on Stillwater (a fictional band), and go on tour with them.

William is forewarned by Lester not to befriend the group for fear of losing his integrity as a writer (Stillwater tells him to, “just make us look cool”) and avoid their offerings as swill merchants (a code of honor all writers must uphold!). Lead singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) often refers to journalists as a
group’s worst enemy. Also blaring down on William is his mother, played by Frances McDormand, who warns him not to do drugs, and as a little kid quizzes him on the qualities that made Atticus Finch a good father. (To her, Simon and Garfunkel is “Poetry of drugs and promiscuous sex.”). All that William wants to do is have a little fun, be accepted (he suffers from the “out-crowd” syndrome) and turn in a great piece. Most of all though, as time shows, he’s in love with Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a “Band-Aid,” (they’re not groupies because they don't have sex with the musicians — “Just blow-jobs”) as she says, “We inspire the music.” (Get it? They aid the bands.) However, the group trusts William because he’s not just a critic, but a fan as well. While he’s getting the insider info, his only problem is competition for Penny, who’s too busy “inspiring” lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) to notice his crush.

The film takes off like a jet on fire, and flies without the slightest bit of turbulence (even though there is a hilarious turbulent plane flight during the movie). As a journalist, I understand the advice Bangs gives him about artistic integrity and getting used for (free) publicity. Crowe, who last directed Jerry Maguire, and was the hailed author of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (taking care of scriptwriting duties, too), has always included a lot of realism in his work. For it’s time, Fast Times was a lot less superficial than most teen-age movies. And Jerry Maguire, maybe a little fanciful, was still about following your heart. Almost Famous is still yet even better — Crowe’s best work to date. The whole key to getting the most out of this film is to know that despite the fictionalized names, all these events and occurrences are true. William Miller is just a fictional representation of Cameron Crowe himself. It’s like an ultimate fantasy, but it’ true! (Hyperboles and embellishments taken into consideration.) The story flows like a dream or desire — the one thing you want to go after most is always on the move; you don’t quite capture it until the end. So it is not really Miller who I’m like, but in fact Crowe. (No question about it, his story and experiences are much better, and it isn’t anything for me to pout about.)

Hoffman, with his laid-back charm, or je ne sais quoi, is just the Sultan of Cool. I hear he’s a good reincarnation of the real deal. The other source of natural coolness comes from newcomer Fugit, who handles the role with a boyish charm and adroitly inherits the Crowe persona into his own. Hudson, who I noticed but brushed off in 200 Cigarettes and Gossip, really shines and sparkles here. She brings a breezy charisma to the role and shimmers in it. (Check her out in Desert Blue as well.)

I’m willing to bet Almost Famous will be a major Oscar contender, with Crowe undoubtedly recognized for his work. I’d like to believe he has got a real good chance; it’s an audience pleaser, but without the need compromise the story in order to attain that status. Describable as a fun-for-all show-and-tell, as the movie proceeds, you’re with them on this trip as a silent participant, and it’s a blast! What more could you want?

With Bijou Phillips, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Zooey Descanel, Noah Taylor and Terry Chen.

[Masterpiece.]

