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1001 Overlooked Movies - Almost Famous (2000)

Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical tale of his early years writing for Rolling Stone magazine.


Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Noah Taylor, Philip Seymour Hoffman


‘Almost Famous’ is the ultimate coming-of-age film that follows a young man named William (Fugit), and William loves rock and roll. His over-protective mother (McDormand), who already has driven his older sister (Deschanel) away, is always loving as she constantly reminds her son, “Don’t take drugs!”. She spends most of the film desperately trying to keep it together, while her son does God knows what with rock stars, and once she cracks, she exclaims, “Rock stars have kidnapped my son!”. His sister, the “yes” person, left when she turned 18 to become a stewardess so she could go out and live her life, but not before leaving her collection of rock albums to set young William free from their over-bearing mother. While on the road, William’s friend, legendary rock writer, Lester Bangs (Hoffman), tries to guide him and gives him advice about the “Industry of cool.”, basically becoming Williams rock in this new world of parties and band-aids.
 At the beginning, William’s life is exceptionally ordinary, but after writing a couple rock articles for an underground paper he gets an offer to write an article about an up-and-coming band, Stillwater, for Rolling Stone Magazine. The catch is, he has to go on the road with the band and he is only 15. After getting permission from his mother, he hits the road and quickly falls for both the lifestyle and another young girl who goes by the name Penny Lane (Hudson). While he navigates unfamiliar waters with new love, he also has a job to do that becomes increasingly more difficult as he is running out of time, and he doesn't want his new friends to come off in his writing as “uncool.”
The cast is a delightful ensemble of actors who embody their characters so fully that I find myself caring, even though on second thought, you don’t know much about all of them. The script, which is somewhat based on writer/director Cameron Crowe’s real life events on the road, writing for Rolling Stone, is an extremely loving and endearing story that genuinely cares for its characters. And, of course, being a film about rock and roll, it has an amazing soundtrack that enhances all the feelings on screen exponentially. After seeing this, Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer' will be more powerful than ever before.
I have yet to meet a single person with bad feelings toward this film, and it is among my personal all-time favorites. It is a truly amazing journey about friendship, love, hate, and rock and roll. See this film. See it as soon and as often as possible! It is the ultimate coming of age story and you will not regret seeing it.


The official '1001 Movies List' includes the following movies from 2000 - Nine Queens, The Captive, In the Mood For Love, Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets, Gladiator, Kippur, Yi Yi, Requiem For a Dream, Amores Perros, Meet the Parents, Signs & Wonders, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Traffic, The Gleaners & I, Memento, Dancer in the Dark, O Brother Where Art Thou?


Andy Comer

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