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Finally, a movie worth the full price of a ticket! Almost Famous is
Cameron Crowe's semi-autobigraphical story of an aspiring rock
journalist who goes on tour with a band in the 1970's. If it sounds
familiar, it's probably because the story is hardly new. There have
been dozens of movies made about the rock and roll lifestyle: the
drugs, the sex, the fights, and all the bumps on the road to success.
So what sets Almost Famous apart? The acting, for one. Frances
McDormand was brilliant as William's (newcomer Patrick Fugit)
well-meaning but overbearing mother. Fugit, for his part, had a
convincing performance as the shy, awkward teenager struggling to be a
journalist but at the same time aching to belong. Kate Hudson, in her
breakout role as groupie "Penny Lane", gave her character depth beyond
what might have been a limiting role. And Billy Crudup, as band
Stillwater's charismatic lead guitarist, shines. Jason Lee is always
good, and as Stillwater's lead singer, this role is no exception. And I
can't review this film without giving a shout-out to the chronically
and criminally-underrated Philip Seymour Hoffman, who steals every
scene he's in with his portrayal of legendary rock journalist Lester
The writing in the film also contributes to its effect. Many of the
great lines belong to McDormand but there are plenty of others to go
around. In addition, the music of the era can't be beat. Everything
from Simon and Garfunkle to Alvin and the Chipmunks shows up at some
point in the movie's extensive musical score.
The plot may not be particularly original, but it rings true. I of
course am approaching this review as a music fan and someone interested
in the industry. Nonetheless, I believe that even people who couldn't
care less about rock music will enjoy this movie, since it's not so
much about the music as it is about life. A central theme is the
conflict of William: Should he remain a detached but lonely outsider so
as to be an impartial journalist, or allow himself to make friends with
these people and feel like he belongs? Aside from bringing up questions
of journalistic ethics, this dilemma mirrors much of what people in all
wakes of life deal with daily.
Almost Famous is realistic, funny, touching, and one of those rare
movies that makes you feel like you've gained something just for having
seen it. It's too bad that they say rock and roll is dead, cause we
could sure use more movies like this one!
Tags for Almost Famous Full Movie
, Frances McDormand
, Jason Lee
, Kate Hudson
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