Almost Famous - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Almost Famous Reviews

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½ April 7, 2018
Interesting perspective, but not well told. Kate Hudson can't act, sad but true.
April 5, 2018
Absolutely one of the greatest films of the 2000'S and Cameron Crowe at his best telling a story that is partly his own experiences as a teenager. This story captures perfectly captures the decade as well as the coming age story of its subject with heartwarming yet genuine sentiment. You also can't talk about this film without its stellar cast especially Kate Hudson's heartbreaking portrayal Penny Lane and Frances McDormand's portrayal of the conflicted Elaine Miller. In fact, in regards to the mom I felt the mom perfectly capture the complicated relationships mothers have with their children that made me think of my own mom with my older sister and I. Finally, I have to commend the film on its hilarious quotability along with its production design and costumes that perfectly emulate the era. Overall, an absolutely phenomenal film that is shining example of when a writer-director has so much of an emotional connection to the film that he pours his entire heart and soul into its perfection.
½ March 28, 2018
Wonderfully warm, engaging and nostalgic coming-of-age drama

The early 1970s. William Miller is 15-years old and an aspiring rock journalist. He gets a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine. His first assignment: tour with the band Stillwater and write about the experience. Miller will get to see what goes on behind the scenes in a famous band, including the moments when things fall apart. Moreover, for him it will be a period of new experiences and finding himself.

Wonderfully warm and engaging drama from writer-director Cameron Crowe. The movie is essentially a biography of Crowe's teenage years, with a few names and bands changed, and you can feel the personal investment he has in the movie.

Quite nostalgic too, as you think about how great it was as a teenager, discovering and experiencing new things.

Has the other Cameron Crowe hallmark: a fantastic soundtrack (well, he was a rock journalist, remember...). Stillwater may be a fictitious band but the music is genuine.

Cameron Crowe won the 2001 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his efforts.
½ March 23, 2018
First things first, I accidentally watched the Director's Cut of the film which is 162 minutes long (40 minutes longer than the released film, which I haven't seen). I'm not certain whether the extra time benefits the film or reduces its quality. There were a few places where things felt long or indulgent. But, of course, the whole premise is pretty indulgent - this is the story of Cameron Crowe's experience as a teen journalist for Rolling Stone touring with The Allman Brothers (here replaced by a fictional band, Stillwater, starring Billy Crudup and Jason Lee). Crowe wrote and directed the film and gives himself a pretty glorified part. Moreover, taking place in the early 1970s, the action onscreen is also indulgent, in that there is lots of drinking and drug use (although this is mostly implied because the film seems somehow to be aiming for family friendly, despite the debauchery). Which brings me to the question of whether this film feels "right" in the era of #MeToo. In fact, it doesn't. Kate Hudson is the groupie with the heart of gold and, although the film acknowledges that she is treated badly by the band, it doesn't really make any effort to condemn that treatment, at least not strenuously. Instead, it is nostalgic good times all the way and the rockin' soundtrack doesn't hurt that sentiment one bit. Crowe spends his time trying to depict the emotional journey of the hero (himself, played wide-eyed by Patrick Fugit) and he does manage to capture wistful naivete pretty well (a la your typical coming-of-age story), including a delayed coda that makes it all right. A few scenes do suggest that the film could have verged into Spinal Tap territory, but it doesn't (too bad). However, this may be the only fiction film to ever have someone play Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and that's worth the price of admission on its own.
March 21, 2018
coming-of-age + rock = un-dislikable
March 12, 2018
Great movie, and great soundtrack! One of my all time favorites.
March 4, 2018
One of my favorite movies of all time. No idea why, but I love it! Saw it when I was like 15 and never forgot it. Love how they made their own songs just for the movie, but pretend like they're real. A classic! Cast is incredible, especially Hoffman and Hudson, but the rest just as much.
½ March 3, 2018
Crowe manages to make a deeply nostalgic and personal film universally relatable and entertaining. One of the greatest music-centric films ever made.
December 24, 2017
Crowe took on "That Thing You Do" into a rising wonder towards stardom from a young journalist/fan's viewpoint and supportive efforts with pretty much the same charms from "Jerry Maguire" being set in the setting period as a meaningful glimpse to the past's musical subject while putting a relevant argument for today's journalists. (B+)

