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Almost Famous 4K Steelbook Review

It’s all happening in 4K.

Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, 2000’s “Almost Famous” is a partially autobiographical story of Crowe’s own youth. The film revolves around a teen named William Miller. He’s a smart, observant, wide eyed, music loving, aspiring journalist who gets a big break writing for Creem Magazine to cover a Black Sabbath concert. While there, he encounters a group of fans known as the band aids (including Penny Lane) and meets the up-and-coming band Stillwater (which is a fictional band that is an amalgam of others such as Lynyrd Skynyrd). William gets an even bigger break when Rolling Stone comes calling and he decides to do a piece on Stillwater for them. As he travels with the band and band aids on the 1973 tour, William develops a crush on Penny Lane (who herself has feelings for Russell), struggles to interview the popular band member Russell, checks in with his overbearing mother, witnesses drama within the band, and tries to write an article on the band.

As a fan of Cameron Crowe’s filmography, I really wanted to love “Almost Famous” back when I first saw it 21 years ago. While I admired it, I didn’t love it like others. Revisiting the film now, it still feels like an indulgent trip down memory lane that feels a little too watered down content wise, but it clicked more with me this time than it has in the past. Perhaps it’s because I relate to the critic angle and have a love of 70’s rock? It certainly doesn’t hurt.

My biggest takeaway with “Almost Famous” is that it’s a refreshingly different sort of coming-of-age story. it’s not your typical teen movie by any stretch. Much of the film finds William entering a new world (so to speak) that is the music business. William loses his innocence on this new journey as he starts living his life and experiencing everything from love to heartbreak. He’s there for a job, but he gets close to both the band and the band aids.

One of the most appealing aspects of “Almost Famous” is the cast which is utterly stacked with a lot of would be stars. Just look at this lineup- Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Angarano, Bijou Philips, Jimmy Fallon, Fairuza Balk, Jay Baruchel, Rainn WIlson, Marc Maron and some surprise cameos. Hudson may be the one everyone talks about here as it’s certainly her best role, but McDormand as William’s mom, Fugit (William) Crudup as Russell and, of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs are all in top form here to be sure. 

Note: This 4K set includes both the theatrical and longer bootleg edition.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 2160p for both versions. How do they look? These transfers aren’t showy upgrades, but there’s no question this is a significant upgrade over the Blu-ray release.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Everything from the incredible soundtrack to the dialogue sounds sharp here. 


Extras:
* Digital copy
* New extras- Filmmaker Focus: Cameron Crowe On Almost Famous, 9 minutes of extended scenes, costume tests and casting stories, Rock School footage of the actors learning to play, and 9 minutes of deleted scenes.
* An intro by Cameron Crowe and an interview with the real Lester Bangs
* Theatrical trailer
* “Fever Dog” music video
* 7 Rolling Stone articles by Crowe, the entire screenplay by Crowe, and Cameron Crowe’s Top Albums Of 1973
* “The Making Of Almost Famous”
* “Love Comes And Goes” demo over set footage and “Small Time Blues” scene in full
* “B-Sides”- Behind-the-scenes footage with Kyle Gass!
* “The Cleveland Concert”- 15 minute Stillwater show
* Stairway deleted scene, eerie outtake, a scene with Penny Lane and an outtake with Philip Seymour Hoffman
* Commentary by Cameron Crowe and friends on the bootleg cut only.

July 12, 2021 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , ,

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