Almost Famous (2000), written and directed by Cameron Crowe, is an honest look into the life of rock’n’roll stars in the 70s. William Miller (Patrick Fugit), a young writer for Rolling Stone Magazine, follows a band called Stillwater around the country as he steps away from the boundaries of his regimented life. The film is loosely based on Cameron Crowe’s life, who also wrote for Rolling Stone magazine, and the band Stillwater, is a composite band of all the musicians he wrote about during his travels. While being awarded two Golden Globes and nominated for numerous awards, Almost Famous breaks the rules of screenplay.
Early in the movie William befriends the editor of Creem Magazine, Lester Bangs, a music fanatic who likes to hear his own voice. A common rule of screenplay is to have short dialogue between all the characters in the scene. However, as Lester and William have a meeting about music in the café, Lester does all the talking. The scene is approximately three minutes long and besides a few three-word lines, William hardly talks at all. Although this defies the rule of screenplay, this sets up the expectations of the audience for William’s life to go haywire when thrown into the rock scene. Lester says, “You came at a bad time for rock’n’roll, the war is over.” Near the end of the movie this battle between the infamous passionate metal and conveyor belt metal comes to a head when the band Stillwater doubles their shows, abandons their bus, and flies to a new city nearly every day, all for the money.
The most heart-throbbing scene is when no one does any talking at all except for two lines by William and Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) near the end. Tiny Dancerby Elton John, plays in the background as the audience watches a montage of the bus on the road and the members of Stillwater relaxing after an argument about the band t-shirts which only featured Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). William says he has to go home, one of the repeated lines throughout the movie. Penny Lane leans over and says, “You are home.” It takes three words to sum up what it’s like to be on the road in the 70s.
Absolutely my favourite movie for the richness of culture and Crowe’s atypical screenplay. The story is not only about William Miller, or Cameron Crowe, and how he got started as a writer, but how he influenced the people around him. William’s character only changes a fraction, although he experiences a lot of new things such as love, sex, and drugs, but he changed the outcome of Penny Lane’s suicide and Russell Hammond’s morals. William was able to find deeper meaning in rock’n’roll beyond the groupies and throw-down parties. A story about accomplishing dreams, big and small, and as Penny Lane puts it, “It’s all happening.”