Almost Famous Gets Paramount Presents Blu-ray Release

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Paramount Presents Almost Famous

Almost Famous tells the story of William Millier (Patrick Fugit), a high school music journalist whose work gets noticed by Rolling Stone magazine, who then assign him his first story: a profile piece on an up-and-coming band, Stillwater. What the magazine doesn't realize, however, is that William is only 15 years old, having been promoted through school early due to some odd machinations by his mother (Frances McDormand) to obscure his age.

Touring with the band, William's experiences are both everything you would expect from living a rock-and-roll lifestyle, but also everything you would not expect, as the stereotypical band members and groupies are humanized through their personal struggles and foibles. Yes, there's the drugs and sex, but director Cameron Crowe shows this in a near tragic light, with all the consequences that come along with a life of excess.

The plot itself is easily summed up in a paragraph, but the film deserves much more than that. The performances put in by Billy Crudup as Russell Hammond and Kate Hudson as Penny Lane serve to drive the main drama of the piece, as they maintain the sexual rocker/groupie relationship -- with Penny thinking it will be so much more while Russell hides the tryst from his wife at home.

Also serving in important roles, though with less screen time, are Jason Lee as Jeff Bebe, for whom the band Stillwater had once been named. Zooey Deschanel appears early in the film and then again at its denouement as Williams freedom-seeking older sister, Anita. And Philip Seymour Hoffman is Lester Bangs, a journalist for Creem who serves as William's mentor and guide to covering rock and roll without getting eaten alive by it.

The film is partly autobiographical in nature, being based on Crowe's own younger days as a journalist for Rolling Stone. Lester Bangs is, of course, a real person, and there really is a band called Stillwater -- just not made up of the members seen in this film.

If you haven't seen it -- and up until this release, I had not -- then you're in for a trippy coming-of-age trip as you ride along on tour with William and his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, with all its highs and lows.

5.0 / 5.0