Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.
When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.
Cuba Gooding Jr.,
The early 1970s. William Miller is 15-years old and an aspiring rock journalist. He gets a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine. His first assignment: tour with the band Stillwater and write about the experience. Miller will get to see what goes on behind the scenes in a famous band, including the moments when things fall apart. Moreover, for him, it will be a period of new experiences and finding himself.Written by
In the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013), Shep Gordon reveals that Cameron Crowe was present on a jet plane with him and the members of Alice Cooper's band 'Alice Cooper'. Severe turbulence hit the plane during a storm and in a panic, one of the passengers yelled "We're all going to die, I need to confess something", turning to another passenger (it's unknown exactly who had this exchange) and telling him "I've been sleeping with your wife", at which point the pilot told everyone on the flight that the plane was OK and they are landing safely, leaving everyone in an awkward silence for the rest of the flight. This incident which Crowe witnessed himself most probably inspired the famous plane scene in Almost Famous. See more »
When William meets Lester Bangs for the first time and walks with him, the bag over his shoulder changes position often between angles. See more »
The opening credits are presented in the form of notes being hand-written on a set of notecards. The hand writing the credits is director Cameron Crowe's. See more »
There are 3 hidden outtakes on the Director's Edition DVD: A scene where Penny Lane is saying Russell's girlfriend's name over and over again to get over the discomfort of it. Notice in the film Penny says she can't even say her name. Crowe says it was based on Truffaut's "Stolen Kisses". The clip of the shooting of the scene on the tour bus when Penny tells William that when they go to Morocco they'll have different names. The first take of the scene with William and Lester Bangs walking up the street. Crowe explains beforehand on the audio clip that when Phillip Seymour Hoffman broke character during the take he thought he heard somebody say "cut" when in fact nobody did. See more »
Heart-wrenching, honest, clever; everything I like in a film
I've seen a few coming-of-age films, and a few prodigy-cum-genius type films, and of course more than my share of romantic comedy stuff. This film skirts between the lines of all those possibilities and somehow manages to find its way to the viewer intact, deftly and with a whole lot of old-fashioned charisma.
The acting was honest, true to how people behave without getting schmaltzy or over-dramatic. Cameron Crowe gets these actors to all project a belief in themselves and bring that across in a way that we care about what happens to them. I particularly liked the rendition of William Miller by Patrick Fugit, who steals the show as the precocious rock-n-roll journalist. He evokes visions of a young Matthew Broderick or a wide-eyed Michael J. Fox without ever getting corraled into being the "cute but troubled young kid".
Frances McDormand is amazing and well-cast as Elaine the Mom, someone so wrapped up in creating a safe, healthy environment she drives both her children far away from home.
Billy Crudup & Kate Hudson create the tension filled romance that drives the story along; both did a great job & were adroitly evocative of those fast times in the rock & roll fantasyland of the 70's. Billy, as Russell Hammond, teeters on the edge of fame, not wanting to leave his long-suffering bandmates behind but being courted as the band's star by the record company, is palpably torn. He carries William through the whirlwind of emotions and music along with him, showing him a world that is desperate and lonely, even with the whole world seemingly vying for his attention. His casting is also very clever, seeing as how Billy Crudup also sits on the brink of his own stardom & acclaim in real life.
Lester Bangs is William's 'guru', played to perfection by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. A walking oxymoron, he exudes a callous arrogance and at the same time expresses genuine affection for the up-and-comer, sometimes giving William the exact advice he needs to get him through the toughest moments as a rock critic & dealing with the love/hate relationships they seem to engender with everyone in their world of music.
I can't say enough about the awesome casting job, as well as the very detailed set design, costuming & realism to the times. Period pieces are usually difficult to do well; Mr. Crowe did this one genuine and good.
A truly great film, one that I'd heartily recommend to all but the most jaded rock critics.
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