I don’t know why I am constantly stunned by how sharp and beautiful a 4K picture is, but everytime I throw on a 4K disc I am completely gobsmacked, and Paramount Picture’s new release of Cameron Crowe’s brilliant, and partly autobiographical film, Almost Famous, left me absolutely gobsmacked.
When I put it on, with the Bootleg Cut being the preferred version (the set includes both the theatrical and the Bootleg), I was completely swept up in the film anew, and recalled why everyone on the planet fell in love with Kate Hudson in this movie. Her turn as Penny Lane, the band aid, launched her to stardom, and enchanted and beguiled us all.
The film follows young William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who is in love with the music of the time (the 70s), despite the oppression of his well-meaning mother, played by Frances McDormand. He is especially taken with the band (created for the film) Stillwater, and despite the warnings of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the world-renowned rock critic, he becomes a friend and a confidante of the lead guitar player, Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup).
Soon he is on a whirlwind tour of the rock world of the 70s, the travel, the venue, the ups and the downs, all of it culminating in a beautifully executed coming of age tale.
Packed with recognisable faces and names like Jason Lee, Anna Paquin, Noah Taylor, Zooey Deschannel, and Fairuza Balk the film remains as powerful, and entertaining now as it did upon release. In fact every time I do watch this film, it’s like I forget how damned good it really is. I get pulled in to the music, the performances, and the moments, you just can’t stop watching.
And it’s simply gorgeous on 4k. I sat there and absorbed the entire film again, and as soon as it was over, I cranked the soundtrack, and am already trying to find time to settle in and watch it again. Cameron Crowe knows his music, and this film has reached and touched so many people, those who lived through it, those who wish they were there, and those who love a damned good film.
The 4K edition comes with all the previously released extras and commentaries as well as some new items like a Filmmaker Focus on Cameron Crowe where he talks about the film, and its lasting impact, Rock School which features the actors cast as Stillwater learning their roles and their instruments. There’s also some stuff that was left on the cutting room floor showing up in the Odds and Sods, and some Extended Scenes.
It’s a gorgeous collection, though I’ve also been eying the Super Deluxe Edition which comes with lots of vinyl, and features all the music in the film, as well as some other classics, including lots of Stillwater!
However, you want to pick it up, Almost Famous, which turns 21 this year, is available now from Paramount Canada!