D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Almost Famous, 2000.
Directed by Cameron Crowe.
Starring Patrick Fugit, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson and Philip Seymour-Hoffman.
Almost Famous is the story of 15 year old aspiring writer William (Fugit) who after several articles for small publications is given the chance to tour with his heroes Stillwater and whilst writing an article for Rolling Stone. William is instantly thrown into a world of rock egos, groupies, partying and the life only a 15 year old could dream about.
Touring the country on the bands tour bus, sharing hotels with them and their groupies as well as attending parties William falls in love, loses his virginity and lives his dream. After idolising the band for so long he gets to meet them and see the real Stillwater, egos and arguments included. As the band threaten to fall apart he witnesses the struggles and tension as well as the real men behind the rock personas of lead singer Jeff (Lee) and main creative Russell (Billy Crudup), William’s favourite.
All the while William builds a strong bond with Groupie Penny (Hudson), who is in love Russell, but used by him and discarded when no longer needed. William also learns the truth, pain and reality behind Penny and why her and the other groupies do what they do with such dedication.
Almost Famous is a film based upon the experiences of its writer and director Cameron Crowe when he was touring with bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the real Stillwater in his youth. Crowe has stated he fell in love, lost his virginity and met his heroes during those times and so has pumped those experiences back into his film for a real personal and authentic feel.
The film has also given birth to an iconic scene in movie pop culture that is known as the Almost Famous moment. Russell and William split from the band so Russell can be with ‘real’ people and they end up at a high school party in which Russell climbs onto the roof. High on LSD he screams “I am a golden god” before instructing William to write that his last words were “I’m on drugs” and then he jumps from the roof into the pool. That scene has been recreated and quoted by many artists in a variety of films, TV shows and songs as they search for or achieve their own Almost Famous moment.
Almost Famous is a fantastic film that illuminates the reality behind the rock n roll and brings to life the dream of every young rock fan. It’s a film that must be seen before you die because by experiencing this story through the eyes of a 15 year old the audience is automatically transported back to a time when they dreamt of touring with their favourite band and an immediate childlike excitement enthuses all who watch.