"Almost Famous" is an American movie from 2000, so this one is almost 20 years old already, maybe more depending on when you read this review. The writer and director is Cameron Crowe and (not only) because he won an Oscar for his screenplay here, this is probably his most known career effort. Critics probably also say this was when he peaked and long before he came up with stuff like Aloha. In any case, in the tradition of this one here, he recently worked on a rock band centered television show. Anyway back to this one here: There's several versions and the one I saw is the longest at over 2 hours and 30 minutes, the director's cut. You could certainly say that for most cast members here that is their career-defining effort, some even have not really been in anything else fairly famous. Lead actor Patrick Fugit is sort of the best example. Then again, while he does give a good child performance, he is really only the vehicle to the actors and characters around him making their marks. This is especially true for the two Oscar-nominated actresses here. Frances McDormand was quite good, at times maybe Oscar-deserving playing his worried mother with a hang to superbly correct spelling and grammar. How dare you even write X-Mas? I think she made the character her own with the approach she gave the role. The opposite is Kate Hudson who was probably the one closer to the Oscar because of her Golden Globe win. I still think McDormand was better. But Hudson probably played the more memorable character and that's why she got this attention, like a pretty specific brand of music/band fans who are partially like groupies, but not really because they mostly care for the success of the band and not just for being "prostitutes for the road" or making quick money. I think there it was basically a perfect casting choice and the character was perfect for her. Still she gave a pretty good performance, no denying. Quite a shame though she was wasted mostly in romantic comedies afterwards, and mostly not good ones. Her career could have been a lot more honestly. Aside from that, i want to give a special mention to the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman whose immense talent was more than visible here already and even if he only played a minor character, he sure left his mark and made the guy pretty memorable.
So overall, with the quality movies about Queen (Mercury), Elton John and others hitting theaters these days, you could definitely say that this one here is ahead of its time. I am not superbly impressed, but I was kinda surprised how quickly these not too far from 3 hours flew by eventually. There are serious moments that involve the (potential) death of several characters and even if these do not turn out as tragic as you may have thought, mostly thanks to the intervention of a teenage boy, it's still slightly shocking material. I must say I perceived the potential tragedy at the swimming pool as more dramatic than the overdose scene about Penny Lane, even if the latter went longer, but that is just personal perception. I think this film gives a good, sometimes even great, insight into the touring life of rock musicians back in the day. Of course, some of it is a bit over the top like that they almost have a fatal plane crash the first or during one of the first times when they take the airplane instead of the regular bus, but there is a lot more good than bad. Yes maybe these confessions there in the face of death do not feel too realistic (like come on really the gay guy? Nah) but they fit in well in the sense of "show must go on" and they stick together in the end despite what they told each other, which does seem realistic, even if the band members hate each other more than ever at that point. Also what I liked were the power struggles in terms of record companies and the representatives they send and pop culture references like the Rolling Stone cover or discussion about certain band members standing out in terms of talent compared to others.
Now you already see I say virtually nothing about the young main character although there were no long sequences with him missing. But I gave you the reason earlier already. He's there and at the same time he isn't. Like in the film he is basically an observer and interviewer, but not the star and so does he feel to audiences as well. Nonetheless I did not really like his key story in the sense of how they see him as an influential journalist and it feels kinda tough to believe that he wins everybody over so quickly with his talent, like not just the RS, but also for example the older musician he is hand-shaking with early on already and that he meets later again briefly. Still it is okay, he is not bad or anything and you don't really have to make a connection with him to appreciate the film. It's a good outcome all in all. I don't think it is as great as many say or think it is and also not among the best from 2000, but it's still worth seeing, especially for people interested in music from the past decades. Thumbs up. Watch it. Nice music, a quality script and strong performances all around can only result in a positive recommendation from me here.