I was never much of a Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons fan. I never saw the musical Jersey Boys on stage. I didn't know if I would like the movie. But I did, I really did. Now--much to Willy Dunne Wooters' delight--I can't stop singing "Willy, Willy baby, Willy, Willy baby, Willy, can you come out tonight? Why don't you come out with your red dress on?" I guess it might be irritating the one thousandth time.
I like Jersey Boys so much that I watched the DVD twice before reluctantly mailing it back to my dear friends at Netflix (2014, Rated R, Available On DVD, Directed by Clint Eastwood).
I like many aspects of Jersey Boys in addition to the music. The strong focus on the relationships between the original Four Seasons is interesting because even when they reached the point when some of them couldn't stand other members of the group, they took care of each other because it's the code of their neighborhood, the code of their Italian background, and the code of the mob. Yes, they had ties to organized crime--something I didn't know.
Frankie (John Lloyd Young) is out with a woman who asks, Why do you have a girlfriend when you have a wife? He answers that family is everything. That's the key to this movie. It's not just family as in the people to whom one is related. Family is a broader and more meaningful term. One could also say that three of the Four Seasons are stereotypical Italian men.
I didn't know most of what's in the movie about this unique group of young men. I did my research and learned very little of it is not true.
Stuff I like:
- The main characters take turns narrating the movie. One of the Four Seasons might turn to the camera and break the fourth wall to add narration in the middle of a song.
- Three of the four actors who play the members of the group played their parts on Broadway.
- All the actors are good. I'm not a Christopher Walken fan, but he's better than usual as a mob boss.
- The actors sang live. No problems with matching recordings to the movement of their mouths.
- The movie has a great finale that made me feel as if I were watching the show on stage.
As much as I enjoyed Jersey Boys, I don't see it as a movie that will get a lot of Academy Award nominations. Maybe Vincent Piazza will get a best supporting actor nomination for playing Tommy DeVito. He's perfect in his role. He's the only "member" of the group who didn't appear in the stage version. It seems Clint Eastwood was wise in his casting choice.
John Lloyd Young won a Tony award, but I'll be surprised if he's nominated by the Academy.
This movie has a lot of profanity and extra-curricular activities that you don't want your children to see. Perhaps older teens who want to learn more about the history of music will join you for Jersey Boys, which has The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. Willy Dunne Wooters didn't rate the movie. He said, "I liked that. It was good."
Don't you want to sing along? Frankie can hit some notes higher than I sing, and I'm a first soprano.
Infinities of love,