The thing about most fictional bands in film is that they don’t represent music, not really. They represent ideas. They stand for what it means to love a band, or a genre, or a moment, or an experience. Perhaps no band in the history of film does this better than Stillwater from Almost Famous. Even within the film itself, the band is not particularly fantastic; they are just another adequate mid-’70s rock band. What makes them stand out is how William Miller (Patrick Fugit) sees them, how he gets wrapped up in what they stand for abstractly, and is pulled along into their life on the road, which exists in a near constant state of heady romanticism and delayed reality. The road comes to symbolize possibility, the band comes to symbolize perfection. William is just young enough, and just naive enough, to believe it in the moment, and to be heartbroken when it all starts to fall apart. We were all that young once. Sometimes, when the right album plays at the right time, we still are. It doesn’t matter that “Fever Dog” isn’t “Stairway to Heaven.” What matters is that, for someone out there, at some point, it was everything.
– Jordan Ferguson