Almost Famous

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for language and drug content)

Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Written by: Cameron Crowe
Produced by: Cameron Crowe and Ian Bryce
Starring: Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures

Rock music has been completely embedded into our culture and it will be remembered long after all of the boy bands have swept off of the earth. The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin's music are listened by every generation and everyone knows who they are. Murials are painted about them, books are written about them and new edition CDs keep getting released each year. Is there no surprise that their work keeps getting downloaded and downloaded by teenagers almost everyday. Back in the 1970's, Cameron Crowe (the director and writer of Jerry Maguire and Vanilla Sky)was one of those teenagers who would constantly listen to their LPs and idealise them for all they are worth. He became a wruter for Rolling Stone magazine and would parade around with all the rockers. He decided to create a film about those adventures to inspire future journalists (such as myself).

William Miller is a rock music fan who wants to grow up to become a rock music critic like his hero Lester Bangs. Lester gives him some advice saying that he should never become friends with the rock stars, because it will slant his writing. With permission from his very protective mother, William goes on a cross-country with Stillwater, a band whose biggest hit is called "Fever Dog." He has managed to get everyone to give him an interview, except for the bandleader Russell Hammond. That is what he attempts to do throughout the rest of the film. Meanwhile, William makes friends with Penny Lane, who is not a groupie, but what she calls a Band Aid. Unfortunately, he doesn't follow Lester's advice and does in fact become friends with the rock stars.

As a budding critic, Almost Famous speaks to me on so many levels. I understand the character of William and when he types on his typewriter, I am reminded of when I type on my computer word processor. The role of the critic is to be "honest and unmerciful" and trust me, I have not become friends with Cameron Crowe. This is a terrific film and I must recommend it. The heart of Almost Famous is of course, Patrick Fugit who plays William. He potrays that character as an innocent in a world filled with famous people and drug addicts. His mother tells him a lot to not take drugs and he obeys that rule, because he knows when not to cross the line. Kate Hudson's work as Penny Lane shows that she is a equal if not better actress than her mother. Billy Crudup's nuanced performance makes Russell the most likable member of the band with Jason Lee proving once again that he is one of the best character actors in the business. Frances McDormand as William's mother also shows that she can play someone other than Sourthern policewomen. Philip Seymour Hoffman has always amazed me and his work as Lester Bangs is so great that I believe he deserved to win an Oscar for it. Cameron Crowe is an outstanding filmmaker and his life story is much more interesting than those of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

He can't beat Charles Chaplin and Kevin Smith, though. Jason Lee, Billy Crudup, John Fedevich, Mark Kozelek and Noah Taylor play the band Stillwater in Almost Famous.

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