Spinal Tap

Almost Famous - Stillwater

In the wake of the untimely passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, we here at FSR were asked to think of our favorite Hoffman performance. I immediately thought of his portrayal of rock journalist Lester Bangs in Almost Famous which got me thinking about the band Stillwater which William (Patrick Fugit) ends up following on tour. Stillwater is a fictional band created for Almost Famous, but they feel like anything but fiction, instead coming across as a real band just starting to climb the charts, easily existing alongside The Who and Black Sabbath (the band they opened for in the film). So what was it about Stillwater that made them feel like a real life band and not one simply created to help drive the story?

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Over Under - Large

The mockumentary is a relatively recent genre of storytelling whose origins are probably as recent as the last hundred years. And that’s including all stories that could be considered mockumentaries by stretching the definition. The actual term, “mockumentary,” is even newer. By some accounts it first came into use when Rob Reiner used it to describe his 1984 cult classic This is Spinal Tap. Adding a word to the lexicon could be seen as a pretty big accomplishment for a goofy comedy, but, despite its subject matter, the legacy of this film shouldn’t be downplayed. Few movies live on as long and remain as popular as Spinal Tap has. Every few years a new generation of college kids discover this thing, and its legend just keeps growing. Far from being an originator, A Mighty Wind is a later film from the crew of mockumentarians led by Christopher Guest. And despite the fact that it’s full of a lot of good work, it often gets a bad rap. Guest and crew’s previous efforts, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, were so ridiculously funny that A Mighty Wind gets unfairly judged in comparison. And that’s unfortunate for a couple reasons. For one, those first two Guest-directed mockumentaries were such a high water mark for the genre that it was probably unfair to expect them to keep producing at such a level. And secondly, A Mighty Wind goes for funny a bit less that its predecessors, and plays a bit more in […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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