Almost Famous | 2000
Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical movie (he really was a Rolling Stone reporter, and the fictitious band Stillwater is based on The Allman Brothers (with whom Crowe toured) and Led Zeppelin, though. Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) is supposedly based on Glenn Frey of The Eagles.
The film opens on Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, San Diego, by the long-closed Strand Theatre, at 4948-52. Behind the credits you can see Balboa Park (glimpsed in Citizen Kane and in Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy).
The opening venue, where William Miller (Patrick Fugit) gets to meet Stillwater for the first time, was the San Diego Sports Arena, now the Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego.
The ‘Cleveland Arena’, though, is the recently-renovated Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Boulevard, at El Centro Avenue, seen also in the cheeky Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest, Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby and John Schlesinger's Day Of The Locust.
Following the band to Los Angeles, Miller stays in the Continental Hyatt House, now the Andaz West Hollywood, 8401 Sunset Boulevard, on the Strip in West Hollywood. Nicknamed the ‘Riot House’ – its real soubriquet. Celeb rioters include Led Zeppelin, who trashed it, the Stones, who trashed it (see Cocksucker Blues), and Jim Morrison, who dangled out of a window (a scene moved to the Chateau Marmont in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. Little Richard called the place home for many years. The hotel’s rooftop pool was seen in This Is Spinal Tap as well as in 2006 thriller Crank.
The ‘King of the Road Motor Lodge, Tempe, Arizona’, where William gets the “Don’t take drugs!” message from his mother (Frances McDormand), and where the band expresses doubts about consorting with the enemy, before deciding that the cover of Rolling Stone would be cool, is unmistakably the lobby of the venerable Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard (seen in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and, rather differently, in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can)
More scenes were actually filmed at the legendary Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood; the Western Dunes Motor Hotel, 4300 Wilshire Boulevard, and the old (since demolished) Ambassador Hotel, 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, both midtown.
Stillwater checks into the Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Avenue, east of Park Avenue in the Gramercy Park District.
The celebration dinner is held at the now-gone Max’s Kansas City Diner (also seen in Abel Ferrara’s notorious Driller Killer) which stood at 213 Park Avenue South just north of the Times Square.