Thursday, March 7, 2013

Retro Review: Almost Famous (2000)

                                          A Masterpiece 'Almost' Too Good To Be True

                         At my dad's advice, I decided to create a segment of reviews for films released before this decade known as Retro Reviews. So, I figured I'd start off with one of my favorite movies of all time: Almost Famous.

                      A semi-autobiographical film about writer Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous is about a young journalist named William Miller (Patrick Fugit) who is given an assignment from Rolling Stone magazine to accompany a rising band named Stillwater on their tour. As he goes on the tour, he escapes his overbearing mother (Frances McDormand) and falls in love with Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), who is a muse to the band's lead singer Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup).

                      What I Liked About It:
                     While I enjoyed everything about this movie, one thing that I really loved is the music. I loved the songs picked for the soundtrack from such artists as Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Who. Plus, I thought it was cool how the composer of the film is Nancy Wilson from the band of Heart, and I thought she did a nice job. I especially loved the bus scene where everyone in unison sang "Tiny Dancer".

                      Not only did I love the acting, but I loved the development of characters as well. Billy Crudup gives a very good performance as Russell Hammond, who you want to like at first, but it becomes difficult because of his emotional aloofness. Kate Hudson easily delivers the best performance of her career as the free-spirited yet emotionally vulnerable Penny Lane. Patrick Fugit gives a very earnest performance as the protagonist William Miller, and I especially loved the scenes between him and Hudson, as they had some delightful chemistry. Frances McDormand is outstanding as William's mother Elaine and even adds some comedic depth to her performance. Despite his limited screen time, Philip Seymour Hoffman gives an impressive, scene-stealing performance as rock journalist Lester Bangs. I even loved Zooey Deschanel's small role as William's sister Anita, as her character reminded me of my own sister, who got me into the music from that era.

                    What I Didn't Like About It:

                   Overall, Almost Famous is a touching coming-of-age dramedy that even people who don't like rock-n-roll can enjoy. But if you love rock-n-roll, you will fall in this movie as much as I did. When I watch this movie, it just makes me want to go back in time and visit the 70's.

Rating: 5/5