Almost Famous - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Almost Famous Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 20, 2007
One of the best films about music ever made, with standout performances from everyone in the cast, including a rocking soundtrack that brings this simple, breezy road-trip of a kid following a band on the rise up to "greatness" status. It's just a wonderful movie, and does a good job of being engaging right from the first second and it never really lets up. Kate Hudson's hypnotizing performance is the real standout as a seductive and carefree fan who, like the lead character, experiences the good and ugly things the rock and roll lifestyle brings to an individual. We need more movies like this made about music, ones that don't for a minute feel artificial, and ones that deliver memorable scenes and provide interesting characters that won't leave you quickly.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2013
I don't think I "get" this movie. I like rock and roll as much as the next Band Aid, but very little is actually spent on the music. Russell Hammond's last interview answer about what he loves about music is somewhat of an easy trick, "To begin with...everything." This is Cameron Crowe's problem in "Elizabethtown" too, only with shoes and failure. He doesn't and can't seem to articulate what it is he loves or knows about music. Now, I know writing about music is like dancing about architecture, but because that articulation of music seems so central to William's journalistic aspirations, the movie needs to be more than just a coming-of-age road trip with surface treatment of the sexdrugsrockandroll trifecta.

Kate Hudson's woodsy, backlit scene of her laughingly asking, "What kind of beer [was I sold for]?" with those smooth, limpid tears rolling down is indeed a notable performance. However, what really is the difference between Groupies and Band Aids in the end? How do they afford such an extravagant, nomadic lifestyle? What about Penny Lane does William really fall in love with that's so different from the innocent yet sophisticated beauty every other band member sees?

The best part of the movie is probably Lester Bangs's brash but sympathetic caveats about fame and coolness.
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2013
Beautiful, funny, and occasionally thrilling, Almost Famous is wonderfully filmed and well written, and ultimately, an extremely likable and memorable cinematic experience that demands to be seen again and again.
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2011
Almost Famous is almost great, featuring great acting from both Fugit and Hudson, as well as an authentic rock and roll feel. However, the story of a bickering band and the music vs. the money is a very worn tale, told in a not-so-fresh fashion.
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2011
Almost Famous is funny, interesting, and a great meaning about music and life. The plot is incredible and I think every time n our life we want to be like this kid. The cast was great and everyone was perfectly fit in their roles. Overall I loved this film, one of the best of its kind, deserved the Oscar.
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2011
This semi-autobiographical portrait from Cameron Crowe is one of my all-time favorites. It's a coming of age story unlike any other, the best example of the genre for any to emulate. Much like Crowe's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High, every moment rings true. The music is superb, and all the captured "little moments" are priceless. The wide eyed expressions on the characters throughout the film tell the story perfectly. Innocence and Worldliness aren't presented better anywhere.

I love the cast. Kate Hudson portrays band-aid" Penny Lane flawlessly; she's strangely hypnotic, and I haven't liked her in anything as much since. As great as Hudson, Patrick Fugit, and Jason Lee are, Frances McDormand may just have been the standout as William Miller's mother. Fugit plays Miller, the Crowe character and unlikely middleman between Penny Lane and Russell Hammond, the guitarist of the fictitious band Stillwater.

As critic Lester Bangs advised William Miller to be, the movie is "honest and unmerciful." It captures the moment of an era, and I found myself wishing I was listening to Stillwater; hanging out with the band aids. I was touched and drawn into the story and its characters more than any movie I remember.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2008
Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don't fall for it.

Excellent Film! Very deep and emotional rock n roll movie. The cast is incredibly good and talented. The plot is very good and very real. The film is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story concerning William Miller.

The film starts out with William (Michael Angarano) at a young age, where we find him living in a household with his mother Elaine (Frances McDormand) and his sister Anita (Zooey Deschanel) in San Diego, California. While William gets along well with his mother and sister separately, both of the women in his life are at odds with each other, as Elaine struggles to keep some form of control over Anita, who feels that her mother is too overbearing on her and William.

