By Scott Ross
Probably the best rock’n’roll movie ever made. (Which sounds like damning with faint praise, but isn’t.) Cameron Crowe’s loving re-creation of his own adolescent experience as a fledgling reporter trailing a rising rock band is rendered with affection, expansive and good-natured humor, and a painful sense of innocence lost. Patrick Fugit, 18 when the film was released but looking more like 14, is stunningly good as Crowe’s alter ego. With Billy Crudup as the band’s somewhat amoral leader, Frances McDormand as Fugit’s smothering yet eminently likeable mother, Philip Seymour Hoffman in a couple of delicious cameos as the late rock critic Lester Bangs, and Kate Hudson, giving a luminous, revelatory and ultimately heart-ripping performance as the band’s notorious chief groupie, Penny Lane. Best seen in the expanded DVD release, Untitled: Almost Famous—the Bootleg Cut.
Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross