Almost Famous Reviews
Almost Famous is a character driven drama about an interviewer going on a run with a band to write an article on the Rolling Stone magazine. As much as unique the concept is, it equally is simple and sensible that breeds valuable opinions from each three dimensional characters of it.
Crowe's world in here believes to live in present and enjoy each tiny moments which offers the audience an adequate soothing closure in each frame; it's just a "good" story is what it is. Even the weaving of the structure that occurs in front of the audience in its initial stages, is breathtaking with monologues, debates and "teenage fun" bits that makes it slick.
The songs are uplifting, the backyard score is decently scored, the cinematography is mesmerizing with fine editing and stunning camera work and visuals with live locations that foliates it into the anticipated musical cinematic experience. Hudson is surprisingly good with Crudup and Lane going head to head offering the appropriate crisp to their track and McDormand as always offering the gravitas and keeps this fairy tale grounded.
Crowe's narration is far better than we usually get in such band musicals and the primary reason to that is that it is perfectly balanced, it never is too light nor dark, he is well aware of his audience and he can filter them out with maturity itself. His execution is definitely worth the script he wrote, in fact if anything it celebrates it with an extravaganza for life where each emotional conflict is respected equally with a subtle tone. The behind the stage preparations and conversations that a star goes through, the originality and innocence of the concept and Crowe oozing his presence behind all of it are the high points of the feature.
Almost Famous is pure art that both lyrically rhymes and taps to the beat and eventually make you too.
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.
(Full review TBD)
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.