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3454&reviewer=172
originally posted: 10/18/00 09:52:54
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell boring as fuck i hate this movie 1 stars
1/11/13 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
3/31/12 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
8/11/10 art a GRAND 1970's HIPPIE MOVIE! 4 stars
8/06/10 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
7/04/07 fools♫gold I give you up, mb: your totally personal life I know little of seems empty. 5 stars
3/18/07 mb Gave It Up After 37 min. ... seemed empty 2 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini very good 5 stars
10/24/06 Jess loved it! all the performances are wonderful! 5 stars
4/24/06 Annie Made me remember being a teen of the 70's! Oops, telling my age here! 5 stars
4/02/06 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
8/20/05 ES If you dream of bing a rock groupie this is your film 1 stars
8/05/05 ^podo incredible.... 5 stars
5/22/05 Chlo ...don't you mean the 70s, cris? 4 stars
5/05/05 Cindy Lovell I loved it, Jason Lee was awesome 5 stars
3/14/05 cris i will always love this movie! for 2 h, i live in the 60s 5 stars
2/28/05 Lorrin Great movie, not once did I want to turn it off 5 stars
2/14/05 sbpat21 a modern classic; masterpiece 5 stars
2/07/05 Desperado Touching,amazing, brilliant coming of age story that makes me want to grow up in that era 5 stars
12/17/04 sully no sex,no drugs,no rock&roll,dumbed down after school special 1 stars
12/09/04 Joshua Hitchens Amazing 5 stars
9/17/04 Jacqui Ambler Touching, but never a cliche, complex but never full of its own edginess. 5 stars
9/15/04 anna wicked 5 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva where is the story 2 stars
5/23/04 muffin cool film! 5 stars
5/13/04 This girl A solid three star movie from the always good but never earth-shattering Cameron Crowe 3 stars
5/02/04 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
4/05/04 Charlene Javier Another Crowe classic! 5 stars
12/15/03 Christia Bjørnskov One of my all-time favourites...everything rings true. 5 stars
10/31/03 Veronica Lodge One of my top faves... this movie is absolutely beautiful, nostalgic, and poetic 5 stars
10/17/03 sarah i h8 it, it really sux 1 stars
10/10/03 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
6/04/03 Charles Tatum A perfect film 5 stars
3/24/03 Winthrop J Applesmythe III damn fucking good. this is in my top 15 of all time. 5 stars
1/17/03 y2mckay FEVER DAWG, SCRATCHIN' AT MY BACK DOOR . . . Jason Lee rox, Kate Hudson quite droolworthy 4 stars
12/03/02 Monster W. Kung Entertaining and interesting, but not a masterpiece. Doesn't try to go deep enough. 4 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted One of the Bests of 2000. Billy Crudup delivers an amazing perf. 5 stars
10/27/02 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
9/15/02 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
8/08/02 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
7/21/02 Sofia just a really great movie, from beginning to end. 5 stars
7/15/02 Dan Rapp A great film that captures the feel of the early-mid seventies. 5 stars
7/08/02 Mr. Punch If you don't smile during the entire movie, then it's time to order your gravestone. 5 stars
6/23/02 The Conscience Objector simply put:crowes greatest 5 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi sweet!!! 5 stars
6/02/02 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
5/27/02 Nicole Great movie.....gotta love the end 4 stars
4/30/02 katie my favorite movie. loved everything about it! 5 stars
3/16/02 Sara Goldfarb's Red Dress 'Tiny Dancer' sing-along a great movie moment..rest was kinda shite 4 stars
3/08/02 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
3/02/02 Alan Smithee A most excellent film (especially the director's cut)...and I want to marry Kate Hudson. 5 stars
3/01/02 melissa if your into the 70 era, its your your movie. Its awesome 5 stars
2/21/02 luda hoe good script 4 stars
2/09/02 Veronica Tatterworth Almost aimless would be more like it. And the point is? 2 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden Boring and Unlikeable Rock-Movie. Maybe This Would Have Been Better In 1972. 1 stars
1/14/02 Flick Chick did we all see the same movie???? 1 stars
12/17/01 Fred Emmer fabulous and touching story that sinks into your skin 5 stars
12/04/01 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
10/08/01 Tzila Seewald it's great and make me move somewhat 5 stars
10/04/01 daniboy best 2000 film by far 5 stars
9/14/01 Donelle Bourne I loved the movie!! 5 stars
9/05/01 Revster.Jeffster a really sweet film- drags a little here and there 4 stars
