Hollywood Rewind | Almost famous: rock bands, music journalism and the pursuit of dreams

There are many movies about rock stars and famous people. But what about a fictional band that’s about to take the music world by storm, with a teenage rock journalist in tow? Almost Famous is about Stillwater, one of those bands whose lead guitarist and lead vocalist animosity smolders in the shadows, and his own band of groupies. Almost Famous has all the makings of a stereotypical rock band movie, but what sets it apart is our protagonist – William Miller (a wonderful Patrick Fugit), all 15, son of a strict teacher (Frances McDormand), who doesn’t want any pop culture influencing her children.

Due to their mother’s overbearing ways, William’s 18-year-old sister Anita takes off one day to become a flight attendant, and he inherits her secret pile of music tapes and vinyl featuring artists. known and influential. And just like that, William decides to become a rock journalist. His destiny changes completely when he meets the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character, Lester Bangs. A journalist himself, Bangs offers William his first mission: to review a Black Sabbath concert. Soon, William made contact with Rolling Stone magazine, who asked him to go on tour with Stillwater and cover them for an upcoming feature film. Chaos, drama and romance follow.

Watching Almost Famous is like watching a hot cube of butter on a crusty, toasted piece of bread. Despite all the raging hormones of its characters, the film left me with a sense of nostalgia and comfort. Chasing dreams, falling in love with someone for the first time, and experiencing heartbreak are universal emotions, which everyone usually experiences on some level. What certainly adds to the charm of Almost Famous is its sharp dialogue, compelling performances (particularly by a remarkable Kate Hudson as Penny Lane), and a sublime soundtrack to go along with it all.

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An interesting trivia for movie buffs is that Almost Famous is partly autobiographical. Yes, it turns out that filmmaker Cameron Crowe had covered and traveled with famous rock bands of the day, including Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd when he was just 16 himself. ‘never interviewed by people your age.’ Really, I always felt like as a journalist, I had a front row seat and wanted to serve all the people like me who wanted to be front row. I wanted to be a fly on the wall and bring that experience back to the fans and followers of the bands I was writing about,” the acclaimed writer-director said in an interview with Rolling Stone while celebrating 20 years of Almost Famous. . birthday last year. And what Crowe did, and how.

You can stream Almost Famous on Netflix.

Virginia F. Goins