Almost Famous

Almost Famous

4.7 48
Director: Cameron Crowe

Cast: Cameron Crowe, Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand

     
 

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Writer and director Cameron Crowe's experiences as a teenage rock journalist -- he was a regular contributor to Rolling Stone while still in high school -- inspired this coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy hitting the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand) is a bright, loving, but strict single parent whose… See more details below

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Overview

Writer and director Cameron Crowe's experiences as a teenage rock journalist -- he was a regular contributor to Rolling Stone while still in high school -- inspired this coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy hitting the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand) is a bright, loving, but strict single parent whose distrust of rock music and fears about drug use have helped to drive a wedge between herself and her two children, Anita (Zooey Deschanel) and William (Patrick Fugit). Anita rebels by dropping out of school and becoming a stewardess, but William makes something of his love of rock & roll by writing album reviews for a local underground newspaper. William's work attracts the attention of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), editor of renegade rock magazine Creem, who takes William under his wing and gives him his first professional writing assignment -- covering a Black Sabbath concert. While William is unable to score an interview with the headliners, the opening act, Stillwater, are more than happy to chat with a reporter, even if he's still too young to drive, and William's piece on the group in Creem gains him a new admirer in Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen), an editor at Rolling Stone. Torres offers William an assignment for a 3,000-word cover story on Stillwater, and over the objections of his mother (whose parting words are "Don't use drugs!"), and after some stern advice from Bangs (who says under no circumstances should he become friends with a band he's covering), Williams joins Stillwater on tour, where he becomes friendly with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee). William also becomes enamored of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a groupie traveling with the band who is no older than William, but is deeply involved with Russell. Lester Bangs and Ben Fong-Torres, incidentally, were real-life rock writers Crowe worked with closely during his days as a journalist. Almost Famous' original score was composed by Nancy Wilson of Heart (who is also Crowe's wife).

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
One of 2000’s most pleasant cinematic surprises, Almost Famous celebrates the liberating influence of rock 'n' roll on America’s youth during the 1970s, and is in turns both exhilarating and elegiac. Writer-director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire), drawing on his own adolescent experiences, creates a believable alter ego in Patrick Fugit, cast as a talented teen journalist assigned by Rolling Stone magazine to accompany an up-and-coming band on a nationwide tour. Flush with ambition, the shy youth dutifully chronicles the band’s activities and its members' peccadilloes, in the process learning valuable and occasionally painful lessons about fame, friendship, and love. Billy Crudup is letter-perfect as the band’s charismatic guitarist, whose increasing popularity threatens insecure lead singer Jason Lee. Frances McDormand sparkles in her relatively brief appearances as Fugit’s protective mother. But Kate Hudson's performance -- justifiably recognized with an Academy Award nomination -- is the movie's most luminous, as she portrays the vulnerable, if free-spirited, groupie who steals Fugit’s heart. Evocative of its period but timeless in its appeal, Almost Famous recognizes rock’s contribution to American pop culture with warmth, humor, and the yearning for a bygone era filled with promise.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Depending on when you walk in, Almost Famous is either a coming-of-age drama, a love story, an often funny but sometimes painful look at the bonds of family, or a celebration of the glorious, liberating intoxication of rock & roll. And what's most remarkable about Cameron Crowe's fourth (and best) film is that it covers all these bases with equal skill, and an amiable, sure-footed grace. Crowe has made no secret that this film was based closely on his own experiences as a teenage rock journalist, and he certainly knows the nooks and crannies of life on the road in the 1970s; from the backstage rituals to the endless rounds of hotel parties, the film never hits a false note as it follows Stillwater's steady rise to fame. But more importantly, Crowe knows how to draw characters, and what could have easily been a collection of two-dimensional stereotypes emerges instead as an ensemble of credible, flesh-and-blood people. Elaine (Frances McDormand), the mother who dislikes and distrusts rock & roll, isn't a narrow-minded harridan, but an intelligent and socially progressive woman who doesn't want to see her children fall into a destructive adolescent conformity. The "band-aides," most notably Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), aren't fame-obsessed sexual predators, but devoted fans who have their own way of showing their loyalty to the musicians whose work means so much to them. And 15-year-old William (Patrick Fugit) isn't some youth lost in rock & roll Babylon, but a kid jazzed at living out his dreams and going on his first great adventure, while remaining smart (and grounded) enough to see both the peaks and valleys of the life he's capturing in words. One of Crowe's strongest suits has always been his ability to draw fine performances from his actors, and that's hardly failed him here. Newcomer Patrick Fugit is a marvel of boyish wonder and mature-beyond-his-years perception as William, Frances McDormand does an Oscar-worthy turn as his mother Elaine, Billy Crudup and Jason Lee are superb as the battling frontmen of Stillwater, Kate Hudson delivers a star-making, thoroughly charming performance as Penny, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is superb in an all-too-brief appearance as gonzo rock journalist (and part-time mentor to William) Lester Bangs. And Crowe's strong, clear, but unobtrusive visual sense, as well as his superlative ear for pop music, serve this material splendidly. If Almost Famous has a flaw, it's the noticeable upshift in the rhythm of its last act, which feels like an attempt to rush the film to its conclusion. But if the worst thing you can say about Almost Famous is that you wish it had been a bit longer, it says a lot about how thoroughly pleasurable a film it really is.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
As a director [Crowe] has an extraordinary gift for drawing out rounded, complex performances even in supporting roles and for indicating the fine emotional shadings in the relationships among his characters.
Boston Globe
Hollywood filmmaking at its best, brimming over with feeling, texture, spirit, and several kinds of keenness that transmute experience into big pop myth. Jay Carr

