Almost Famous (2000) Director: Cameron Crowe (15)

There's now a certain emotion to watching Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, following the sad and untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie's about destiny, what we become, and it seems so cruel that Hoffman as legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs is no longer here. He is THAT GOOD. Hoffman, and all of the cast, make Almost Famous a seminal rock film; it's up there with the greats such as This Is Spinal Tap, Gimme Shelter, Tommy and Quadrophenia. It oozes inheritance of music, the coolness of 70s rock and a young kid who wants to be a music journo. A young kid based on Cameron Crowe's own journey of writing for Rolling Stone magazine as a teenager.
Patrick Fugit plays teen writer/rock fan William Miller with initial wide-eyed innocence, through to his physical and mental growing up on the tour bus with rising star rock band Stillwater. After Bangs gives him a $35 assignment/'test' to review a Black Sabbath concert, this is where William bumps into support band Stillwater and legendary 'Band-Aid' Ms Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). Stillwater's guitarist Russell (Billy Crudup) welcomes William under his wing, and their adventures begin.
For a fictitious band, Stillwater are totally believable especially with Crudup's perfomance and forthcoming rivalry with lead singer Jeff (Jason Lee). They're all hair, beards, skinniness and rock 'n' roll swag, a heady mix of The Allman Brothers and The Eagles, and ridiciously handsome. The Band-Aids that accompany them make sense, and Hudson and Crudup equal each other in the beautiful people stakes. Lee's Jeff brings some comic relief to Almost Famous, and the plane panic scene is a wonderful piece of writing and comedy which sticks out as a 'cult' classic. And that's what makes Almost Famous soooooo good along with the performances; the writing is Class A - warm, memorable, nostalgic, poignant and capturing the heart of when we were all young. Recognising the potential of dreams in our youth, and the discovery of music - whether it's from your sister giving you her LPs, recommendations from friends, or coming across a strange looking band in a music magazine - Crowe goes straight for the heart.
So, what makes a film truly cool? As Almost Famous is realllyyyy cool. It's the look of it, the atmosphere, the beautiful people, the excesses of rock 'n' roll, the heritage, the history, the fact we all either want to be in Stillwater or on the bus with them. It's a Cameron Crowe movie that you immediately want to be part of; just like Jerry Maguire or Singles, Crowe wraps us up in a tight little friendship bubble that takes us away from our own concerns. He's as a warm as a damn fine cup of coffee or a snuggly blanket.
As Penny Lane herself would say, it's all happening.
5/5 Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer...s