Superb 5* rock fodder for the discerning music fan
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 24/03/2008 20:16:04
This is one of my all-time favourite rock movies along with the likes of "Sweetwater" (which I've yet to find on DVD) and "The Doors". If you like rock or just like music or a good music-orientated story I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Where's that lovely GB cover gone though?
Shell out the extra quid to buy the 2 disc edition for 5GBP as, besides the theatrical cut, you get the 30-minutes longer Director's cut, DTS option on both and more extras than you can shake a stick at (though you do lose the "Making of" documentary). They include extra songs, cast auditions, Crowe's commentary and seven of his interview transcripts from 1973-79 with The Allmans, Zep's Page and Plant, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young. The extra 30 minutes enables more in-depth characters, extra music and an occasional amusing scene to be added (like when a stoned radio DJ falls asleep interviewing the band leaving them to improvise, resulting in some purposely OTT un-censored language).
There's also a R1 "Bootleg Cut" with the 2 DVDs augmented by a CD of Stillwater music, some co-written by Crowe and his wife Nancy, one of Heart's Wilson sisters, and one by Peter Frampton (who's also in the film, though not as himself).
It's a tale of 15 year old un-cool lad William Miller (Patrick Fugit), who Director Cameron Crowe based on himself and who manages to score a job with the music press to interview a famous band. He ends up involved with the up-and-coming support act, Stillwater, and in pursuit of the elusive interview, goes out on the road with them and their groupies, first in a tour bus then later on a plane. Along the way we get band tension and unrest, girl trouble (Miller takes a shine to head groupie Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) who's loves Stillwater's married lead guitarist (Billy Crudup), drug trouble and even some well-staged (no pun intended) concert action.
The music is superb, though it's commented elsewhere that Stillwater's music is nothing like 1970s rock. I disagree. To me it's the 1970s southern-rock of Atlanta Rhythm Section, The Allman Brothers Band and the real Stillwater, whose permission was obtained to use the name. Check out Stillwater's eponymous 1977 1st album (long-deleted vinyl only) and ARS' 70s material if you need proof. Buddy Buie produced and co-wrote songs for both ARS and Stillwater, whilst Stillwater and The Allmans were both signed to the Capricorn label.
Perhaps CC should have invited the surviving real Stillwater members to record and put the songs here out as an album or just put the songs onto an album as they were. Other musicians involved besides Frampton and Wilson included Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters).
Sound and picture are fine as you'd expect with a relatively modern film, with a good bit of rear-speaker action, though I had a little trouble with some of Kate Hudson's dialogue. I had to turn the volume up for quiet passages only to be blown off my seat when normal DTS service resumed aa few seconds later.
Well worth buying as a single, double or triple disc issue.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: OldEnglandsEyes69 on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.