Almost Famous is a 2000 musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe and telling the fictional story of a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone magazine while covering the fictitious rock band Stillwater (named for an eponymous actual band), and his efforts to get his first cover story published. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe himself was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone.
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In 1973, William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a 15-year-old aspiring rock journalist. His protective mother, Elaine (Frances McDormand), wants him to become a lawyer. Shunned by his classmates, he writes for underground papers, sharing the love of rock music instilled in him through a gift of albums left behind by his sister, Anita (Zooey Deschanel), when she leaves home in disgust over Elaine's beliefs.
William listens to an interview with rock journalist Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman). William has sent Bangs copies of his work, and Bangs gives William a $35 assignment to review a Black Sabbath concert which he considers his big break. Bangs advises William to be "honest and unmerciful," but fails to mention how to get into the show or meet the band. Without credentials, William cannot get into the San Diego Sports Arena. He meets a group of semi-groupies who call themselves "Band-Aids": Estrella Starr (Bijou Phillips), Polexia Aphrodisia (Anna Paquin), Sapphire (Fairuza Balk), and their leader, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) with whom he starts a conversation. The Band-Aids get into the show but William is still barred from entry as the opening band, Stillwater, arrives. Initially reluctant to assist a journalist, they bring William backstage after he critiques Stillwater's work. The guitarist, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), takes a liking to William.
William is driven from San Diego to Hollywood by Penny to the "Riot House", the Hollywood Hyatt Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, to meet Stillwater. Penny serves as William's chauffeur, but only to get close to Russell, for whom she has genuine feelings and shares a past relationship. William is called by Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen), editor of Rolling Stone, who wants him to do a story for their magazine. Ben believes William is several years older than he really is, and William convinces Ben to let him go on the road with Stillwater to get a story. To this end, William rides with Stillwater and the Band-Aids aboard "Doris", the band's bus, promising to keep in contact with his mother. William desires to interview each member of Stillwater separately. However, William finds Russell's evasion of interviews increasingly frustrating. William is introduced by Penny to another groupie, Beth (Olivia Rosewood), who is "one of the legendary, original Band-Aids", and hails from Denver. Russell receives an electric shock onstage in Phoenix, which infuriates their manager, Dick Roswell (Noah Taylor), causing them to abandon the show. In Topeka, Kansas, a t-shirt showing Russell in focus with the rest of the band out of focus sparks an argument between lead singer Jeff (Jason Lee) and Russell. Russell and William leave, going to a teenage house party so Russell can be with people who are "real". Tripping on LSD, Russell climbs onto the roof, screaming "I am a golden god!" and instructing William to write that his last words were "I'm on drugs!" before jumping into the pool. William
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