Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jersey Boys

I saw the film, Jersey Boys, directed by Clint Eastwood, recently on cable.  I was very interested in seeing this as it's a fairly accurate biopic about the sixties group, The Four Seasons.  You have to understand I was a young teen-ager in those days - an opera student who liked all kinds of music and was just discovering pop and rock n' roll. (Much to my father's chagrin, but that's another story...)

The first national hit for The Four Seasons was a little ditty called "Sherry." Since that was my childhood name, spelled Sherrie, I felt they were singing just for me and fell instantly in love.  They were eclipsed subsequently by the British Invasion.  I discovered the Beatles and knew everything about them.  Not so much with The Four Seasons.  I just knew I liked most of their songs.

As the teen-age judges on the popular tv show of the day, American Bandstand, would say, "I'd give their music a 90 because they had a good beat and their music was easy to dance to..."

So Jersey Boys was a revelation for me.  Sure, I recognized the songs, found myself singing along on most of them, and remembered how much I liked them. But I knew nothing of the groups' story or of their individual stories.

Mostly Italian Americans from the "mean streets" of New Jersey, they came from working class families.  In their neighborhoods it was easy for the boys to become connected as in organized crime.  The guys in the band had their brushes with that life, but they were saved by their music and Frankie Valli's incredible voice. He had an impressive vocal range as did the young man who played him in the film

Life didn't go smoothly for all of them, despite their number 1 records.  One of the members stole most of the money they made and blew it, leaving the others to deal with his mess.

They split up and did not come back together until the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the 1990s.

Mr. Eastwood has given us a wonderful, entertaining picture with comic moments and pathos.  I was stunned by the story that I never knew, the problems they faced. Remember we didn't have anything like the internet. There was no such thing as instant communication.  Even a phone call took longer to complete in that era. The fan magazines did not print gossip about the downfall of the popular entertainers.

It was an entertaining film, with lively music indicative of another era.  One of my favorite bits was the "curtain call" at the end of the film, reminiscent of the movie Hairspray, with the entire cast singing and dancing as they took their bows. I suspect this is from the Broadway musical, but it works on film and gives a lift at the end.

This film is worth a viewing.  It's got a great cast and catchy music. Get your popcorn, surround yourself with your loved ones and be prepared to be entertained.

I'd give the movie a's got a good beat and is good to dance to...

Until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment