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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great [and Not-So-Great] Version of a Great Movie
[Amazon migrated my original review of this great movie across to the Blu-Ray edition from the Region 1 "Boot Cut". Unfortunately this means that a lot of it is completely inaccurate! The Boot Cut has great extras, such as the superb commentary, and the Blu-Ray has nothing much aside from the extended version of the film. Quite why it was possible to do more with the DVD...
Published on 14 Nov 2005 by Sordel

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where are the extras ?
This is the extended version of the film (aka Untitled) and is BluRay regions A,B,C (according to the box). The soundtrack is in English TrueHD and a strange Polish soundtrack (it's the English soundtrack with Polish spoken over the top). You get two extras "Love Comes And Goes" which is a series of out-takes from the film and "Lester Bangs Interview" which is 5 minutes...
Published on 23 April 2008 by cosmetic punk


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great [and Not-So-Great] Version of a Great Movie, 14 Nov 2005
By 
Sordel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
[Amazon migrated my original review of this great movie across to the Blu-Ray edition from the Region 1 "Boot Cut". Unfortunately this means that a lot of it is completely inaccurate! The Boot Cut has great extras, such as the superb commentary, and the Blu-Ray has nothing much aside from the extended version of the film. Quite why it was possible to do more with the DVD format than it is with Blu-Ray I'm not sure, but with no Stillwater CD, no "Stairway to Heaven" scene, no deleted scenes etc. this is an opportunity badly missed. Still, it's the extended version and the film really is wonderful ... so it keeps its 5 stars either way.]

"Almost Famous" is a truly great film about music by someone who was also a great rock journalist. If you missed it in cinemas, this is a great opportunity to pick it up for home viewing.

The three discs here are a short CD by "Stillwater" (the fictional band from the film), a DVD of the original theatrical release and the main event: a DVD of the Director's Cut with a commentary by Cameron Crowe and his mother.

The longer version, it should be noted, takes what was already a brilliant autobiographical film and adds some key scenes, most of which explore further the rock world of the early seventies. Crowe himself wanted to tell not merely a love story, but - more importantly - the love story between a band and its fans. The additional detail really "sells" this aspect of the film, most notably in an extraordinarily moving scene when Kate Hudson's character is thrown a birthday party by the band. If you haven't seen this version, you haven't really seen the film: it really does make that much difference.

Finally, the commentary, which is one of the most informative that I've encountered. Crowe's mom (played to great effect in the film by Frances McDormand) provides a wonderful foil to Crowe himself as they talk about how closely events in the film tracked the actual events of his life as a journalist with Rolling Stone. If you think that the movie is inauthentic before you hear the commentary, you will have changed your mind by the end of it. Both come across as really warm, funny people as well, which is more than can be said for most commentators on DVDs.

One niggle: there's an important scene that was deleted presumably because Crowe couldn't get permission to use "Stairway to Heaven". It's here as an extra on the disc (you have to play your own CD along with it) but isn't incorporated into the "Untitled" Director's Cut. It's a shame that in this area the copyright holder spoiled what was in every other respect a great DVD version of one of the better films of recent years.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost hits the mark, 1 Mar 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
As I was born in the 1980s, I can only check out the era of blossoming rock'n'roll (Rolling Stones, the Doors, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin) through books and movies. And here's the ideal movie: "Almost Famous," a semi-autobiographical movie about the 1970s rock scene, gives a glimpse of the life of a young reporter, based on Crowe himself.
When William's sister (Zooey Deschanel) left home, she gave him her collection of records: the Who, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. When William (Patrick Fugit) is fifteen he manages to get a writing assignment with Creem, and then with Rolling Stone magazine to write about the rising band Stillwater. William falls in with the Stillwater guys and their circle of adoring groupies, including an effervescent blonde, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson).
Despite the displeasure of his controlling but loving mom (she claims adolescence is a marketing ploy), William accompanies Stillwater across the country. He keeps trying to get an interview with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), but Russell is too busy shagging Penny and diving off rooftops. But after Penny attempts suicide, William realizes the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll are only a veneer for what really matters.
"Almost Famous" is a fantastic mixture of expose and tribute -- there's music, there's romance, there's comedy. We get to see inter-band conflict (who's the star?), groupies, rock journalism, and the unfortunate aftereffects for groupies. Yet the sort-of-romance between Penny and William is very sweet, rooted in genuine affection.
Both the glamour and the grit is shown here. The dialogue sparkles -- "Last words: I dig music... I'M ON DRUGS!", "Forgive me Father, for I may sin tonight," "I'm about to boldly go where... many men have gone before." A few of the lines border on silliness, but never go over that elusive border.
And the direction is superb -- it cuts forward just when it needs to; the camera follows people out onto the dizzying stage and then zooms in for intimate close-ups. Nowhere else could a stomach-pumping scene actually contain an element of romance. And Crowe even throws in some well-timed pratfall humor, like Anna Paquin running into a cement wall.
The heart and soul of this film are wide-eyed Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson, one as a naive young boy who is swimming with rock'n'roll sharks, and the other as a fragile groupie who falls in love despite herself. Billy Crudup and Frances McDormand back them up as a lovable yet hateable rocker, and William's weird yet loving mother, who just wants her son back.
Music lovers and rock aficionados will love "Almost Famous," a bittersweet coming-of-age comedy/drama/music movie. A rare treat.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect, 24 Sep 2001
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Crowe's partially autobiographical story about a gifted but naïve young rock journalist prematurely entering the world of his idols is moving, hilarious, thought-provoking and as good as any of his previous films. William comes of age as he deals with the rock and roll lifestyle, journalistic pressures, sex, jealousy and the questionable sincerity of his new 'friends' - all this with his over-protective mother demanding to know his every move.
The acting is fabulous - my favourite performance is the stunning (in every way) Kate Hudson as 'band-aid' Penny Lane ("not a groupie!"). Also an awesome debut from Fugit - perfectly cast and totally believable. My favourite film moment is when the characters reveal their deepest secrets on the tour plane because turbulence makes them believe they are going to die.
The DVD offers excellent extras including a documentary and actual Rolling Stone transcripts, written by Crowe. The soundtrack is impressive but the best feature is the picture of Hudson on the cover - almost perfect.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed look at Rock and Roll in the Seventies!!!, 30 Dec 2001
Almost Famous is a nostalgic look at the director Cameron Crowe's life, how he wanted to be a writer for a Rock and Roll magazine .The central Character William(newcomer Patrick Fugit) has the chance to go on the road for Rolling Stone Magazine with up and coming new Rock Band 'Stillwater',much to the disapproval of his overbearing,rock and roll hating mother(the perfectly cast Frances McDormand). Along the way he meets a number of great people, lead of the band Russell(played by Billy Crudup)and Penny Lane (played by Kate Hudson), this young writer has a huge effect on all the characters in this film as they help each other live the rock and roll life in the 70's. Cameron Crowe picked an excellent cast, young and inspiring who let you have just a taster of life on the road with a rock band. This is a film that is not to be missed.A Film for all aspiring writers and Rock Band hope to be's.
Almost Famous more like Absolutely Fabulous!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, 17 Jun 2004
By 
Jimmy "city_lad" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Almost Famous is a remarkable movie, it evokes a time I am tragically too young to remember. 1973 marked the end of an era when people would get together to start bands, cut an album and then spend the rest of the year going on tour. This was a time before corporate values would become more important than artistic ones, shown here by Stillwater, the band in the film, dropping their current manager in favour of a corporate suit because they will have a greater chance of making more money and achieving fame.
