I have wanted to see ALMOST FAMOUS for quite some time. Not only because I love Frances McDormand, but also because I really thought the storyline was good. Then, all of a sudden it started getting nominated for huge awards. It even won two Golden Globe Awards, including one for Best Picture (comedy). Finally, while working on a set for TEEN MOVIE, I met the guy that played Dingo in ALMOST FAMOUS. (Unfortunately, the scene with Dingo wound up on the cutting room floor, but he still received his credit at the end.)
After two months of promising that I would watch ALMOST FAMOUS, our neighbor bought it. He watched it, and then offered it to us for the evening. My husband and I were thrilled to be able to finally watch it! After all, we only had to go down the stairs to get it, not across town to BlockBuster.
ALMOST FAMOUS, written by director Cameron Crowe, is a fictionalized account of his career at Rolling Stone Magazine when he was a teenager. It sounded terrific to me. I could hardly wait to pop it into the VCR.
Sadly enough, my favorite part of the entire movie was the beginning. Frances McDormand, who plays the mother of William, neglects to tell her son that he is only eleven years old. William believes that he is older, as hes in a higher grade. The child is finally told, and he completely freaks out in the back of the car. It was HYSTERICAL! The Mother is a college professor, and insists that rock and roll, red meat, and other things are evil. The two children, William and his sister, are not allowed to partake in any of it. Finally, Williams sister leaves to become a flight attendant, but gives William her record collection before stranding him with their over-protective mother. And so Williams love for rock and roll is born.
Four years later, William (Patrick Fugit) is in high school, writing music reviews for a local magazine, Creem. He becomes friends with Lester Bangs, an odd DJ at a local radio station who is also a music critic, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Rolling Stone Magazine reads several of his reviews and decides to offer William a reporter position, following the band Still Water during their tour. William convinces his mother that he will be gone for a mere four days and will be home in time for graduation from high school.
While on tour, William meets Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) and her pack of groupies, known as the Band-Aids. Penny is in love with Russell (Billy Crudup), the married guitarist for Still Water. Of course, William falls in love with Penny along the course of their friendship.
ALMOST FAMOUS follows the roller coaster ride of being on tour, and does so rather well. It covers nearly everything: travel, eating, relationships, friendships, Williams assignment, feelings about home But it only touches on the performances itself a couple of times. I would have liked to have seen more of that. It would have been nice to demonstrate how the fan base grew for the fledgling band.
Even though I liked Kate Hudson in this film, I really dont think that she should have been nominated for an Oscar, especially next to Frances McDormand. McDormand, in my opinion, was the absolute best actor in the film, closely followed by Jason Lee.
The script was well written, the direction was excellent, and the cinematography was fabulous. I didnt buy the chemistry between any of the cast, however. Personally, I would have cast Topher Grace (Eric on That 70s Show) as William. Maybe that would have added a bit to the chemistry, as I think Grace is a much better actor than Fugit. After all, if youre going to go all out and cast Jason Lee, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Frances McDormand, why on Earth would you cast a newcomer in the lead role? Fugit paled in comparison to the rest of the cast.
Overall, I was a tad disappointed by ALMOST FAMOUS. I thought I was going to see a film that I was going to talk about for quite a long time. Instead, I saw a film that was mediocre at best. I recommend it if theres nothing better to rent. If you havent seen it and really want to, go ahead. Youll feel let down like I did.
Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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