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lMovie Review
"Almost Famous"
By Mira Harber
     Writer, director Cameron Crowe introduces us to his 15- year-old journalistic-alter ego in Almost Famous, a semi-autobiographical ode to rock n roll.
     This movie brings back the late 1960s,  early 1970s for anyone who was there (or can still remember that far back!). If you liked the music of that time, and a good, simple yarn, this is the movie for you.
     Crowe had incredibly good luck, and a couple of mentor/angels watching out for him as he begins his journey towards becoming a writer for Rolling Stone magazine and eventually a film-maker (Jerry Maguire was his last film).
     His mother is played by the incomparable Frances McDormand. She's a spirited, open-minded university professor who loves her son enough to let him leave home and school in San Diego to follow a band on the verge of making it big. Before he begins his journey he meets rock critic Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the best, if not THE best character actors currently working on stage and screen) Bangs edited Creem magazine and wrote for both Rolling Stone & The Village Voice. It's 1973 and corporate greed and corruption have ruined rock nroll as far as he's concerned. This man is a purist and he truly loves the music. He's inspiring to a young, fledging critic and is always there to guide and help the young man find his way as a critic.
     William, our hero, goes on tour with the band Stillwater and is mesmerized by their talented lead guitarist, Russell (Billy Crudup) and his girlfriend, the 'Band-Aid', Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). His dilemma as he spends more and more time with the band is, should he write what he really sees happening? Or should he write a piece of fluff about his new friends? This is presented as a real moral dilemma, and if anything, this is the main problem with the movie - there really is no dilemma - if William writes a real, tough article, well guess what?He gets the cover story on Rolling Stone - pretty good when you're only fifteen.
     The relationship between the star-struck teenager and the guitarist is interesting - is he just an egotistical ass, or a decent, talented artist? His girlfriend is not just a groupie, but a 'Band-Aid', she really LOVES the music, and the artists who perform it. Kate Hudson (daughter of Goldie Hawn) is excellent in her angelic, sweet & sexy way. She and the other Band-Aids reassure William's mom that they're all watching out for him, and "dont worry, he's still a virgin". This of course isn't the case by the end of the movie, but isn't that part of what rock n roll is all about ?
     Peter Frampton was the key music consultant to the movie, and Nancy Wilson of Heart (she's married to the movie's director) wrote all the songs and lyrics with Crowe.
Patrick Fugit plays the 15- year-old critic William, and he is a marvel. He plays no false notes in this film, and is an absolute delight. He's like the movie actually - funny and sweet.
     Billy Crudup may finally become a star because of this role. I hope that in the future he shows more of himself to the camera -I find him a little elusive emotionally and I think this is what has stopped him up until now from becoming a big star.
     All in all, if you like rock n roll, go see this sweet slice of a movie. It's charming and heartwarming, and I mean that in a nice way. The music is good, sometimes great, and the semi-satirical moments that enter the movie, especially when the egomaniacal lead singer (Jason Lee) let loose, bring back fond memories of This is Spinal Tap. Have fun at Almost Famous - you won't be able to help yourself.

 
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