A little housekeeping first… If the film I choose to watch is a new release, like this one, then I will write my review after the fact. But with the older movies that are on DVD and Netflix (or even VHS), I have the ability to write my thoughts down AS I watch them. Which is what I plan on doing. That way I won’t forget a particularly witty thought that I am sure to have. Obviously after watching the older movies I will go back through my initial post and edit- My thoughts may not make complete sense to others the first time around.
My latest movie theater excursion found me in the Jersey Boys showing. Now, I’ve never had the chance to witness what I hear is the brilliance of the Broadway show, but I must say that the film was FANTASTIC. Unfortunately, I could not drink tea in the theater, so instead I’m drinking tea as I write this. As a frame of reference, I absolutely love older music, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons included. I have not done much research into the history of the band, but I am curious as to how much of the film/Broadway show are true. Like, did they really get the band name from an old bowling alley? I also have enjoyed the Clint Eastwood films that I have previously seen, so I went into this with high expectations. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Obviously the film is set back in the 50s and 60s, and they did a fantastic job of not going over the top with the sets and costumes. Is it odd to admit one of my favorite aspects was seeing the progression of the microphones used in their shows? No shame. The sepia tinting to everything made sure the audience always knew what era it was supposed to be. I was grateful that the film did not just turn into another Goodfellas, even with all of the mob histories.
The time jumping did get a little confusing at times, but the director made sure to explain the time jumps or go back and clear a couple things up. It was especially helpful when the characters would break down the fourth wall and talk to the audience. I love when that happens in movies and television! The acting was also great, they didn’t lay it on thick and tailored it to an actual movie performance instead of a Broadway show. (I heard that the actor playing Frankie Valli, John Lloyd Young, tried out for the Broadway show and didn’t get the part – their loss)
It was actually a very powerful movie, showing the ugly side of fame as well as loss and heartbreak. The Clint Eastwood made no effort to gloss over anything, it was pretty raw. Was it supposed to feel like a documentary? If so, then they succeeded. The song choices were perfect, as well. Although, if I could change anything, I would’ve added in Frankie Valli singing “Grease” at some point. I’m a cliche because one of my all-time favorite songs is “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, so when they FINALLY got to that point in Frankie’s career, I was beyond excited and it was almost overwhelming. It was shown as what really saved Frankie’s life, after living through a terrible tragedy. I can only hope that it’s true.
Do I have any complaints about Jersey Boys? Well, I will answer that question with another question – What normal person wouldn’t? That’s like asking a reader if they like the movie better than the book. Blasphemy. Anyway… Most of my complaints are more about the life choices the band members made, and the screenwriters couldn’t really do much to fix that. I would’ve like to have explored Bobby’s motivations more. Or even Nicky’s. Things were said when the band finally broke up, but they didn’t explain everything.
Overall, I loved Jersey Boys and I will totally watch it again. It is definitely an interesting comparison, going from watching this and then listening to the actual songs after. Even now as I listen to the music while pondering my thoughts on the film.
Stay tuned for my next review! As an FYI, I don’t go to the movie theater as often as I would like, but I will do my best to make the extra effort!