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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
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Collin Souter

"Right-On Perfect"
5 stars

A few minutes into Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, a young boy in 1973 opens a gift from his sister, a collection of classic vinyl rock and roll albums. He thumbs through them and finds The Who’s “Tommy,” Led Zepplin II, and “The Jimmi Hendrix Experience,” must-have’s for any serious music collector. His view of the world changes from that moment on, and it reminded me of when I first heard The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” way back in 1977. I can’t recall a movie ever capturing the magic of that moment the way this film did.

In fact, I can count the number of movies on my left hand that made me feel the way this film did throughout its entire 120 minutes. Nothing feels false or forced in Crowe’s film. Every sentiment has been earned and every pay-off comes out of left field. I don’t care if this sounds overly sentimental, but the movie filled my heart with the kind of joy I felt the first time I fell in love. How many movies can you say that about?

The story sounds like one of those too-good-to-be-true Hollywood fairy tales, but Crowe himself lived much of this film. It tells the story of a child prodigy named William Miller, a rock music devotee who knows more about rock music at 14 then Greg Kot or Jim Derogotis knows right now. After winning the attention of the infamous rock critic Lester Bangs, young William embarks on an assignment from Bangs to do a story on Black Sabbath for Creem magazine. Instead, William ends up meeting the opening act, Stillwater—a cross between Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and Allman brothers Band--and ends up breaking the cardinal rule of rock journalism: Never become friends with the band.

William’s artricle grabs the attention of Rolling Stone magazine. They recruit William after one phone call to cover the entire Stillwater tour. Now, most mistaken identity movies have that one unbelievable turning point in the first act where the writers and filmmakers try and force you to believe that the person being lied to believes the lie. It rarely works, but here, in one of the film’s funniest scenes, it works, and so we believe everything else thereafter.

William’s odyssey with the band takes him where most other coming of age movies go--first love, loss of virginity, the first questioning of one’s values--but here every scene feels like an event, and every event feels truthful. No scene in this film exists as merely a transitional scene. Crowe doesn’t cut until he has either made you laugh, cry, think or reminisce about your own coming of age, or what song moves you.

The movie also has a lot of heartbreak. William not only falls in love with being associated with an up-and-coming rock band, he also falls in love with one of its most prominent groupies (sorry, Band-aids), Penny Lane, played by Kate Hudson, a girl who may or may not be William’s age. In one of the film’s most bewitching moments, Penny moves her hands through William’s hair, casts him under her spell for a few seconds, smiles deeply and says: “Now, you’re mysterious!” What guy at that age wouldn’t fall in love with that? If only she and the lead guitarist, Russell (Billy Crudup), didn’t have a thing together.

The cast couldn’t be better. Billy Crudup, himself an up-and-comer, keeps us guessing about his character. We always think we know where Russell will end up, as we watch his ego get too big for his britches, his self-indulgent drug abuse and his fights with the band. Yet, we can tell he possesses the ability to redeem himself at any given moment, and we root for him to do so. Kate Hudson plays the troubled and beautiful Penny Lane so convincingly that we actually believe the improbable conclusion her character comes to at the end. Had Phillip Seymour Hoffman received more screen time as the all-knowing all-seeing Lester Bangs, he would be a sure bet for an Oscar nomination. On the other hand, Frances McDormand could win another Oscar for her portrayal as William’s mother, the kind of mother we would love to have, but would also fear the most. She refuses to end a phonecall with her son without saying, “I love you. Don’t do drugs!”

However, the award for Discovery of the Year should go to Patrick Fugit, who plays William. His performance puts him in the same league as Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate and Bud Cort in Harold and Maude. A little stoic, yet charming. Right in his element, yet in over his head.

I’m always picky about how filmmakers use music in their movies, especially nowadays where we have compilation rock soundtracks that have nothing to do with the movie itself. (Beware any CD that says “Music from or Inspired by…”) But Crowe, like Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson, knows exactly how to do it. One beautiful moment occurs after Stillwater learns that their new manager will show them how to make more money and be better businessmen, rather then just better artists. The scene serves to illustrate when rock stopped being an art and started being a product of big business. Crowe cuts from that scene to a shot of Penny Lane dancing by herself in a ballroom to Cat Stevens’ “The Wind.”

Last year turned out to be a great year for concert films (Radiohead’s hypnotic Meeting People Is Easy, Jonathan Demme’s Robyn Hitchcock opus Storefront Hitchcock, the re-release of Demme’s Talking Heads masterpiece Stop Making Sense and Wim Wenders’ The Buena Vista Social Club), and this year turns out to be a great year for music enthusiasts. Almost Famous, oddly enough, came out the same week as the re-released mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap and the video release of the other valentine to vinyl, High Fidelity, starring John Cusack. Go see Almost Famous, then rent [i
High Fidelity. One could argue that had William never toured with Stillwater, he might have turned out like Cusack’s lovesick character. Both films beautifully illustrate the important role music plays in our personal lives.

We all have a song we connect with. We all have a band we would love to meet. And we all have a first love, or first crush, who opened us up to the greater possibilities of life. And for some of us, that first love turned out to be a record album…on vinyl.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3454&reviewer=233
originally posted: 02/18/01 19:16:51
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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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