9/02/01 john cramer limp, insipid, bad original music, wasted talent...waste of time 1 stars
7/08/01 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
6/13/01 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
5/30/01 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
5/11/01 J Good movie but FAR from being 2000's best. 4 stars
5/06/01 Gariess Excellent, Almost lost me at the start. Took a little too long to get going. 4 stars
4/26/01 bombshell it was one the greatest movies i have seen 5 stars
4/18/01 Brian Good Film, Awesome Music 4 stars
4/09/01 Girl 9 Just could have been done so much better. 3 stars
4/02/01 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
3/20/01 Monday Morning Almost great...very good slice of the 70s w/ terrific characters. 4 stars
3/15/01 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
3/04/01 Suzz loved it 5 stars
3/04/01 Donna Sindle I watched it FOUR times! I absolutely loved it! 5 stars
3/02/01 viking The most enjoyable rock film since "Still Crazy" 5 stars
2/24/01 matthew smith a very funny and nostaglic film 5 stars
2/21/01 Rich My personal favorite for 2000. An honest movie with a great story. 5 stars
2/20/01 Nick Berger cheesy shit...nothin i didnt expect though...cameron crowe sucks 2 stars
2/15/01 Michael Nicholls Almost good... 3 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Sometimes...very rarely, but sometimes...it pays to believe the hype. 5 stars
1/22/01 Evan Price one of my favorite films EVER crowe's best work... magical 5 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 Definetly one of the best films of the year with great supporting performances all around. 5 stars
12/31/00 kevin Pretty good movie, it inspired me. Pretty real, the mom was good B+ 4 stars
12/09/00 Marya Perfect! 5 stars
12/08/00 ashley uh........IT ROCKED! 5 stars
12/03/00 scott wahls my only complaint is that it WASN'T four hours long, thank you GOD, um, MR.CROWE 5 stars
11/24/00 shawk Superior 5 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head Along with Gladiator, this is one of the best movies of the year! 4 stars
11/11/00 spork-girl anyone who says this sucks is just heartless hellspawn 5 stars
10/31/00 kyle Over-rated. More Jerry Maquire than Singles. And what the fuck was that tiny dancer scene? 3 stars
10/26/00 Marc the most amazing film ever made 5 stars
10/23/00 Dan If you are a horney 15 year old you should like this crappy flick 1 stars
10/22/00 lindsey This was an excellent movie! 5 stars
10/21/00 Benji Graham Greatest fucking movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
10/16/00 monumentl sweet and tender, accurate and astringent...fabulous! 5 stars
10/10/00 PJ Beautiful perfromances, beautiful movie, I cried. 5 stars
10/10/00 Natasha I smile just thinking about how much I love this movie... 5 stars
10/10/00 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
10/07/00 Bob True beauty! Excellent! Hold me closer tiny dancer.... 5 stars
10/05/00 Bonnie This the absolute best movie of the year so far and it's totally hilarious. 5 stars
10/04/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble I lived through the '70's. Life was never this good, Believe me!!!! 1 stars
10/03/00 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
10/02/00 Image previous looked wacked..but when i saw the movie...it wuz juss PHUCKEN GREAT!!!! 5 stars
10/02/00 pigri i am in love with this movie. the "child-meets-world" theme is beautiful! 5 stars
9/25/00 Reeves Wow 5 stars
9/25/00 PJ Beautiful movie, Crudup, Lee, McDormand, Fugit, and Hudson shine, a classic, I fell in love 5 stars
9/25/00 Thor-Leo Best movie I've seen in months. Engaging, affecting, hilarious. 5 stars
9/24/00 The Rock A movie that is great in most areas. 5 stars
9/24/00 Chartsy Can it get any better than this? There's absolutely no way! 5 stars
9/24/00 Will Great acting all around, that was pretty great. 5 stars
9/24/00 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
9/23/00 Suzz great script; great performances 5 stars
9/19/00 Poetcdh Great Characters and music 5 stars
9/18/00 Michael Grimm Paul is a fucking moron, this movie rocks 5 stars
9/18/00 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
9/17/00 The Bomb 69 Crowe could not make a bad movie if he tried, worked on all levels 5 stars
9/16/00 Zeppelin Best movie of the year, so transcendantly uplifting & provoking. Kudos to Hudson & Crudup 5 stars
9/16/00 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!
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USA
  22-Sep-2000 (R)
  DVD: 04-Dec-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Feb-2001 (M)




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