Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Jersey Boys

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The story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – four young men who decide to form a rock group in the 1960’s.
The movie focuses on how the group were created and how their style was about to change the world of music forever..

 

Still from Jersey Boys

Cast

John Lloyd Young – Frankie Valli

Vincent Piazza – Tommy DeVito

Erich Bergen – Bob Gaudio

Michael Lomenda – Nick Massi

Katherine Narducci – Mary Rinaldi

Mike Doyle – Bob Crewe

Christopher Walken – Angelo ‘Gyp’ DeCarlo

Joey Russo – Joe Pesci

 

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Easy Watching, Easy Listening

Before I saw this movie I was weary of two things: that Jersey Boys would take the route of features like Mama Mia and consist of a load of camp shaven-headed guys and frizzy-haired girls doing the splits with overly passionate facial expressions. Or that it would have one of the main characters narrating their story by way of constant, insufferable in-your-face camera presence.

I was pleasantly surprised.
As well as being void of the above irritants, Jersey Boys kept me entertained and educated on the group’s background throughout its screen time – garnished with four main leads who were very easy on the eye (Frankie himself being my personal favourite). The movie is narrated at certain points by various characters, but otherwise runs like a normal film. Those who do pop up include members of the group, their spouses, etc. – but if don’t fret because if you’re not overly keen on those ‘hey, I’m talking to you’ narrating bits, they are very brief with no more than three or four lines spoken before the action continues. This movie is not a documentary or a daft musical – it is actually rather nice.

 

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Birth

The formation of The Four Seasons is heavily focused on; beginning with Frankie’s job as a barber’s floor sweeper up to the boys breaking into the music industry. The peachy-faced boy sings to the customers of the barber shop so passionately, that he eventually becomes noticed.
We witness the discovery of their group name (with the help of a motel car park’s electrician as shown in the trailer), the inspiration behind the songs Big Girls Don’t Cry (amazingly, by one of the boys simply watching television) and Sherry, as well as various TV appearances including their audience-bopping stint on American Bandstand.
I revelled in these scenes, I found myself enjoying the atmosphere created by the boys’ success. Very rarely does something on screen genuinely make me smile, but this did. There was no pretentious bullshit, no exaggerated dramas, it was simply a bunch of handsome young men doing what they loved doing – and receiving the recognition they deserved. There were a few issues behind the scenes though; Frankie’s turbulent relationship with his wife, Tommy and his bad-boy streak which causes friction within the group, one of the group being a virgin..
So you get to see all sides of the boys, its not just them on stage the whole film.

I found Frankie quite dashing; as the actor stood on stage dressed in a dapper suit, crooning away with a bright white smile, I was totally won over. Many of his scenes see him standing under bright stage lights, passionately singing away. The second I first saw those beautiful straight nashers and dimples, John Lloyd Young became my new Hollywood crush.
He reminds me a little of Seth McFarlane – the lovely teeth, deep brown eyes, cute peachy skin..

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..my god, if I could get the two in the same room together, it’d be fucking carnage.

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Foot-Tapper

This movie is a total foot-tapper. I personally have no knowledge in the background of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, nor am I familiar with their recordings / albums other than the few obvious songs (Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry). However, my feet got a bloody good workout during the entire movie – it was seriously foot-tapping stuff and I enjoyed every minute of the musical scenes as I tapped and sang along. I have absolutely no doubt that if you’re a fan of the group or in fact, a fan of any musical show, you will enjoy every second.

This movie is fantastic musical fun.

 

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Emotional

WHY did I feel emotional after watching this?!

As I left the cinema and walked down the street, Sherry was all I could think about as I sang the lyrics to myself. I thought of Frankie Valli, and was smiling.
Not only did this movie entertain me, but it left a positive lasting impression that stayed with me as I continued my day, the haunting tune of Sherry reverberating in my brain. I felt as though 134 minutes of my life had been used wisely and preciously – this was a movie I was glad I went to see.

Think of a time in your life when you spent the last week or few days taking part in something you absolutely loved – but then the day came when you had to leave, it all came to an end – time to say goodbye. This is the emotion Jersey Boys stirred within me.
It reminded me of when I was 7 or 8 years old and I was on holiday with my family; as we loaded up the car to leave the campsite, I would smile – thinking of the wonderful people I’d met and made friends with, the lively holiday camp bar where every night saw a different group of singers / dancers on stage, days playing on the beach, nights enjoying meals with our campsite neighbours..
..and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye to them.
That feeling right there. That is the only way I can describe how I felt after watching this movie; smiling with appreciation at the great time I had, mixed with a feeling of total sadness. The group of handsome guys singing such catchy songs, and the effect they had on  people was brilliantly captivating.

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So you may not have the same reaction as me, but hey – we all have our own feelings. I guarantee though, you will be leaving the cinema thinking of one of their songs if not singing it out loud.

 

 

 

 

What Went Wrong

At one point, I wished the director could have used some sort of sign to differentiate one character from another. Because the men in this movie all look the bloody same! Ok, so I could tell the difference between their personalities but other than this, it was like being sat playing a giant game of Where’s Wally. Come on Clint, stick a slightly visible streak of silver colourant in one of the boy’s hair – just so I can tell the difference..

One scene sees the group introduced to songwriter Bob Gaudio. As he approaches the stage and starts talking to one of the men, it was literally as though he was talking to his stunt double – at that moment I felt a bit miffed, lost. All guys in this movie seemed to sport the exact same brown hair, hairstyles and brown eyes. Like a batch of clones, I got to the point where I gave up trying to figure out who was who and just let them get on with it.
This ruined the movie slightly, because I was enjoying it and wanted to focus on each individual character – it was just a bit hard to when most of them looked the bloody same! Two of the group I just couldn’t tell apart.

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The End

The song and dance finale whereby all cast come running out to perform in a final song was quite good. The second it began, I thought “ahh, shit. Just the cheesy stuff I didn’t want..” – but it actually wasn’t bad. The boys and supporting cast sing their way through a Four Seasons hit and at one point freeze – holding their positions still. I liked this, it added a nice dynamic to the feature and was like something they’d do on stage in the live theatre show. (I haven’t seen the theatre show, so if they do – then bingo).

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Actually, I caught a girl sat a few rows down in front of me sneakily video recording the finale on her mobile. I snapped a pic as I thought it was hilarious. The little minx.

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Jersey Boys is fantastic.
Highly entertaining, the movie is a detailed account of the ‘before, during & after’ of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Viewers get to witness the creation of the group as well as the birth of their songs and the effect they had on people around the world.
The feature is nicely balanced between musical and movie, thus delivering less cheese and more story.

The four main leads deliver effective performances throughout, which carry the movie to its high level.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who fancies a feel-good afternoon – and if you’re well into your musicals and 60’s music.. you’ll have a bloody wail of a time.
A well-rounded, captivating movie that I would definitely watch again.

 

9/10

 

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This entry was posted on June 23, 2014 by .
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