In 1973, 15-year-old William Miller’s unabashed love of music and aspiration to become a rock journalist lands him an assignment from Rolling Stone magazine to interview and tour with the up-and-coming band, Stillwater.
- William Miller: Patrick Fugit
- Russell Hammond: Billy Crudup
- Penny Lane: Kate Hudson
- Elaine Miller: Frances McDormand
- Jeff Bebe: Jason Lee
- Anita Miller: Zooey Deschanel
- Young William: Michael Angarano
- Polexia Aphrodisia: Anna Paquin
- Sapphire: Fairuza Balk
- Dick Roswell: Noah Taylor
- Lester Bangs: Philip Seymour Hoffman
- Dennis Hope: Jimmy Fallon
- David Felton: Rainn Wilson
- Vic Munoz: Jay Baruchel
- Ed Vallencourt: John Fedevich
- Larry Fellows: Mark Kozelek
- Leslie: Liz Stauber
- Beth from Denver: Olivia Rosewood
- Estrella Starr: Bijou Phillips
- Alice Wisdom: Pauley Perrette
- Reg: Peter Frampton
- Freddy: Mark Pellington
- Jann Wenner: Eion Bailey
- Roadie Scully: J.J. Cohen
- Roadie Gregg: Gary Kohn
- Roadie Mick: Ray Porter
- Mrs. Deegan: Alice Marie Crowe
- Alison the Fact Checker: Erin Foley
- Ben Fong-Torres: Terry Chen
- Eagles Road Manager: Mitch Hedberg
- Darryl: Jesse Caron
- The Legendary Red Dog: Zack Ward
- The Who Road Manager: Devin Corey
- Hyatt Singer: Pete Droge
- Hyatt Singer: Elaine Summers
- Lenny: Kevin Sussman
- Plaza Doctor: Tom Riis Farrell
- Himself: John Patrick Amedori
- Waving Girl: Julia Decker
- Real Topeka Kid: Brian Vaughan
- Poolside Provocateur: Anthony Martelli
- Have a Nice Day Stewardess: Susan Yeagley
- Flight Attendant: Holly Maples
- Swingo’s Desk Clerk: Michelle Moretti
- Sheldon the Desk Clerk: Eric Stonestreet
- Angry Promoter: Marc Maron
- Arizona Housekeeper: Ana Maria Quintana
- Insane Bowie Fan: Nick Swardson
- Hippie Girl (uncredited): Evis Xheneti
- Art Direction: Clay A. Griffith
- Director of Photography: John Toll
- Editor: Joe Hutshing
- Producer: Ian Bryce
- Set Decoration: Robert Greenfield
- Costume Design: Betsy Heimann
- Producer: Cameron Crowe
- Producer: Lisa Stewart
- Production Manager: Steven P. Saeta
- Producer: Scott M. Martin
- Producer: Marty P. Ewing
- Original Music Composer: Nancy Wilson
- Editor: Saar Klein
- Casting: Gail Levin
- John Chard: Hopes, Dreams & Nightmares.
Almost Famous is Cameron Crowe’s paean to rock music, of bands and songs, of journalism and promotion, of sex & drugs. Drawing from experience and stories passed on, Crowe tells the tale of a young teenage boy aspiring to be a music journalist in the 1970s. Finding himself backstage with the rock group Stillwater, William Miller (Patrick Fugit) embarks on a road journey with the band that’s awash with egos, groupies, perils and pleasures, all of which change his life forever.
Lets go find something real!
The most striking thing about it is that it’s not overtly funny or sensationalistic, it’s a production that’s full of love, real love, for the subject matters to hand, and it’s very often a moving experience to be part of. Narratively speaking, Crowe takes his time, steadily building characters and backdrop essentials, it works a treat as we become immersed in all the major players within the music circle, while also feeling the concerns of those on the outside of the rock group circle. Which of course gives us the great rewards come the final third of film when all matters come to a head. Crowe and his design team also work some magic for period flavours, capturing the early 70s vibe with awareness of clothing, food and drink and transport. Nothing ever seems false, which is remarkable in this era of product placements and shameless plugging.
50 bucks and a case of beer!
Another one of Crowe’s strengths is how he garners great performances from his actors. There’s no big stars here, no Tom or Renée, but Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Kate Hudson and Fugit, who respond to their director with sincere and believable performances, no caricatures or ham sarnies here, no way. While outskirt performances from Frances McDormand (brilliant as William’s fretful mother), Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (as the legendary Lester Bangs) and Fairuza Balk, consistently hit the hi-hat. The music of course rocks, from metal and progers, to folkers and bubblegum, to some punk godfathery, these sounds feature on the soundtrack and kick the decade into orbit – while the Stillwater scenes are effective and the use of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer will land in your heart and stay there.
Cameron Crowe has created a smashingly memorable film that will stand the tests of time. Two cuts are available, where both the theatrical and director’s cuts are sure fire things (the latter Bootleg Cut my personal favourite). This is a music based film to sit with the best of them, God Bless Rock N Roll and God Bless Cameron Crowe, for he could have easily embellished and over egged his rock pudding, instead he kept it real. 9/10
- JPV852: With the new 4K release, decided to watch the Director’s Cut (Untitled) version for the first time having seen the theatrical version a couple of times over the years (last time was several years ago, however). Anyway, still a great movie even for someone who isn’t exactly steeped into rock and roll music. Features a wonderful ensemble cast with solid performances all around (Hudson and Crudup were standouts) and the original music, alongside the classics, were great. **4.5/5**
- Wuchak: _**Misadventures while touring America with an up-and-coming band in the early 70s**_
A 15 year-old aspiring rock journalist (Patrick Fugit) gets a gig by Rolling Stone to tour America with the rising group Stillwater in 1973. He develops a relationship with a winsome groupie of the band (Kate Hudson) while learning the group dynamics behind the music, such as the rivalry between the guitarist and lead singer (Billy Crudup and Jason Lee).
“Almost Famous” (2000) was written/directed by Cameron Crowe, known for movies like “Jerry McGuire” (1996) and “Say Anything” (1989). It’s a behind-the-scenes rock-oriented flick in the mold of “The Rose” (1979), “Oh, God! You Devil” (1984), “Rock Star” (2001) and “The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (2009).
The story is semi-biographical, inspired by Crowe’s experiences writing for Rolling Stone at 15 and touring with the Allman Brothers at 16. The amusing plane sequence was drawn from a real-life situation with The Who; and the guitarist of the band, Russell, is based on Glenn Frey of Eagles.
I had heard the critical gushing, but wasn’t sure if I was going to like it for much of the first half, yet it won me over with the second half. The aforementioned plane sequence is a highlight. For a more serious, darker take on similar material see the obscure “The Perfect Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which I favor over this one.
The notable cast also includes Frances McDormand as the boy’s conservative mother, Zooey Deschanel as his sis and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a wise rock journalist. Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin and Bijou Phillips are also on hand as groupies. While Anna’s role is small, she stands out on the feminine front, along with star Kate.
The movie runs 2 hours, 2 minutes, and was shot in California, Arizona and Manhattan (Gramercy Park Hotel and Central Park).