The movie follows William Miller a first time rock journalist on tour with up and coming band Stillwater on a tour of the US. This is actually a thinly veiled telling of Cameron Crowe's first assignment for Rolling Stone at the tender age of 16 with the Allman Brothers and benefits vastly from this first hand experience.
We are told the story from his point of view so whilst it is possible to tick off the usual sex, drugs and rock n' roll references they are not the soul of the movie. Instead the theme here is endings - to reflect the changes in the music industry we have a band that it about to become successful but are being driven apart by internal squabbling, a young 'Band Aid' Penny Lane whose illusions about life with a band are shattered, and of course William who embarks on a new part of his life.
Inspite of the subject matter and the feeling of irrevocable change that pervades the film, this is a film that is filled with humour - there was always a risk that it could have strayed into Spinal Tap territory - but this is neatly avoided by playing the band straight and by having the laughs come out of the situation (particularly when anyone is on the phone to Willam's protective mother).
The performances are excellent; Frances McDormand is a stand out with the tricky role playing Elaine Miller based entirely on the directors own mother. The real emotional punches of the movie rest in the hands of a triumvirate of performers; Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and newcomer Patrick Fugit and they do not fail. They deliver delicate performances that are truly affecting. The film benefits further with an excellent cameo from the versatile Philip Seymour Hoffman as real life music writer Lester Bangs.
The soundtrack, as you would expect from a film about music, is superb - with artists like Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Elton John (who produced some is his best stuff in this period) in the mix this could not really fail. Also excellent are the songs penned by Nancy Wilson and Cameron Crowe for fictional band Stillwater which really could have come straight out of the era.
The Directors cut is superb if you can get hold of it with an extra disc of goodies and a superb commentary (not included on this edition sadly - but if you can't then this will do very nicely indeed. This really is an achingly good movie - buy it today!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, but not to be taken too seriously, 20 May 2004
By 
M. SIRL "Man With Ears" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Don't make the mistake of thinking that Almost Famous is a film about the music business. It is a film about growing up and about one kid's dream of becoming a rock music writer. But, although the story could equally be played out in the world of politics, sport or Broadway theatre, the fun for music fans is in spotting the many in-jokes and references.
Almost Famous is based on director Cameron Crowe's first assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, and while this is technically fiction you just know that most of what's in the film probably happened. Stillwater, the up and coming rock band who befriend our young reporter, William (played by Patrick Fugit) are loosely based on the Allman Brothers, while guitarist Russell Hammond's character is apparently based on Glen Frey of The Eagles. Other incidents in the film are based on real-life events involving The Who, Pearl Jam and others. Check out [...] for a load of trivia if you're interested in such things.
While painting a slightly rose-coloured picture of the music business in the early Seventies, Almost Famous is a delightful story about a 15-year old's quest for independence. True, the film does feature the odd hideous stereotype (such as Stillwater's English road manager) and the anoraks among us could no doubt pick out a number of historical inaccuracies. But to do so is to miss the point; treating this as pure fiction and revelling in the first-rate performances of Frances McDormand as Williams's overpowering mother and Philip Seymour Hoffman as music critic Lester Bangs will make this an enjoyable two hours for music buffs and non-music buffs alike. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True but sickly sweet, 20 Aug 2002
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
As a journalist myself and admittedly a wannabe music journalist at that, I had already intended to buy Almost Famous on DVD before I even saw the film due to its subject matter.
Directed by Cameron Crowe, this is a third person autobiography with Patrick Fugit filling Crowe's role as the aspiring teenage muso William Miller. At first we are introduced to the young William being presented with the gift of rock n' roll by his rebellious older sister, and then we swoop to 1973 where he is writing for legendary Creem editor Lester Bangs (another great performance by Patrick Seymour Hoffman) and trying to make his name. What follows is him breaking the rules set out by Bangs about journalism, going on tour as a reporter with the film's subject-matter-band Stillwater. For the most of Almost Famous, we see William Miller chasing two things, one is the Stillwater guitarist god for an interview and the other is band-aid Penny Lane played by the award-nominated Kate Hudson.
What the problems are in Almost Famous are that it paints a picture of 70's rock Hollywood would like you to see, no drugs, no hotel room trashing, sex behind closed doors and certainly no John Bonham incidents. Also his seemingly easy passage into journalism via Creem and then Rolling Stone, hey if it was that easy in the 70's I am working in the wrong decade!
However Almost Famous contains some great things too, there are some brilliant performances by Frances McDormand as William Miller's paranoid mother, who gets to deliver the best line of the film "Rock stars have kidnapped my son!" The band, all played by actors are very convincing as a rock band, and their primary tune Fever Dog could well have been a forgotten song by Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. Also the band were taught by Peter Frampton, so that explains some of the ability on show. What really stands out is the amazing early 70's soundtrack featuring all sorts but most memorably for me, Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer.'
All in all, I bought Almost Famous because of the great performances, great music and the hope that one day, all 16 year olds would be able to fall into music journalism this easy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ***** CROWE'S BEST YET? *****, 17 Oct 2002
