William Miller is a 15-year-old kid hired by Rolling Stone magazine to tour with and write about Stillwater, an up and coming rock band. This wonderfully witty coming-of-age film follows William as he falls face first to confront life, love, and lingo. Written by
Cameron Crowe took a copy of the film to London for a special screening with Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. After the screening, they granted Crowe the right to use one of their songs on the soundtrack - the first time they had ever consented to this since allowing Crowe to use "Kashmir" in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) - and also gave him rights to four of their other songs in the movie itself, although they did not grant him the rights to "Stairway to Heaven" for an intended scene (on the special "Bootleg" edition DVD, the scene is included as an extra, sans the song, where the viewer is instructed by a watermark to begin playing it). See more »
In the final concert, as the band walks onto the stage, several modern intelligent lights (MAC600s) are visible. The lights were first released in 1997. In other scenes, the instruments lighting the band are halogen and metal
halide lamps, which also didn't exist in the 1970s. See more »
An Excellent Original Insight Into The 70's Rock Scene... With Dazzling Performances.
There was a time in the US rock circuit before music videos and online marketing. That was the time when several little-known bands toured all over the country... accompanied mostly by drugs and groupies. Writer-director Cameron Crowe takes us to that infamous scene of sex, drugs and rock n' roll in the 1970's with this semi-autobiographical work, which is not only equipped with his brilliant direction and screenplay, but also by decent performances by some relatively lesser-known actors.
Here the introduction of a not-too-famous band, an imaginary one called Stillwater, was important. In that sense, Stillwater is a perfect work by Crowe... with a volatile relationship between the vocalist and the guitarist, with a noncompetent manager and everything that comes with. There were also the groupies, who became a matter of substance in Crowe's point of view. But the most extraordinary thing that Crowe did is the image of himself as a 15-year-old writing prodigy, rock journalist William Miller. The viewers watch the movie through Miller's eyes. The character is extremely well-designed and reserved by Crowe. Miller's the one who becomes able to attach all the parts into a complete movie alone.
Billy Crudup was probably the best among the actors as guitarist Russell Hammond. It's true his role was not a tough one, but he's the one who made it look so easy. Young Kate Hudson, as Penny Lane, is perfect and very adorable. She showed her potentials in this movie which seemed even better than her mother, Goldie Hawn. All she needs are decent roles in future. The other actors, namely Jason Lee as vocalist Jeff, Frances McDormand as Williams's over-protective mother and the other band-aids (with Oscar-winner Anna Paquin) performed also quite well. And newcomer Patrick Fugit, as Miller himself, is really brilliant. Gaining more screen time than anyone else, it was a tough test for Fugit and it is all praises for him.
The soundtrack was very good with some fine original songs. There may be some minor flaws in the movie, like some unnecessary sequences, but all over this is a quite masterful work... a feast for the mind and soul, both for a hard rock n' roll fan and for casual viewers.
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