By Anthony Miele | March 22, 2001

Still perplexed over the box office, as well as critical success, of one of the most overrated films of the 90’s, “Jerry Maguire,” great trepidation was brought to the viewing of Cameron Crowe’s latest piece, “Almost Famous”. This fact alone makes it all the more surprising to report that Crowe has succeeded in creating a film that is now, and will be, one of the year’s best.
The semi-autobiographical storyline is about the rise of a young “Rolling Stone” rock reporter William Miller, played by Patrick Fugit with a brilliant subtlety that is rarely seen in big-time movie making today. Billy Crudup is convincing as Russell Hammond, the lead guitarist of an up-and-coming rock band, “Stillwater,” whom Miller is assigned to interview.
Frances McDormand gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the overbearing, yet lovable mother. Kate Hudson captures the perfect blend of an airy lightheartedness with a mystical persona and Jason Lee is easily the most enjoyable, pompous rock star ever recorded on celluloid.
All of these terrific performances aside, it is the chemistry that is shared throughout each and every character that is so remarkable. This is where the film triumphs on a higher level…in fact, on an Oscar-caliber level.
Unfortunately, the act of drawing attention to any singular performance seems to almost undermine the effectiveness of the cast as a whole, since it is the outstanding interrelationships formed that are so effective in the overall presentation.
“Almost Famous” is, well … almost perfect on numerous levels. As a straight narrative, it contains a tight, gripping structure that grabs the viewer and holds their interest throughout. As a character study, every portrayal is believable as well as likable, and as a “coming of age” story, each person goes through a full and complete arc that is satisfying and worth the time invested.
Look for “Almost Famous” to receive at least a few Oscar nominations, including Frances McDormand in a supporting role, and nods for screenplay, director and picture.

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