(Full review TBD)
November 24, 2017
Full of great music and situations.
Shane Sackman
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2017
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why this movie works so well, an excellent blend of drama, romance and crisp believable dialogue. The cast is deep and deliver strong performances. A captivating look into rock-and-roll circa 1970. The film is not really about any one particular theme be it young love, discovery or friendship. It is really more of a trip, a road trip, discovering and probing all of these things and more. I like to think of it as a look into the nature of basic human relationships (in their many forms) tested by the turmoil of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. Sometimes people do noble things, sometimes selfish thing, but always believable things.

All of these elements create a very warm film that is surprisingly human in its approach. The sound track is also very strong and paired well with each scene. One scene was particularly memorable: a simple sing-a-long on a bus against the back drop of a classic song. Most people have at least one strong memory of this simple true Americana pleasure from their childhood, and this scene taps into that emotion.

This was, in my humble opinion, Cameron Crowe's last really strong movie after a number of hits (including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything and Singles). These movies all share a common bond in that they were crafted with care, attention and a sharp eye for detail creating engrossing time capsules of these time periods (or places) and the social relationships of the characters.

My small critique of this film, and most of Crowe's work, is that he can be heavy handed with the sitcom one-liners. While some of these lines pay off really well, others are a bit jarring.
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2017
Majestic in storytelling and musicality, Almost Famous displays the brilliance of Cameron Crowe as well as breakthrough performances from Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand. The film's sleek humor and originality is a highlight that puts this above Crowe's achievements as well as listings for the year. 4/5
October 9, 2017
Almost Famous (2000) ??? 1/2 / ????