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Set in the early seventies and the time of endlessly touring British and American concept rock bands and told through the eyes of high school kid and wannabe rock journalist William Miller, the movie follows the lives of the up-and-coming fictionalised rock band Stillwater and one of their most special fans, Miss Penny Lane (the excellent Kate Hudson). Whether you were around in the seventies and remember this era (I wasn't and I don't) it is hard not to be moved be this rock odyssey as the band move from town to town, squabble to squabble and we watch William grow.
This has everything you'd expect from a movie about a rock band, girls, drink, drugs, fighting and general excessive bad behaviour but it skilfully avoids ever falling into cliché because the characters here are not just rock stars or groupies, they are real people, with human weaknesses and human strengths. Crowe's writing and direction are both subtle and beguiling and he draws extraordinary performances out of all the main leads including Billy Crudup (as lead guitarist and charismatic star of Stillwater), Kate Hudson (as Penny Lane), young Patrick Fugit (as William) and great supporting turns from the finest young character alive at this moment, Philip Seymour Hoffman (as legendary rock journo. Lester Bangs) and Frances McDormand, as William's overprotective mother.
I must admit to being a big fan of Cameron Crowe's work ever since seeing Say Anything and Jerry Maguire and unlike the, by all accounts, very disappointing Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous is up there with Crowe's finest work. Great romance, great humour and great warmth, this semi-autobiographical movie has it all in bucket loads and if this doesn't warm the cockles of your heart their aint much hope left for you I'm afraid.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible not to enjoy, 11 Aug 2001
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
This film is both a eulogy for a bygone age (the mid 70s) and an intimate portrait of aspiring journalist William Miller's coming of age, as he follows up-and-coming rock band Stillwater around the USA. The young cast is excellent - Patrick Fugit shoulders the pivotal role with unassuming ease, Billy Crudup is a convincing guitar hero, Jason Lee is engaging as ever and Kate Hudson sparkles as the head "Band Aid".
Many scenes in the film are wish fulfillment writ large - the tourbus, the backstage parties, the hotel rooms and the groupies. However, the moments of abandon are tempered with displacement and loneliness for William as he tries to shake off his sheltered upbringing. Watching this process is often funny and sometimes painful, but even in its darker moments the film is shot through with warmth and affection.
An immaculate soundtrack complements the action perfectly. From the very beginning the music works with the sets, clothes and haircuts, to transport the viewer back to the 1970s. This is the most unashamedly enjoyable film I have seen in a long time. Stellar script, soundtrack, performances, and direction will make you feel 18....well, 17....OK - 16 again.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Almost" hits the mark, 11 Jan 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Almost Famous [DVD] (DVD)
As I was born in the 1980s, I can only check out the era of blossoming rock'n'roll (Rolling Stones, the Doors, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin) through books and movies. And here's the ideal movie: "Almost Famous," a semi-autobiographical movie about the 1970s rock scene, gives a glimpse of the life of a young reporter, based on Crowe himself.
When William's sister (Zooey Deschanel) left home, she gave him her collection of records: the Who, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. When William (Patrick Fugit) is fifteen he manages to get a writing assignment with Creem, and then with Rolling Stone magazine to write about the rising band Stillwater. William falls in with the Stillwater guys and their circle of adoring groupies, including an effervescent blonde, Penny Lane (Kate Hudson).
Despite the displeasure of his controlling but loving mom (she claims adolescence is a marketing ploy), William accompanies Stillwater across the country. He keeps trying to get an interview with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), but Russell is too busy shagging Penny and diving off rooftops. But after Penny attempts suicide, William realizes the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll are only a veneer for what really matters.
"Almost Famous" is a fantastic mixture of expose and tribute -- there's music, there's romance, there's comedy. We get to see inter-band conflict (who's the star?), groupies, rock journalism, and the unfortunate aftereffects for groupies. Yet the sort-of-romance between Penny and William is very sweet, rooted in genuine affection.
Both the glamour and the grit is shown here. The dialogue sparkles -- "Last words: I dig music... I'M ON DRUGS!", "Forgive me Father, for I may sin tonight," "I'm about to boldly go where... many men have gone before." A few of the lines border on silliness, but never go over that elusive border.
And the direction is superb -- it cuts forward just when it needs to; the camera follows people out onto the dizzying stage and then zooms in for intimate close-ups. Nowhere else could a stomach-pumping scene actually contain an element of romance. And Crowe even throws in some well-timed pratfall humor, like Anna Paquin running into a cement wall.
The heart and soul of this film are wide-eyed Patrick Fugit and Kate Hudson, one as a naive young boy who is swimming with rock'n'roll sharks, and the other as a fragile groupie who falls in love despite herself. Billy Crudup and Frances McDormand back them up as a lovable yet hateable rocker, and William's weird yet loving mother, who just wants her son back.
Music lovers and rock aficionados will love "Almost Famous," a bittersweet coming-of-age comedy/drama/music movie. A rare treat. When and where does this "real world" occur?
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Almost Famous [Blu-ray] [2000] [US Import]
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