"Your mom kind of freaked me out."
Almost Famous
Review by Ross Anthony

"Almost Famous" is almost fantastic. Superb dialogue, outstanding direction, acting and casting; unfortunately this near perfect script is marred by a single pivotal scene.

The film opens in the year 1969 with William's eighteen-year-old sister dropping the needle on a Simon and Garfunkel record as she steps out the door, "This song explains why I'm leaving home to become a stewardess!"

William, after recently discovering that he's only eleven and not thirteen, explores the mother-forbidden albums left behind by his sister: The Who, Led Zeppelin, Cream.

Fast-forward four years, the nerdy adolescent William finds himself assigned to write a story on the up-and-coming rock band "Stillwater."

Patrick Fugit (William) does a major chord job of staging that awkwardly wonderful adventure of maturing in the wild circus around him. Kate Hudson (the woman in the poster) plays groupie (sorry, that should be "band-aid") Penny Lane warmly and whimsically. "One day, you'll be cool," She says with her hands on William's shoulders. Shot with the camera point blank between her eyes ... we feel like she's resting on our shoulders and speaking directly to us.

Then there's Billy Crudup (guitar player Russell Hammond). Just before the film a fellow reviewer friend mentioned that he was supposed to be the next best thing ... for the past five years. "Almost Famous," I thought. Actually, enjoying his performances in several less than great films, I expected fame from him as well. He's "incendiary" ... in a low-key, gentle, kind of way.

Frances McDormand as William's "Don't do drugs" mom is also smashing. You'll remember her from her other awesome performance in "Fargo."

The film progresses behind the scenes of a rock concert tour that had me just waiting for that final rock chord crescendo so that I could stand up, cheer and light my lighter (if I had one). But I didn't have a lighter, and then that one flawed scene just seemed to fly out of the clear beautiful blue sky like a stalled jet plane striking the screen like nails on a chalkboard; ultimately deflating my ovation to grin.

Interestingly enough, teenage rock journalist Cameron Crowe (writer/director) tagged along after quintessential rock star Peter Frampton back in the day, who was gracious enough to coach the "Stillwater" players. Frampton chuckles, "I remember sitting with Cameron in the studio - just like William with his notepad in the film - we were fast friends from then on. And now I'm working for him."

Almost one of my top ten titles for the year, this imperfect diamond still has much to enjoy.

*** BOOKS & MUSIC by Author/Musician Ross Anthony ***

  • Almost Famous. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Angarano.
  • Written and Directed by Cameron Crowe.
  • Produced by Cameron Crowe, Ian Bryce at Dreamworks(C)2000.


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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.
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Last Modified: Thursday, 24-Feb-2011 08:41:17 PST