Rolling Stone Magazine hires young music fan to write about up-and-coming rock band as he travels with them on their concert tour. His trip into their world is a revelation to him (and us): not scummy or unpleasant, instead a warm journey with a lot of dynamic humor. Writer-director Cameron Crowe drowns his creative story with colorful, three-dimensional characters (the same way he did JERRY MAGUIRE) and gives them plenty of space to develop. The entire movie is constantly original, surprisingly, and as pure moviemaking, it's superb; extremely entertaining. This irresistible film also made a super-star out of Kate Hudson. A must-watch.
October 9, 2017
Almost Famous is the autobiographical tale of Cameron Crowe's inception into 1970's rock reporting for the holy grail of rock magazines, Rolling Stone. The movie's storyline centers around the events of a two-month quest embarked upon by fifteen-year-old William Miller (Patrick Fugit) to land a much sought after interview with the charismatic lead singer of Stillwater, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) which will result in his story being published by Rolling Stone. The movie is a combination of four interwoven storylines that run parallel to one another and are told from William's perspective as he accompanies the band on its tour. Each storyline of this movie is filled with dynamic, enthralling and captivating major and minor supporting characters. Every character in this movie, such as William's overbearing, tyrannical mother Elaine Miller (Francis McDormand), to the beautiful, complex, and captivating, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) to the minor character of William's slightly neurotic mentor, Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are of such complexity and depth that it is impossible for the viewer not to become completely intertwined in the events as they unfold into this two hour and forty-two-minute movie. Many parts of Almost Famous are historically accurate. The drug and liquor that accompanies Stillwater's lifestyle as well as the storyline of the band slowly falling apart as they become part of the mainstream music scene, and as they become more focused on their popularity to their fans rather than the music which is what caused them to start a band in the first place. There are many realistic rock facts to this movie and it does a good job of portraying the music scene of the seventies. However, the movie portrays many unrealistic events that create a movie of unbelievable fiction.
The first storyline of the movie introduces the inception of William's love of music and a talent of writing. William's older sister, Anita, rebels against their overbearing, sheltered mother, leaving William her record player and her prized collection of rock n' roll albums before moving out of the house and dropping out of school. William falls in love with the music and with rock n' roll despite his mother's disapproval. The main purpose of the movie begins when William Miller, a fifteen-year-old child prodigy receives a phone call from the editor-in-chief of Rolling Stone magazine, who has read William's impressive writing and employs him to write a story about an up-and-coming band, Stillwater. Wong informs William that if his story were to include an interview with Russell Hammond, it would most likely be published by Rolling Stone magazine. William seeks the advice of rock and roll writer Lester Bangs when he realizes his age and lack of life experience leave him at a disadvantage. Lester Bang paints an ugly picture of the ups and downs of embarking a tour with a rock band where he will experience first-hand the roller coaster ride of sex, drugs and rock and roll associated with rock bands of the 1970's.
The film moves forward to the second storyline where William meets Penny Lane and her friends, the band aides as he attempts to enter the back stage of a Led Zepplin concert. Penny Lane becomes William's muse and the object of his affection when she introduces him to the world of live rock n' roll, Stillwater, and most importantly, Russell Hammond. As this storyline progresses, William and Penny form a deep bond as he witnesses the intimate, twisted relationship between Penny Lane and Russell Hammond, and they both experience pain caused by Russell Hammond's self-indulgent personality, resulting in Penny Lane attempting suicide and William becoming her savior. Penny Lane and the band aides become William's protectors and teachers of life as they introduce him to sex, drugs and booze.
The third storyline of the movie reveals the complicated relationship between William and his mother, as well as the contemptuous and stormy relationship between William's very traditional mother and his free will sister, Anita. William's mother, who is a college professor, is conflicted by the tug of war of her dreams for William (college at fifteen), or his dreams of becoming a rock n' roll writer. William takes both his love for music and talent of writing, and uses it to convince his mother to allow him to go on tour with Stillwater while missing the last two months of high school.
The final storyline of the movie tells of William's pursuit of a one-on-one interview with Russell Hammond, and the relationship that results between the two of them. This storyline also tells of physical and mental changes in William while on tour. William starts to physically age as the exhaustion and strain of being on tour takes its toll. Each tour location reveals a further decline in William physically and mentally. When the tour began, William was excited and was willing to do whatever it took to get the story. Near the end of his extended stay on tour, William is unwilling to put up with Russell's excessive partying, mood swings, and personal dramas. William's hero worship turns into disappointment and frustration when Russell refuses to corroborate the facts of William's story. Ultimately both characters develop a level of respect and acceptance of one another when Russell Hammond finally agrees to do a one-on-one interview with William in his childhood bedroom when the tour finally ends.
Cameron Crowe's portrayal of his early life can be considered coming of age film. As many review's claim, Almost Famous is not a movie about music. Almost Famous is a movie that portrays the hard reality of rock n' roll. It's a story of stardom, idolism, romance, sex, drugs, betrayal, joy, friendship and the evils of money and fame. Almost Famous is the most real, yet fictional portrayal of the music industry. It's message to me is clear: Doing what you love may lead to disappointment, but it's worth it if it's your passion.
October 2, 2017
A wonderfully interesting movie about music and touring and the emotional side of all of it.
October 1, 2017
one of my all time favorites
September 25, 2017
Crowe infuses the film with a lot of heart and complications of being a journalist. Lee and Crudup give the most memorable performances.
½ July 16, 2017
Story about a teenager who fools Rolling Stone magazine into believing he's a journalist and they pay him to have him travel the road with a major rock band. One of the best movies about rock stars. A truly great behind the scenes look at what their life is like. Really makes you jealous of them. One of my favorite movies.
July 6, 2017
Oh my god!!!! I love this movie so much.
June 6, 2017
One of my favorite movies. The characters, the music, the scenery really captures your full attention and keeps you enthralled throughout. Sadly I wasn't alive for the 70s or the age of rock and roll but I feel that this movie is a great representation of that time.
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