- Rated R
- Buy the Blu-ray
All photos © Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by Jamey Codding
f you haven't seen Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" yet, head to your local video store right now and pick it up. The film's script is wonderfully written and the cast of virtual unknowns delivers a fantastic performance, making "Almost Famous" one of the best movies of 2000.
Patrick Fugit plays William Miller, a 15-year-old loner in the early 1970s who falls in love with his sister's collection of rock and roll records, much to the dismay of his overbearing mother (Frances McDormand), who believes that bands like Led Zeppelin and Simon and Garfunkel will only lead William to a life of drug use and irresponsibility. He keeps listening despite her wishes, though, and one day William gets a phone call from Rolling Stone magazine. Editor Ben Fong-Torres has gotten his hands on one of the many rock articles William writes in his spare time and, liking what he read, offers William a chance to follow Stillwater, an up-and-coming band, on their current U.S. tour, obviously not knowing his new freelance writer is only 15-years-old.
With his mother's "Don't do drugs" mantra continually playing in his head, William sets out on a memorable journey with Stillwater and along the way meets several amazing people, including Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), who insists she's a "Band Aide" and not a groupie, and Stillwater's lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), who is constantly struggling with his status in the band and his evolving feelings for the ever-charming Penny Lane.
Fugit, Hudson and Crudup simply nail their respective roles. These three form the inevitable love triangle, as Penny Lane falls hard for Russell, who in turn insists on keeping their relationship strictly on the physical level. Then there's William, who sees his love for rock and roll slowly develop into genuine feelings for Penny and a loose friendship with Russell. All three parts are played to perfection, especially in revealing one-on-one scenes between William and Penny, and William and Russell.
On the surface, "Almost Famous" appears to be a movie about rock and roll and the 1970s, but you'll soon find yourself caring more about the characters than the music. This is a perfect date movie, but with a remarkable soundtrack and the relative lack of irritatingly sappy moments, "Almost Famous" will appeal to guys and gals alike.
Bootleg Cut Edition Blu-Ray Review:
Available for the first time on Blu-ray, the Bootleg Cut of “Almost Famous” features the extended edition of the film (boasting a whopping 40 minutes of additional footage) and a plethora of bonus material. The best of the bunch is undoubtedly the commentary by director Cameron Crowe and his mother as they reminisce over the real-life events that inspired the story, but you’ll also find a decent making-of featurette, two deleted scenes, the Cleveland concert in its entirety and more. Those interested in the biographical side of the movie will definitely want to check out the archived Rolling Stone articles from Crowe’s stint as a music journalist, as well as the list of his top 10 albums of 1973. It's something only a fan would care about, but that's exactly who this version is made for.