During this time, it is revealed to William that his Mom skipped him ahead 2 grades, as all his classmates around him are 13, and he's 11. During the summer, Anita decides to leave home to become a stewardess, leaving her record collection to William.

Time passes, and a more grown William (Patrick Fugit) enters high school. In that time, he has become interested in rock music and journalism, writing for several underground newspapers, and "Cream Magazine." One day, William meets famed writer Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who gives him some pointers about interviewing and the world of Rock and Roll. Lester sees a determination in William to succeed, and offers to pay him for an interview of the band Black Sabbath, who will be playing at the San Diego Sports Arena.

William attempts to get in, but is rebuked by the doorman at the Sports Arena. Unsure what to do, he meets a group of girls who call themselves Band-Aides. William is introduced to their leader, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), who explains their philosophy, of how they are not groupies, but are there to support the music.

Shortly thereafter, William manages to get into the Sports Arena, when he meets the opening act for the night: the band Stillwater. Complimenting them on their sound and musical talent, they allow William in. During this time, William ends up interviewing them, with the bulk of the interview coming from member Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee). William ends up watching the concert from backstage, as the band opens for Black Sabbath, performing the song "Fever Dog."

After the show, Lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) invites William to meet them at the Continental Hyatt House in Los Angeles, and requests to William that they'd like Penny Lane to come along. William informs Penny about this, and as they exit the sports arena, she gives him her contact information, and tells him of her ultimatum: she plans to live in Morocco for one year.

A few days later, unknown to his mother, William sneaks off to Los Angeles with Penny, where they meet up with the band at the Hyatt House (knicknamed 'The Riot House'). It is here that William sees there may be some chemistry going on between Russell and Penny.

A couple days later, William gets a call from Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen) of Rolling Stone. William disguises the fact that he's 16 years old, and pitches his voice lower. Fong-Torres compliments him on his work, and asks William about any bands he'd like to cover. William suggests Stillwater, and soon joins the band on the road, travelling with the Band-Aides as well on the band's bus, named 'Doris,' much to the horrors of his mother, who fears that this will derail Williams' future.

Along the way, a number of incidents happen to which William is privy:

- At an outdoor stage event, Russell is electrocuted, sending the band scrambling from the venue, much to the anger of the show's promoter.

-Jeff Bebe gets into a heated row with Russell, when the band's first t-shirts arrive, with Russell as the only recognizable person in the band while everyone else is out-of-focus.

-Russell ends up at a party in Topeka, KS, where he drops acid and climbs up on a rooftop, proclaiming to be a 'golden god.'

-The record company sends a person named Dennis Hope (Jimmy Fallon) to replace their current manager, Dick Roswell (Noah Taylor). The band is apprehensive, but give in to Dennis' grand plan for the band to make more money, turning them away from their philosophy of playing 'for the fans.' Dennis is also instrumental in adding more tour dates, and the band ditches their bus 'Doris' for an airplane.

As the tour winds down, William is able to interview almost everyone, but still is not able to get his key interview with Russell Hammond. What should have been a simple task becomes mind-numbing, as William is swept up with the tour, causing him to field questions from Ben Fong-Torres about the story, and rousing the ire and worry of his mother, who in one of her classes, proclaims: "rock stars have kidnapped my son."

At one of the stops, William is privy to a poker game, in which Dick and Russell wager Penny Lane and the Band-Aides in a game without Penny or the girls knowing. The girls must leave the tour before they arrive in New York where Russell's wife will meet the band. The band Humble Pie ends up winning them, and pays Dick and Russell $50 and a case of Heineken beer. William tries to put this out of his mind, but upon hearing how Penny seems to have stepped over the line of supporting the band and fallen for Russell, tells her of what Russell and Dick did.

The Band-Aides and Penny end up leaving the tour before the band arrives in New York. Upon arrival at their hotel, William gets a call from Fong-Torres and others at Rolling Stone, telling him that the band will grace the cover of their next issue, and that he is free to tell this to the band.

