Almost Famous (2000)
Director: Cameron Crowe
For the 100th Quick Daily Review I knew I wanted to pick I movie that I not only loved, but had been important to me in my formative movie watching years, and in my life in general. Almost Famous is just such a movie. It tells the story of William Miller (Patrick Fugit) a 15 year old kid who winds up on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, covering an up and coming rock band during what critic Lester Bangs (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) calls the dying days of Rock N’ Roll. Along the way Miller falls in love with a “groupie” (although she would object to the term) named Penny played by Kate Hudson, who is also in a relationship of convenience with the band’s lead singer Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). There is so much to love about this movie. Every character is fully developed and brings many wrinkles to the pictures. I was around the age as the Miller character when I first saw this movie, and as a fellow young aspiring writing, he was a perfect muse for me. I also drew much inspiration from the real-life character of Lester Bangs, (Let it Blurt by Jim DeRogatis is an excellent biography of Lester by the way) who was for me as a writer what John Belushi was to many aspiring actor/comedians, that being both an inspirational figure and a cautionary tale/manic mess. This movie had everything for me as a teenager, a likable and relatable lead teenager, a fascinating story that gave me a peak into a strange odyssey of a world, and did it all to a soundtrack that I still adore to this day. Cameron Crow directed this with great nostalgic flair, and every actor here, from the ones already mentioned to others such as Frances McDormand who plays William’s mother, to Zoey Deschanel who plays his sister, does a fabulous job at portraying real three dimensional people caught within the struggles of everyday life while trying to find inspiration through the music of the times. Roger Ebert described this best as a 20th century version of Huck Finn, only instead of a lazy river this one is set on a wild Rock N’ Roll tour bus.
Daily Inquiry: What movies were the most important to you as a child/teenager?