Almost Famous: Will It Pass?

In this new series, I am going to be discussing older movies and see how well they hold up against the test of time. There are many popular older movies that aren’t politically correct by today’s standards. Those movies can still be entertaining, but it’s important to acknowledge that what you’re watching may not be acceptable in today’s society. It’s also important to appreciate the ones that would be. The first movie I’m putting to the test is the movie Almost Famous. It was made a semi-autobiographical film about a young journalist going on tour with a band, directed by Cameron Crowe in the year 2000. The film has an incredible cast with Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances Mcdormand and Billy Crudup. There are many different tests created to question films, I am going to be using 8 of those, and then giving my two cents what of what I personally think of movie. 

The first test is one of the most commonly known tests to put movies up against, it’s called the Bechdel test. The criteria here is that there have to be two female characters that talk to each other about something other than men. In Almost Famous, the mother and daughter have conversations with each other about giving the daughter more freedom. This, of course, does turn into arguing about the daughter’s boyfriend, but I think because she has big dreams and wants more freedom to pursue those. I believe it deserves at least a partial pass. 

Unfortunately, this film has very little representation of minorities so the Duvernay, Waithe, Ko, and the Villalobos test all fail. The Duverney test is coined as the Bechdel test for the race: to pass you must have a minority character to have fully realized lives with their own desires and to not be a background character. The Waithe test focuses on the representation of a black woman existing within a position of power and being in a healthy relationship. The Ko test is when there is a non-white female identifying the person who has the lines in at least five scenes and speaks English. The Villalobos test is meant to show a Latina lead or character as professional or college-educated as well as speaking unaccented English and not having any major stereotypes as a key character trait. 

Next, we can talk about the Pierce, Villareal, and the Landau test. The Pierce test looks into the depth of female characters where there must be a female character with her own story who has dimension and exists with authenticity. In this film, the Pierce test will pass because there are multiple women with strong opinions and dreams. The mother, the sister, and Penny Lane were all women with strong opinions and dreams that they had either previously pursued or currently were pursuing. The Villareal test criteria is that a leading female is introduced as a typical female stereotype. In the movie, two of the lead females were introduced in a non-stereotypical way, but the sister was introduced with her sneaking back into her house so unfortunately, it’s an automatic fail. Finally, the Landau test focuses on a main female character ending up dead, pregnant, or causing a plot problem for a male protagonist. this doesn’t happen in Almost Famous, so it passes. 

There were a few issues that I thought I would bring up. First of all, I noticed the mother favoring her son which results in the mother driving her daughter away. Another issue that was most likely just how it was back then was the rock stars cheating on their wives and girlfriends. Since this is about the past, you can ignore it for just being the truth. There was also lots of drug and alcohol abuse, but this is probably just what was happening in that time period. However, there were also some positive things. Since the main character had a lot of female role models there was very little toxic masculinity and they even talked a lot about teenage insecurities. Thanks to that, there were also a lot of good mentors who were smart and funny and made a big impact on the story. Because of all the good mentors, the main character didn’t fall into peer pressure and even looks down on the toxic lifestyle that some of the rock stars bought into. There were also some pop culture references that were made that are still relevant today, such as references to the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” and numerous musical musical references. At the end of the day, the movie is really well done, so if you are interested in music you should definitely check it out. If the movie was made today it would probably need more representation to be accepted, however that is my only complaint!

Writer at The City Voice

My name is Helen, I am a ninth grade student at City. I enjoy writing, sewing and playing sports. I have two dogs and 3 cats.

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