Steven Spielberg directed this powerful, realistic re-creation of WWII's D-day
invasion and the immediate aftermath. The story opens with a prologue in which a veteran
brings his family to the American cemetery at Normandy, and a flashback then joins Capt.
John Miller (Tom Hanks) and GIs in a landing craft making the June 6, 1944, approach to
Omaha Beach to face devastating German artillery fire. This mass slaughter of American
soldiers is depicted in a compelling, unforgettable 24-minute sequence. Miller's men
slowly move forward to finally take a concrete pillbox. On the beach littered with
bodies is one with the name "Ryan" stenciled on his backpack. Army Chief of Staff Gen.
George C. Marshall (Harve Presnell), learning that three Ryan brothers from the same
family have all been killed in a single week, requests that the surviving brother, Pvt.
James Ryan (Matt Damon), be located and brought back to the United States. Capt. Miller
gets the assignment, and he chooses a translator, Cpl. Upham (Jeremy Davis), skilled in
language but not in combat, to join his squad of right-hand man Sgt. Horvath (Tom
Sizemore), plus privates Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi), cynical
Reiben (Edward Burns) from Brooklyn, Italian-American Caparzo (Vin Diesel), and
religious Southerner Jackson (Barry Pepper), an ace sharpshooter who calls on the Lord
while taking aim. Having previously experienced action in Italy and North Africa, the
close-knit squad sets out through areas still thick with Nazis. After they lose one man
in a skirmish at a bombed village, some in the group begin to question the logic of
losing more lives to save a single soldier. The film's historical consultant is Stephen
E. Ambrose, and the incident is based on a true occurance in Ambrose's 1994 bestseller
D-Day: June 6, 1944.
Writer and director Cameron Crowe's experiences as a teenage rock journalist (he was a regular contributor to Rolling Stone while still in high school) inspired this coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy hitting the road with an up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand) is a bright, loving, but strict single parent whose distrust of rock music and fears about drug use have helped to drive a wedge between herself and her two children, Anita (Zooey Deschanel) and William (Patrick Fugit). Anita rebels by dropping out of school and becoming a stewardess, but William makes something of his love of rock & roll by writing album reviews for a local underground newspaper. William's work attracts the attention of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman), editor of renegade rock magazine Creem, who takes William under his wing and gives him his first professional writing assignment ラ covering a Black Sabbath concert. While William is unable to score an interview with the headliners, the opening act, Stillwater, are more than happy to chat with a reporter, even if he's still too young to drive, and William's piece on the group in Creem gains him a new admirer in Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen), an editor at Rolling Stone. Torres offers William an assignment for a 3,000-word cover story on Stillwater, and over the objections of his mother (whose parting words are "Don't use drugs!"), and after some stern advice from Bangs (who says under no circumstances should he become friends with a band he's covering), Williams joins Stillwater on tour, where he becomes friendly with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee). William also becomes enamored of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a groupie traveling with the band who is no older than William, but is deeply involved with Russell. Lester Bangs and Ben Fong-Torres, incidentally, were real-life rock writers Crowe worked with closely during his days as a journalist. Almost Famous' original score was composed by Nancy Wilson of Heart (who is also Crowe's wife).
Steven Spielberg directed this powerful, realistic re-creation of WWII's D-day
invasion and the immediate aftermath. The story opens with a prologue in which a veteran
brings his family to the American cemetery at Normandy, and a flashback then joins Capt.
John Miller (Tom Hanks) and GIs in a landing craft making the June 6, 1944, approach to
Omaha Beach to face devastating German artillery fire. This mass slaughter of American
soldiers is depicted in a compelling, unforgettable 24-minute sequence. Miller's men
slowly move forward to finally take a concrete pillbox. On the beach littered with
bodies is one with the name "Ryan" stenciled on his backpack. Army Chief of Staff Gen.
George C. Marshall (Harve Presnell), learning that three Ryan brothers from the same
family have all been killed in a single week, requests that the surviving brother, Pvt.
James Ryan (Matt Damon), be located and brought back to the United States. Capt. Miller
gets the assignment, and he chooses a translator, Cpl. Upham (Jeremy Davis), skilled in
language but not in combat, to join his squad of right-hand man Sgt. Horvath (Tom
Sizemore), plus privates Mellish (Adam Goldberg), Medic Wade (Giovanni Ribisi), cynical
Reiben (Edward Burns) from Brooklyn, Italian-American Caparzo (Vin Diesel), and
religious Southerner Jackson (Barry Pepper), an ace sharpshooter who calls on the Lord
while taking aim. Having previously experienced action in Italy and North Africa, the
close-knit squad sets out through areas still thick with Nazis. After they lose one man
in a skirmish at a bombed village, some in the group begin to question the logic of
losing more lives to save a single soldier. The film's historical consultant is Stephen
E. Ambrose, and the incident is based on a true occurance in Ambrose's 1994 bestseller
D-Day: June 6, 1944.
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