At a restaurant in New York, this news is met with enthusiasm by the band. However, Russell's wife Leslie (Liz Strauber) sees Penny in a nearby corner watching Russell. Dennis goes over to talk with Penny, who rushes off. William takes off after her, finding her at the Plaza Hotel, where she has downed an entire bottle of Quaaludes. William manages to keep Penny conscious until the doctors get there. After pumping her stomach, Penny and Russell then go for a walk through Central Park, where she tells William that her real name is 'Lady Goodman,' proclaiming that he now knows 'all her secrets.' After their stroll, William takes Penny to the airport, where she flies home to San Diego.

After this, William joins the band on the plane as they fly to a new venue. Everyone questions where William went, but he is hesitant to tell them what happened. Suddenly, the plane is caught in the edge of a storm, violently shaking everyone around. Feeling like the plane may crash or break up at any moment, everyone begins to reveal secrets and other confidential information:

-Dennis reveals that he once hit a man with a car, and kept on going. -Dick reveals that he took more money than his regular fee, claiming 'he knew he earned it.' -Jeff reveals that he slept with Dick's wife after they broke up, and also slept with Leslie. Jeff, in a moment of rage at Russell, reveals his true anger at Russell, and tells Leslie that Russell had been sleeping with Penny. -William, angered at how the band treated Penny, finally tells them what happened to her, and proclaims his love for her. -Ed Vallencourt (John Fedevich), who has been silent the entire film, comes out of the closet.

After Ed speaks, the plane makes it through the weather, and everyone stays silent, not speaking for the remainder of the trip. When the plane lands, Russell tells William, that he can write whatever he wants in regards to the band.

William then goes to Rolling Stone's headquarters, armed with his notes, but still without his key interview with Russell. William is given a night to finish the piece, and calls Lester Bangs, who tells him to be honest and truthful.

The story that William types reveals everything, including Russell's 'golden god' speech, and the airplane confessions. Once the band is contacted by Rolling Stone's fact-checker (Erin Foley), the band denies 90% of the story, and William is sent back to San Diego. At the airport, he runs into his sister Anita. Anita offers to take William on an adventure to anywhere...but the only place he wants to go is home. This leads to Anita and their mother reconciling, as William finally is able to fall asleep in his own bed.

Sometime after, as the Stillwater band is going their separate ways, one Band-aide whom Penny knows named Sapphire (Fairuza Balk) meets up with Russell, chastising him for almost causing Penny to die, as well as him ruining Williams' story. Nearby, some new groupies are mingling with the band. Sapphire comments how the new girls are not really fans, seeing as they don't love the music.

Her words cause Russell to call Penny and apologize, requesting to meet her. Penny gives him an address, but it is not until he arrives at the place that he realizes she has given him William's address. Russell meets with William, and explains that he retracted his statement to Rolling Stone, confirming that the story was true. William then takes the opportunity to get what he never could before: a one-on-one interview with Russell about what he loves about music.

The film then ends with a montage of different clips. These include:

