By J.D. Lafrance
Anybody that bought Zeppelin I knows that the standout song is “Dazed and Confused,” and that’s great. It’s a masterpiece albeit a little too stifled because it is the studio version. If Almost Famous (2000) is the studio version than “The Bootleg Cut” is the live version of “Dazed and Confused” found on The Song Remains the Same in all of its epic grandeur, taking an already great song and making it live and breathe. Likewise, “The Bootleg Cut” of Almost Famous takes Cameron Crowe’s tribute to classic rock of the 1970s and improves on it by adding over 35 minutes of footage, which allows the world he created and the colorful characters that inhabit it to also live and breathe.
Almost Famous was clearly a labor of love for the filmmaker and his most personal effort to date. It is a fictionalized account of Crowe’s start as a rock music journalist at the age of 15 writing from Creem magazine and then a year later joining the staff of Rolling Stone where he would go on to interview the likes of Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and many others. Unfortunately, his very personal journey failed to connect with a mainstream audience and despite being lavished with critical praise and awards (including an Oscar for screenwriting), the film flopped at the box office but has gone on to develop a cult following. However, one wonders if Crowe never fully recovered from its commercial failure. Perhaps he ran out of things to say, making two films adapted from pre-existing works (Vanilla Sky and We Bought a Zoo) and an original film, Elizabethtown (2005) that flopped both with critics and audiences. Regardless, Almost Famous will no doubt be regarded as his magnum opus and rightly so.
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by Sam Juliano
We are five days away from the Trump presidency and many of us are still trying to figure out how and why. But we are there and must come to terms with could well be one of the darkest spans in recent history. Speaking for myself though I am willing to wait, and hope that far more good comes out of this once unfathomable situation than most might think. Friday morning’s inauguration is sure to be quite the event, and one doomed to attract fervent protests all over the map. Stay tuned.
The Caldecott Medal Contender series has reached the last leg of its long and prolific journey, with six more days including today left to “spread the word.” My projection is for it to end with fifty-eight essays completed. As of this morning we have had fifty-two. Thank you many times over to Jim Clark, Laurie Buchanan, Frank Gallo, John Grant, Peter M., Tony d’Ambra, Celeste Fenster, Duane Porter, Tim McCoy, Karen, Wendy Wahmann, Nancy Armo, Ricky C., Kimbra Power, Book Barn Steve, Alia Jones, David Noack, Jarie Waterfall, Sharon Lovejoy, and others for their remarkable support in the comment threads. And to all those who have registered ‘likes’ I am deeply appreciative. The Facebook ‘likes’ that are on the linked reviews too are much appreciated.
My deepest heartfelt condolences go out to my friend and colleague on his family loss. He is going through the worst time of his life, and I grieve with him at this unspeakable time. Continue Reading »
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