It was 20 years ago--September 13, 2000, to be exact--when modern rock movie classic, Almost Famous, was released in theaters across the country. Starring Kate Hudson, Bill Crudup, Zooey Deschanel, Patrick Fugit and Frances McDormand, Cameron Crowe's tale of an aspiring young writer scoring the assignment of a lifetime to profile the band Stillwater struck a chord with viewers able to see themselves in the film's myriad characters.
Debuting at #8 after the opening weekend with over $2.3 million at the box office, strong reviews and positive word of mouth kicked the film all the way up to #3 for the next two weeks. By mid-October 2000, however, the movie was considered to be something of a flop.
"Seeing Cameron Crowe’s entertaining ode to his days as a 1970s teen rock journalist, you’d think: Hit. And a profitable one because, with no stars, it certainly couldn’t have cost much," wrote the L.A Times in October 200. "Neither is turning out to be true. One of the best-reviewed movies of the year, Almost Famous has failed to find an audience. Worse, the coming-of-age drama cost more than $60 million to produce." Things were so bad that Crowe couldn't be convinced to speak to the press about the mediocre box office receipts.
Crowe and the movie's cast would be vindicated, however, upon the arrival of awards season. Almost Famous snagged four Academy Awards nominations, including both Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand earning noms in the Best Supporting Actress category. The film was also up for Best Editing, and Best Screenplay - Original. The movie's only Oscar win that year was for Best Screenplay.
Kate Hudson won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at that year's Golden Globes, and the movie's soundtrack LP took the Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album.
Now considered an American rock classic, the movie's principal's took to social media over the weekend to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Almost Famous:
Thanks to everybody for this wonderful 20th Anniversary for Almost Famous!! I'll always remember this moment, just after the last shot in Central Park. With love and huge appreciation for the cast and crew and all our friends... pic.twitter.com/w1ocuvjBB7— Cameron Crowe (@CameronCrowe) September 13, 2020
One person who's definitely not celebrating: Pamela Des Barres, the woman Kate Hudson loosely portrays in the movie, "Penny Lane." The legendary rock groupie spoke to Vulture about Almost Famous recently, and she did not hold back, especially in regards to the character's suicide attempt after being traded to the band Humble Pie for $50 and a case of beer: "(It's) a horribly misogynistic look at what a groupie-muse is," she fumed. "This character, the groupie like she’s portrayed, is pathetic. I knew all the main groupies in the heyday of groupiedom. None of them would have done that. There was always someone else coming to town. That really turned me off. No actual music-loving goddess-groupie would do such a thing. I was always of age. I was always taken care of. I was always treated well. Everyone I was with was wonderful to me. I was a woman doing what I wanted to do, period. And that was feminism to me.”