In the end—after William follows the band from Cleveland to Topeka to Greeneville to New York City, babysits Russell Hammond through a bad acid trip (the “I am a golden god!” scene), falls in love with Penny Lane and out-of-love, at least a little, with Hammond, writes in the quiet of a hotel bath tub, endures a “deflowering” at the hands of Lane’s fellow non-groupies, rescues Lane from a quaallude OD, and misses his high school graduation—William gets (thanks to the crafty, big-hearted Penny Lane) that interview with Hammond…

WILLIAM MILLER: So, Russell, what do you love about music?

RUSSELL HAMMOND: To begin with, everything.

…and, finally, the cover of Rolling Stone:

Almost Famous, chock full though it is of journalistic relics (although, Creem is mounting a newsstand comeback!), was no mawkish nostalgia trip for Crowe; it is a story—an Oscar-winning screen play— about relationships, trust, money and motivation, told with heart, told in scenes, in moments (when a certain sort of music was having its moment). One such moment—memorable, at least, for those who work in journalism—comes when Stillwater’s lead singer, enraged after being reached by a Rolling Stone fact-checker and realizing that, in William’s story, the bandmates look “like buffoons,” screams (to the band, himself, the universe): “He was never a person! He was a journalist!”

And here, one more moment (cue those goose bumps):

Last week: The Big Clock

Next up: Ace in the Hole

If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of 10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.


More in Critical Eye

The Big Clock (1948)

Read More »

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.