The film, as many Cameron Crowe films are, is about many things. On the surface it's about music and love, but dig deeper and you'll find so much more. I originally thought that I enjoyed the film so much because as a pseudo-journalist myself, I could relate to a lot of the issues as a film. But really, this is a film that everyone can relate to. If it's not one thing, it's another. Kate Hudson does a terrific job of playing the "one who got away" - the first love that everyone's got and everyone thinks back to over a warm beer on a boring day. Frances McDormand was robbed of an Oscar for her role as the loving yet overprotective mother who only wants her kids to grow up right but has them both leaving home at early ages. The scene where she's one the phone with William in the kitchen and after he hangs up she throws the phone to the floor is classic. In fact, there are so many scenes in this movie that are classic - Penny Lane dancing to Cat Stevens in an empty concert hall; a late night conversation between William and Lester Bangs about the perils of being "uncool"; William revealing to Penny how she was "traded" from Stillwater to another band...I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Roger Ebert said it best in his review: "Oh, what a lovely film. I was almost hugging myself while I watched it."
The audio commentary features Cameron and mother Alice Crowe and is truly a gem. It's funny to hear a mother and son on the commentary track as Mom would say something like "Cameron, you've made such a special film, I'm so proud of you" and to hear her son say in a aw-shucks voice, "Well, thanks Mom." Too funny...
The additional footage on the disc contains an interview with rock critic Lester Bangs, the legendary "Stairway to Heaven" scene, extended scenes from Stillwater's Cleveland Concert, behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsal and various other outtakes hidden as easter eggs on the disc. I found the concert to be a little much but it was interesting to see all the work that went into filming it. Watching the real Lester Bangs in an interview will give you more appreciation for Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in the film.
Cameron Crowe has also added his Top Ten albums of 1973 with commentary, all of his Rolling Stone articles during that time, and the complete screenplay for the film (which won an Academy Award). The albums were interesting but it wasn't easy to read the articles or screenplay on my TV screen. Using the DVD-ROM feature on your computer would be better for these extras.
In more standard DVD fare, there's the trailer, production notes, and cast and crew bios.