I watched this movie for the first time in January 2013, and again the following day, and will be watching it many more times as it really resonates with me.
The reasons it resonates is it is essentially my own story, growing up in Sydney and a university student as the Beatles became know, drafted for Vietnam in 1965, and living in England after discharge in the "Swinging 60s".
My tilt by way of Summary is that the title is code for Across the Atlantic, as it explores both the similarities and the differences of the UK and American cultures at this time of watershed for several important social issues.
By design or otherwise [but I say design] the content ends abruptly in 1970 [as seen from the benchmark of the music], the exact same time as the start of the Feminist Revolution, which went on to prompt the iconic movie American Beauty that chronicles the total destruction of the Nuclear Family concept and of gender equality.
The other main issue is "patriotism" differences [across the Atlantic] identified here by the so called Vietnam War, albeit America never declared war on anyone at the time. Of course the UK did not partake in Vietnam [but we DID in Australia] but for the "Return Match of American Genocide" in Iraq, UK DID "sex it up and jump right in". And of couse we did so again, referred to by the famous Latham expression "like a congaline of suckholes".
So the Director Julie Taymor in 2007 had the advantage of retrospect regarding "The continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", which I will explain below, while Francis Ford Coppola in his similar "tongue in cheek" treatment of the Vietnam madness in Apocalypse Now in 1979 could only speculate about a repeat performance of the madness by the "Grocery Clerks" in Washington.
But Kubrick had already made a long range prophesy that HAL [using the mask of Don Rumsfeld] would strike in 2001 via his 2001: A Space Odyssey, so looks like Coppola simply joined the prophesy queue [which was never very hard to figure] and in 2001 "Reduxed" Apocalypse Now, in preparation for HAL to do his nasties later in September.
Back to this movie, the story is told by inventing a John Lennon facsimile named Jude, coming from Liverpool and with same background circumstances of no father, going to art school, having visa problems etc etc. Jude is injected directly into Mother America to interface with a few typical Americans, in exactly the same way the Beatles INdirectly interfaced with the whole of America.
The main issue IN America is the War in Vietnam but Taymor very skillfully hints [for those listening] that those back on Jude's side of the Atlantic have their own problems via the long term bloodshed in Ireland. And even more skillfully she alludes to feminism, essentially by what she leaves out/terminates.
As for Almost Famous [see my blog] the movie can be enjoyed on a superficial level by "young" folk [ie under 60] simply as a "feelgood, coming of age in a former great age" movie, or those who "were there" can delve into the deeper meanings.
Now read on.