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/2013
UPC:
0883929303755
Original Release:
2000
Source:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
1
Sales rank:
16,286

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Patrick Fugit William Miller
Billy Crudup Russell Hammond
Frances McDormand Elaine Miller
Kate Hudson Penny Lane
Jason Lee Jeff Bebe
Philip Seymour Hoffman Lester Bangs
Zooey Deschanel Anita Miller
Anna Paquin Polexia Aphrodisia
Fairuza Balk Sapphire
Noah Taylor Dick Roswell
John Fedevich Ed Vallencourt
Bijou Phillips Estrella Starr
Eion Bailey Jann Wenner
Terry Chen Ben Fong-Torres
Jimmy Fallon Dennis Hope
Daniel Wilson Journalism Teacher
Jay Baruchel Vic Munoz
John Patrick Amedori Himself
Michael Angarano Young William Miller

Technical Credits
Cameron Crowe Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Conny Boettger-Marinos Set Decoration/Design
Danny Bramson Musical Direction/Supervision
Ian Bryce Producer
Charisse Cardenas Set Decoration/Design
Michael Dennison Costumes/Costume Designer
Marty P. Ewing Associate Producer
Robert Greenfield Set Decoration/Design
Clay Griffith Art Director
Clayton R. Hartley Art Director
Betsy Heimann Costumes/Costume Designer
Joe Hutshing Editor
Saar Klein Editor
Gail Levin Casting
Scott M. Martin Associate Producer
Virginia Randolph-Weaver Art Director
Steven P. Saeta Associate Producer
Lisa Stewart Co-producer
Mindi Toback Set Decoration/Design
John Toll Cinematographer
Jeff Wexler Sound/Sound Designer
Nancy Wilson Score Composer
Jerry Ziesmer Associate Producer,Asst. Director

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Scene Index

Scene Index.
0. Scene Index.
0. Menu Group #1 with 24 chapter(s) covering 02:03:05
1. The Chipmunk Song. [:21]
2. Sparks. [:08]
3. Search and Destroy. [3:23]
4. Teacher. [4:55]
5. Your Move. [3:13]
6. Fever Dog. [:20]
7. Something in the Air. [4:46]
8. Go All the Way. [3:14]
9. Simple Man. [2:13]
10. That's the Way. [3:13]
11. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. [2:07]
12. Future Games. [1:56]
13. Tiny Dancer. [5:20]
14. Reeling in the Years. [:04]
15. Love Comes and Goes. [3:39]
16. The Wind. [5:28]
17. Slip Away. [2:19]
18. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters. [3:31]
19. My Cherie Amour. [3:33]
20. Cabin in the Sky. [2:04]
21. Brutalis. [4:07]
22. The Rain Song. [:16]
23. Tangerine. [3:30]
24. Feel Flows. [6:12]

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