is the movie Cameron Crowe has been waiting a lifetime to tell. The fictionalisation of Crowe's days as a teenage reporter for Creem and Rolling Stone has all the well-written characters and wonderful "movie moments" that we expect from Crowe (Jerry Maguire), but the film has an intangible something extra--an insider's touch that will turn the film into the ode to '70s rock & roll for years to come. We are introduced to Crowe's alter ego, William Miller (Patrick Fugit), at home, where his progressive mom (Frances McDormand, just superb) has outlawed rock music and sister Anita (Zooey Deschanel) has slipped him LPs that will "set his mind free." Following the wisdom of Creem's disheveled editor, Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman in an instant-classic performance), Miller gets on the inside with the up-and-coming band Stillwater (a fictionalised mixture of the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, and others). A simple visit with the band turns into a three-week, life-altering odyssey into the heyday of American rock. Of the characters he meets on the road, the two most important are groupie extraordinaire Penny Lane (Kate Hudson in a star-making performance) and Stillwater's enigmatic lead guitarist (Billy Crudup), who keeps stringing Miller along for an interview. From the handwritten credits (done by Crowe) to the bittersweet finale, Crowe's comedic valentine is an indelible, heartbreaking romance of music, women, and the privilege of youth. --Doug Thomas
15-year-old high school student William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has just won the chance to write a story about Stillwater, an up-and-coming rock band, for Rolling Stone magazine. So he joins the band on tour, makes friends with lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), and gets himself a ringside seat for some classic 1970s rock excesses. But with Rolling Stone demanding a story that could very well cause him to betray his newfound friends, his over-protective mother (Frances McDormand) keeping a regular check on him, and tensions within the band reaching breaking point, William finds that he must tread very carefully indeed.
Writer-director Cameron Crowe brings the 1970s music scene to life with his semi-autobiographical story of a teen journalist who goes on the road with a rock band. Uncool 15-year-old William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is living every teenager's dream. He's touring with Stillwater, an up-and-coming rock band featuring lead singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) and charismatic lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and writing about it for Rolling Stone magazine, whose editors are unaware of his young age. Though Miller's mentor, legendary rock critic Lester Bangs--portrayed with humour and heart by Philip Seymour Hoffman--cautions him not to befriend the musicians, Miller takes it a step further and befriends both the band and the Band-Aids--the girls who hang around with the band because they love the music. Newcomer Fugit is the perfect William Miller: baby-faced, slightly gawky, and an awestruck observer. Kate Hudson sparkles as Penny Lane, the leader of the Band-Aids, and Frances McDormand delivers a stellar performance as Elaine, Miller's protective and mildly paranoid mother. In the tradition of Say Anything
and Jerry Maguire
, Crowe's coming-of-age tale is intelligent, well written, and infused with humour in unlikely places.
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