In addition to joining the Paramount Presents line, Almost Famous arrives on 4K Ultra HD for the first time with new bonus content.
I first reviewed the film last year when Cameron Crowe’s instant classic celebrated the 20th anniversary of its theatrical release in 2000. Anyway, both the 4K UHD and limited-edition Blu-ray include the theatrical and bootleg (aka Untitled) cuts of the film.
Cameron Crowe draws on his real-life experiences writing for Rolling Stone to tell this semi-autobiographical story. The things that William Miller (Patrick Fugit) experiences are things that Crowe did in real life. They say to write what you know, right?
In any event, William doesn’t exactly have the best home life. His mom (Frances McDormand), recently widowed, lied to him about his age. Making matters worse, her ban on rock music and pop culture in general has led to older sister Anita (Zooey Deschanel) leaving home for San Francisco. Cut to a few years later and William is obsessed with rock music. It’s enough that he wants to make a living as a rock journalist. William approaches Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and in turn, he gets an assignment to review a Black Sabbath concert. Well, William isn’t getting backstage no matter how hard he tries. In spite of this, William ends up meeting Pennie Lane (Kate Hudson) and the other band aids.
Right when you think William is going to end up going home empty-handed, Stillwater shows up for the concert. The band slowly lets William into their circle and he ends up being able to fulfill his assignment for Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen). The thing here is that when it comes time for the piece to run, Russell (Billy Crudup) lies when vetted about the piece and breaks William’s heart in the process. Pennie later comes to the rescue and saves the day so to speak.
Stillwater isn’t an actual band but a composite standing in for those bands that Crowe toured with during this time. Such bands included Poco, the Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Together with his then-wife Nancy Wilson, they contributed three songs to the band’s repertoire. Peter Frampton wrote the band’s other two songs.
If the Academy had expanded beyond five Best Picture nominations, there’s no doubt that Almost Famous would have been nominated. If you ask me, this film is the Best Picture of 2000 but again, that’s just my opinion. One can look at a film like Almost Famous and realize that it has stood the test of time. People still love this film after twenty years.
Both Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand picked up Oscar nominations for their supporting performances. Joe Hutshing and Saar Klein also earned a well-deserved nomination for their editing work. Where Crowe was robbed of a directing nomination, he rightfully won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Times have changed since the film was released in theaters over twenty years ago. The things that the band members did with the band aids in the film are certainly unprofessional in this era. Do you watch the film through a present-day lens even though we know what happened was wrong. Or do you watch it through the 1970s and 1980s lens when the film took place?
Because this film is so personal for Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous will stand the test of time.
- Filmmaker Focus—Cameron Crowe on Almost Famous—NEW!
- Casting & Costumes—NEW!
- Rock School—NEW!
- Extended Scenes—NEW!
- Odds & Sods—NEW!
- Audio Commentary with Cameron Crowe and Friends (Bootleg cut)
- Intro by Cameron Crowe
- The Making of Almost Famous
- Interview with Lester Bangs (optional audio intro by Cameron Crowe)
- Cameron Crowe’s Top Albums of 1973
- “Fever Dog” music video
- “Loves Comes and Goes” (optional audio intro by Cameron Crowe)
- Rolling Stone Articles (optional audio intro by Cameron Crowe)
- B-Sides (optional audio intro by Cameron Crowe)
- Cleveland Concert (optional audio intro by Cameron Crowe)
- “Small Time Blues”
- Stairway (optional audio intro by Cameron Crowe)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Hidden Talent (Unhidden Easter Eggs)
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Cameron Crowe
CAST: Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jason Lee, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Noah Taylor, Zooey Deschanel, Jimmy Fallon, Bijou Phillips, and Philip Seymour Hoffman