-Stillwater going back on tour, with 'Doris' as their main mode of transportation (with their 1974 tour called the 'No More Planes Tour') -William sitting down to breakfast with Anita and his mother, who have reconciled. -Penny at an airplane ticket counter, fulfilling her decision to go to Morocco.
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2007
A charming romance about the dreams of rock and roll and how those dreams fare in the light of day. Seductive indeed.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2010
"Almost Famous" is a lovingly crafted portrait of music, love and the 1970s. Nuanced work from the entire cast and including a show stealing Kate Hudson. Patrick Fugit is great at capturing the innocence and wonder of a boy who fell into his dream by accident. Cameron Crowe's film is was of the best films from the year 2000 and one of the best coming of age films from that decade. How can anyone deny the poetry of this great story told with such grace. (On a side note, there are two versions of this film, the 120 minute theatrical version, which simplifies the story and the 160 minute 'bootleg cut' which runs entirely too long. Neither is totally satisfying but when taken as a whole, it's a lovely story.)
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2010
This is honestly one of my favorite movies, because it allows you to really connect with the characters. Between very well acted parts, and the great team of people involved in putting this together, you have a certain element of "real" that draws you in. The story being told here could be as much about a boy traveling with a band, as it is simply about the band. I think it was well done on everyone's part, and it is VERY clear to me why it won so many awards, and was nominated for several more. On a side note, Billy Crudup was amazing in this!! and Kate Hudson was absolutely charming!!
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2010
Almost Famous is a phenomenal drama film. Loosely based on the life of Cameron Crowe who was a Rolling Stones journalist in his younger years, and who he traveled the world with such great acts as Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Almost Famous is simply put, a work brilliance, Cameron Crow has crafted something enjoyable and unique with this film, and this is one of the most memorable and best drama films of the decade. The cast that Cameron Crow has assembled here is terrific including Kate Hudson and this is Kate Hudson's best film. along with The Skeleton Key. Not just Kate Hudson give a great performance, but so does Patrick Fugit and Billy Crudup. With these great actors, Cameron Crowe has crafted a terrific film that tells the story of a band that tries to make it big. What follows for aspiring journalist William Miller is a taste of the rock n roll lifestyle. Almost Famous does a great job and conveying the hardships and good times of an up and coming band. What I love about this film is that you feel connected to many of the main characters, and for a drama film, I find that very rare. Almost Famous is a well made film with a great story, and even better acting. This cast really makes this film soar. Almost Famous is one of the most original drama films that I've seen in a long time. This is one of the most stunning films that I've seen and is simply gold.
Super Reviewer
½ August 1, 2009
I put this off for far too long. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
½ June 20, 2010
This is one of those movies I had been meaning to see for ages, just never did. Wow. It was really a beautiful, feel good movie. LOVED Frances McDormand, I think she cracked me up more than anything. Kate Hudson, wow, I think this was the first role I liked her in. Jason Lee was fantastic and so was Billy Crudup. And of course, Patrick Fugit. Awesome. Sweet. Likeable and very relateable. I think it really did an awesome job of portraying the mindset of rock god-ery and idolism and more importantly, it's faults. It also says so much for the story that Penny and Russell didn't end up together. Says loads. Overall, really, really well done. This might get bumped up to a full on 5 stars upon later mental stewing.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2008
Almost Famous looks back at the world of rock 'n roll as it existed in the early 1970s. The movie has a great classic rock soundtrack i loved it!!!
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2007
Cameron Crowe's autobiographical film is a great snapshot of a young writer and the band he interviews, and also one of the greatest rock n roll movies ever made.
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2007
I just watched "Almost Famous" for the first time in about six years, and I now realise why everyone claims it to be one of the decade's finest!
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2009
I liked this movie. It's a love letter to anyone who enjoyed the music of the early 70's, or even is just curious about it. I didn't know that it was a semi-autobiographical story until after I had seen it, but that fact helps explain how genuine the movie is.

Cameron Crowe must really know how to get the best out of his actors, because they all really shine, here. Kate Hudson, in particular, is just amazing in a few key scenes. It really makes me wish that she would someday work with another director who can get this kind of a performance out of her, because she clearly has the talent.

Billy Crudup and his fellow bandmates really gave off the "rockstar" vibe, which the movie wouldn't have worked nearly as well without. Hoffman and McDormand were also as good as you would expect them to be. As brief as Zooey Deschanel's role was, I think it might be one of my favorite performances from her. Young Patrick Fugit is the centerpiece of the movie, and he occupies the character as well as anyone could have done. It was well-suited to him.

These kinds of movies might not be perfectly suited to everyone, but it certainly struck a chord with me. Cameron Crowe is now officially on my radar.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2009
An amazing movie that is almost like a modern day fairytale. Only in Cameron Crowe's imagination would a deprived 15 year old kid get to write for Rolling Stone and tour with an up and coming rock band. It has a lot of great acting, music and captures the time period perfectly. It's a fun movie that also has a very deep side to it, which always seems to crop up in Crowe's writing.
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2008
Starts well, then it becomes the usual feel-good-cliche-fest that Crowe loves to make. The supporting cast helps a lot, except Kate Hudson that is, that woman should not be allowed to work in movies ever again.
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2007
a film that gets a bit silly at moments but provides some great introspection and clever moments. the music is great and the characters are played well. a solid film.
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