Movie Review: Jersey Boys
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Marshall Brickman (screenplay), Rick Elice (screenplay)
Stars: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda
Synopsis: The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.
I had to see Jersey Boys because the song Can’t Take My Eyes Off You has helped me woo so many members of the female sex. Most movie goers will probably flock to see Think Like A Man Too this weekend and I hope that I can convince you that Jersey Boys is a worthwhile film. Clint Eastwood does a wonderful job transitioning the jukebox musical to the big stage by effectively using the characters strengths and balancing the on-screen and off-screen details of the Four Seasons.
Eastwood is a great director and has directed one of my favorite films: Million Dollar Baby. He does a fantastic job of balancing the story between the main characters Frankie Valli and Tommy DeVito including the right amount of Bob and Nick’s background to keep the movie moving swiftly. Eastwood, along with cinematographer Tom Stern, saturate the colors onscreen in various scenes to accentuate the film’s feelings in that particular moment. Stern uses varied scenes of dark and bland colors to highly bright coloration in others to help us keep our focus where the film wants it and that particular moment. Perfect examples of every time the Four Seasons perform in the film the way the camera and lighting is set up is perfect to let the songs shine. Since this was originally a musical, the narratives in the film could have been deleted and it worked in some cases and other cases it simply didn’t work.
Jersey Boys is the full length VH1 behind-the-music about the Broadway Musical of the same name, which tells the rise and fall of The Four Seasons. The film starts off with an introduction to Tommy Devito (Vincent Piazza), a small time criminal with an eye for talent. Devito has a group that changes members and names faster than the Spurs scored points on the Heat. Devito finds his Angel amongst the stars in Franki Valli (John Lloyd Young), the young 16 year old with a voice that will steal away any man’s woman. Valli and Devito are joined by Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda). The three struggle to find a name for themselves until they are introduced to songwriter Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), where things start looking up from there. As the Four Seasons become more successful, some things never change and the film beautifully tells the demise of the Four Seasons. Whether it be a book or a play it is difficult to translate stories into a film but the script written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice resulted in a successful rendition. The only issue I had was I felt that in the films running time they failed to mention any other groups that may have been challenging them for success and also why The Four Seasons deserve to be acknowledged the first place. I was not born in this time so I have no idea why they got a musical and a feature-film but nevertheless as a film it told the story it needed to.
The performances are another bright spot in this film and John Lloyd Young played Valli very well, credit him playing the same role in the musical. Christopher Walken was great as usual as the laid-back Gyp DeCarlo. Mike Doyle was standout as Bob Crewe and provided some great unsuspected comedy. Vincent Piazza played a convincing Devito and had that swag the character needed. There were a lot of characters in this film and everyone for the most part fully utilized their moments on set.
When you use great songs such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Walk like a Man in a film, than of course you get a 4.0. However, to maintain the A is always a hard thing to do and the film drops down in points for a failed attempt to work the songs into the main plot. One particular scene, Fankie Valli is singing, My Eyes Adored You to his young daughter Francine. Singing a song about a childhood crush to your daughter is very creepy and it caught me by surprise. Despite this the rest of the compositions were fun and engaging, especially the final number.
Jersey Boys is up against some tough competition in THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, but if you want a nice-clean film that is beautifully shot and heard than it is worth checking out. I have no idea how this compares to the musical but from a film stand point I thought it was enjoyable and will make for a great date night movie. Do not fall for the Kevin Hart syndrome and flock to see THINK LIKE A MAN TOO. Jersey Boys is the best choice this weekend.