Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jersey Boys ★★

    Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" is a poor (and tedious I might add) imitation of Martin Scorsese's picture entitled "Goodfellas." There are an innumerable amount of resemblances that will jump off the screen and subdue you into an indefatigable state of déjà vu. Perhaps Mr. Eastwood has become a victim of his own subconscious.

    No matter how the result was executed--it was--and "Jersey Boys" essentially depicts the rise, and the subsequent fall, of the very popular 1960s foursome, aptly named, The Four Seasons. If you are direly interested in how the band obtained its name, or how Frankie Vally actually became Frankie "Valli," then you are surely old enough to remember the music that accompanied these personas, and hopefully you have seen enough motion pictures to realize why this portrayal is defective.

    We are roped into this dreary tale by a breaking of the "fourth wall'' via Tommy DeVito, whose projection of character rivals that of Robert De Niro, in the previously mentioned and seemingly often referenced material, and whose name mimics that of another "Goodfellas" personality played by the extremely talented Joe Pesci--an individual who also finds his way in the film as a middle man to the obtaining of the group's fourth member and ultimate success. (The man, not the actor.)

    With all similarities aside, however, there are two notable facets of the picture that fail invariably. Conflict, the mainspring of any plot driven theme worthy of the designation of enjoyable, is relatively absent, albeit, for the complications present in every music group's road to stardom which can be found in a "Behind the Music" documentary. (If you are unacquainted with these stumbling blocks, they include debt, betrayal, and surprisingly irrelevant here, substance abuse.) Frankie attempts to juggle his personal life with that of the band, neither of which is calculated efficiently enough.

    John Lloyd Young, in his first role bearing any significance, certainly fits the physical requirements of a small and level-headed young man from New Jersey with a voice that almost emulates that of Valli. The issue here is that this is the only ability provided by Young, as he obviously took the outside approach to his subject matter, and he never quite succeeds in prying open the soul of a beloved lead singer, which is one of the foremost attractions of the film itself. We hear the lyrics of classic tunes, such as "Sherry" and "Big Girls Don't Cry," but we are ultimately left at an emotional distance from the man behind the voice.

    Let's be honest here: Clint Eastwood, much like every other living and breathing mammal on this Earth, has one definable enemy, and that is time. It is my conviction that Eastwood, a remarkable director to date, was intent on creating a picture here which displayed a portion of his passion for music instead of producing a viable product. Although it is true that every artist, no matter the medium, creates their artwork from the heart, this concept is not always valued in film-making. In spite of this, however, if there were anyone worthy enough of divulging into their personal fascinations for inspiration, it would be Eastwood. Every great director deserves at least one.

1 comment:

  1. I did not go see the movie as it was rated R. I did, however, see the stage presentation - way before it was made into a movie - and I LOVED it! It's my era and it was awesome! Based on your movie review, I'm sure I made the right decision!