Following its initial release in 2001, “Almost Famous” is a coming of age movie that continues to increase in popularity despite its age. I can still recall the first time I watched this film. Little did I know it would have impacted my decision to study journalism. Who knows, without this movie I might not be here writing this review for you.
Loosely based on Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe’s teen years, “Almost Famous” follows the fictional character William Miller (Patrick Fugit) as he leaves home to follow the band Stillwater for his first assignment with Rolling Stone Magazine. William finds himself on an unexpected journey full of rockstars and parties all while his mother Elaine (Frances McDormand) worries about his whereabouts back at home.
As a lover of all things music and the 1970s, I gave this movie a watch solely for aesthetics. “Almost Famous” taught me a lot more than I thought I would learn just by watching an old movie from the early 2000s. It helped me with my indecisiveness about choosing a major, and it really launched me into my love and appreciation for journalism. It taught me to always stay true to yourself and that it’s good to embrace being “uncool.”
One thing that I think really makes this movie truly timeless is the group of characters. Each with their own problems and lessons to learn, the characters are truly lovable and hard to forget. From Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), each character has a shining line or piece of advice that has stuck with me since my first viewing.
Another thing that made me fall for this movie was the soundtrack. Set in the ‘70s, the “Almost Famous” soundtrack is full of songs by famous musicians from that time period. One thing the film is known for is bringing popularity to Elton John’s song “Tiny Dancer.” Even John himself credits the film for the song’s success decades after its flop of a release in 1971.
After a huge fallout in Stillwater between the band and the guitarist Russel Hammond (Billy Crudup), the song is used as a harmonious moment of coming together as the whole tour bus joins in for the chorus. The fictional band in the movie, Stillwater, also has some pretty good songs that make the soundtrack. “Fever Dog” by Stillwater is worth a listen and definitely sounds like it could be a song you’d hear when flipping through rock stations in the ‘70s.
Overall, I have a major soft spot for this film, but I think I would love it just as much even if I weren’t pursuing journalism. Penny Lane was right when she said, “it’s all happening,” and the hype of “Almost Famous” is happening all over again just 20 years later, as it should.