“Almost Famous” shaped my love for film and music

How this coming-of-age film grew up with me

Courtesy+of+IMDb

Courtesy of IMDb

By Jenna Arruda, Collegian Staff

Over Thanksgiving break, I rewatched some of my favorite movies, one of which was the film “Almost Famous.” This is the perfect movie from the plot, cast, setting and the soundtrack. I didn’t realize until rewatching how much it shaped my appreciation for movies.

Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson, playing William and Penny respectively, illustrate the varied experiences within the same story. William comes from a sheltered life where he dreams of writing for Rolling Stone magazine. Penny’s homelife is unclear and she calls herself a ‘Band-Aid’ — rather than a groupie — for bands in the 1970s.

From my first watch, I remember how much I loved the character of Penny Lane. She had a mystical and carefree lifestyle and I dreamed of living through the ‘70s band era. However I resonated with William, a shy music loving kid who wanted to write about his passion.

When initially seeing ”Almost Famous,” the film felt like a hug. I knew these characters and saw their struggles, faults and kindness. I appreciated how it felt like watching a real band from the ‘70s. It is only after rewatching that I can appreciate the creativity of the film.

Growing up, I knew only the most famous songs from the ‘70s. During my recent re-watch, I realized how much of the soundtrack I regularly listen to now. My music taste has always been eclectic, but I have a soft spot for the classics.

From Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the soundtrack has a vast range artists. The music in “Almost Famous” completes the experience and dives into the decade of music, love and drugs.

The “Tiny Dancer” scene highlights how the film perfectly incorporates music into the film. After Billy comes down from his high, the band Band-Aids and William sit quietly in the van, while heading to their next stop.

The beginning of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” plays and everyone slowly starts to sing along until everyone is belting out the song. For a single minute, they are all united. William considers how he got here, but he needs to go home. To this Penny replies, “You are home.” Three simple words, yet it is true for the moment, as they find a home in the music.

“Almost Famous” is a perfect example of a coming-of-age film. I love a rom-com or the quirky main character, but the normality of the main character is what seals the deal for me. The film made me appreciate a character for their faults and insecurities. The cinematography of the concert scenes and van scenes alone can make any film-nerd appreciate this film.

This film made me realize I could write about the things I love too (especially music). A film I randomly played around five years ago impacted my life in so many ways. From music inspiration, clothing envy, moving film scenes, to a jealousy I couldn’t be a girl in the ‘70s.

Jenna Arruda can be reached at [email protected]