Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Almost Famous

2000 coming-of-age rock and roller

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Underaged wannabe rock journalist William stumbles into the opportunity of a lifetime--a chance to follow around and interview up-and-coming rock 'n' roll monsters Stillwater. He meets a groupie called Penny Lane (apparently that's a song by the Beach Boys or something) and a friendship develops while he struggles to get the sit-down interview he wants with the band members so that he can turn in his story on time. He turns to Lester Bangs for advice.

I think I really like this movie so much because of its honesty. Writer/director Cameron Crowe based this on his own experiences, and it really has the feel of a memoir more than a Hollywood movie. It helps that the performances from top to bottom are so good, especially with Patrick Fugit as the kid, a role that Bud Cortt would have probably fit in nicely, Frances McDormand as his concerned mother (she is really really good, especially when pointing out the drug's in Paul Simon's eyes), Billy Crudup as Stillwater's frontman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Bangs. And Kate Hudson playing Drew Barrymore or vice versa. I can't see Kate Hudson without thinking of Goldie Hawn's posterior, by the way, which I imagine is the way most men's brains operate. But back to that realness--this never feels scripted to me, and the actions and growing pains of that fictional rock band ring true. Fugit's like a straight man to the shenanigans of the more interesting characters, but his character's still the heart of the story and I like how he develops throughout. I also like Fugit's chemistry with everybody else in this movie--his mother, the girl, the Stillwater guitarist. Almost Famous has a lot of humor and heart, and when you add a great soundtrack to this well-paced story, you've got yourself a winner.

Note: A Urine Couch movie club viewing that was heavily interrupted by customers and Gene Siskel's faulty ghost bladder. Maybe get yourself a medium Pepsi next time, Gene?

Another thing: First of two movies with Zooey Deschanel that I watched on the Urine Couch, breaking my previous record of zero.

1 comment:

cory said...

Well that's not true. You loved her in that Christmas classic, "Elf" (wish you would have watched "500 Days of Summer" after this so you could have had a trifecta).

Good review of "Almost Famous". There is a great blend of poignancy, music, and humor. Actors are great when you don't expect them to be (how would Kate Hudson and Cruddup be remembered if they had tragically died after this film?) The movie does a perfect job of putting the audience into the boy's shoes in a great coming-of-age story. Also a 17.