Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, has something for everyone. It’s about a 15 year old boy with a very overprotective mother who goes on the road with a rock n’ roll band so he can write an article about them for Rolling Stone. In addition to the allure of the basic concept–being 15, hanging out with rock stars and groupies, and writing for one of America’s top music magazines–the movie has a lot to offer.
The cast is incredible. Frances McDormand once again proves herself to be one of Hollywood’s most capable actresses, and definitely deserves recognition for her incredible performance. Billy Crudup does a great job at playing the humble talent. Kate Hudson manages to portray just the right mix of good girl and bad girl. Patrick Fugit is perfect as the kid thrown into a situation he’s clearly not ready for. And that’s just the major characters; the cast is rounded out by Jason Lee, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Bijou Phillips, and Phillip Symour Hoffman.
The plot sounds like something that could never work. It’s a combination of road comedy, buddy movie, rockumentary, coming-of-age movie, and love story. It seems like all these elements should blend together to make the movie an unwatchable mess, but somehow Crowe pulls it off. The dialogue and characters are great, and the soundtrack falls just short of incredible.
What would make this movie perfect? More Jason Lee. Lee is one of the funniest actors around, but is basically a background character in Almost Famous. There are several opportunities for Lee to give one of his trademark rants, but the sheer amount of movie that needs to be squeezed into a couple hours always cuts him short. I think it would have been worth the extra fifteen minutes, personally.
Lots of fun, even (and maybe especially) if you’re uncool. Could have have used more Jason Lee rants.