Almost Famous is a surprisingly sweet (considering it’s about rock n’ roll)coming of age movie written and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film is a fictionalized autobiographical sketch of Crowe’s own experiences as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone magazine. Crowe has a true knack for bringing the viewer into the mind of the young William Miller. In the film, Crowe explores all of the joys of adolescence and rock n’ roll: sex and drugs, and mixes into the lot family values, awkward teenagers, true friendship and various forms of the power and meaning of love.
Crowe put together a superb cast, which includes Francis McDormand, Billy Crudup as the heroic Russell Hammond, Jason Lee as Jeff Bebe, and Zoey Deschanel. But the stand out performances goes to Kate Hudson as Penny Lane. Hudson imbues the character with just the right blend of soft sweetness and hard-edged bad girl flavor. She brings to the character a quality that even the most cold heated person will find difficult not to fall head over heels for. Her performance in Almost Famous shows great promise; too bad she followed it up with a string of poor romantic comedies. Here’s hoping her new movie, The Skeleton Key, will be worth her time and talent. Also worthy of mention is Jason Lee. This guy captures the sprit of Jeff Bebe like no other actor could. As always his line delivery is excellent and delivers quite a few chuckles. Check out his new sitcom, My Name is Earl, coming this fall.
“One day, you’ll be cool.” – Anita Miller (Zooey Deschanel)
“Does anybody remember laughter?” (Fairuza Balk)
“I’m on drugs!” – Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup)
“I look for the guy who’s not getting off and I make him get off! That, you can print!” Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee)
“The Virgin must die!”
Next Week: 8 Femmes
UPDATE: I originally wrote this review in August of 2005. Since then, I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Crudup, who portrayed Russell Hammond in the film. He was super nice and took time to talk to me when he didn’t have to. We hear so many negative stories about celebrities, so I just wanted to put that positive note our there.