Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Entertaining and enlightening

"ALMOST FAMOUS" is a rock movie, but it's also a film about journalism.
I watched the 2000 film by CAMERON CROWE last night on DVD.

Patrick Fugit plays William Miller, a Crowe-esque teenager who gains access to a band's tour so he can chronicle their exploits for Rolling Stone magazine.

On the surface, it appears the groupies, drugs and general rock debauchery are the biggest risks Miller faces. In fact, it's his growing friendship with lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) that poses the biggest threat.

"You cannot make friends with the rock stars," the mentoring rock critic Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tells Miller at the beginning of the youngster's quest to become a journalist. "They are not your friends. These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of the rock stars, and they will ruin rock and roll and strangle everything we love about it."

As the band (the fictitious Stillwater) slowly finds itself immersed in the grip of corporate rock (adding a high-profile manager and a jet instead of a tour bus), so Miller finds himself becoming haunted by what he wants to do (strengthen his friendship with the band) and what he must do (record what is happening free of bias).

It was entertaining and enlightening watching "Almost Famous." I just can't believe the film is a decade old already.