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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Movietime in Manhattan: From Brilliant Director Clint Eastwood comes the Big-Screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys” By Warner Brothers Pictures!!! Go Ahead, Make Your Own Day and Go See Jersey Boys the Movie, Which Has Earned Our Absolute Highest Recommendation! It Opens June 20, 2014 in the USA Our Coverage Sponsored by Hallak Cleaners the Couture Cleaner

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Mover and Shaker John-Claude Hallak is the resident Jersey Boy of Whom You Know, and he even married a girl from Belleville, New Jersey.  We hope he gets a kick out of how dry cleaning is literally mentioned quite early on in the movie, but it's not the kind John does...


The whole story started on a street corner, in Belleville, New Jersey. And as Frankie Valli himself along with Bob Gaudio, himself both serve as two of the executive producers behind the most accomplished behind the scenes team ever, you know they must be giving it the two thumbs up.
 It's one thing to be among the most excellent at what you do in film history, and yes Clint Eastwood we're looking at you.  It's an entirely different thing to be able to encourage and cultivate acting talent on the big screen in others, and brilliant director Clint Eastwood did precisely this in Jersey Boys the Movie, which absolutely has earned our highest recommendation.  Ever.
Unless you saw the show, you're not going to know the actors that play Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, because they've NEVER been on the big screen in a major feature debut such as this.  But when it comes to Clint Eastwood (first time we've had the opportunity to review his work although we loved his contribution in HBO's Casting By) and Graham King (Argo earned our highest recommendation as well) and their team which has collaborated on a long list of films, it's clear that Broadway Actors and Actresses can also be Blockbuster Stars.  (Bryce Pinkham should be next, Casting Directors everywhere.)  
The cast is highly talented of course: John Lloyd Young who plays Frankie Valli won a Tony as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theater World Awards.  He is the first American actor ever to win all four major awards for a Broadway debut, and clearly is the most extraordinary choice for the role of Frankie Valli.  He does not outshine the others and it's clear throughout that it is a team effort and all four are stellar in their respective roles: Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio, Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, and Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito, who played hockey at Villanova (hope you enjoy NHL Peachy.  Read it to see what King Henrik told us his favorite movie was...).

If you are tallying up the box office this weekend, get your counters ready.  If your opinion counts in the Oscars, you need to see this.
And, if you think that since you've seen the hit musical you don't need to see the movie, you're wrong.  In moviemaking, so much more can be accomplished than on a single stage.  And the list of what is accomplished in Jersey Boys the movie is tremendous.
Oh what a night opens up the movie, and it's set in 1951 from the start. Seeing the musical journey they are on complete with full ups and downs is one of the best things you can do to feel good about life.  We like how each of them talks to the camera, telling it from their point of view.

You are going to be cheering for them throughout, and if you didn't like this music before the movie, get ready for an upgrade to your music collection.

Everything is accurately portrayed for the time period, particularly the cars complete with their suicide doors.  And did you know the instrumental role Joe Pesci plays in this real life story?
One of our most favorite parts of the movie is Nick's speech towards the end where he erupts and tells everyone what it was really like to room with Tommy....fantastically brilliant execution.  Though Tommy does not seem to have been trained in management to any degree...!
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know Peachy Deegan was hearing this music before she could talk or sing, nevermind write.  She knows all the words to all the songs and although it's involuntary, it would have been voluntary.  She has seen Frankie Valli sing in person a few times though not recently, and she saw Jersey Boys three times in 2006 and was most impressed by Michael Longoria, particularly the first time we saw it and John Lloyd Young had something come up and started the performance but did not finish it.  Peachy was not a professional critic then, but she was impressed enough to tell Michael at the time...Though we do not personally know Frankie, our pal Sal does.  (Sal quite literally does know everybody; have you seen the column Mover and Shaker picture of the week?)  
Sal, note how they are in the Sinatra suite in the movie at one stage...
We feel the movie is true to the show however given the format, it is able to accomplish more and of course, reach more. 
If you have no idea how the music industry works, your eyes will be opened.  Persistence and talent are among the skills needed, and anyone that's ever put their name to something significant will appreciate the story alone, aside from the music.
"I have always loved the music of The Four Seasons, so I knew it would be fun to revisit that, but what mainly interested me was how these semi-juvenile delinquents, who didn't grow up under the best of circumstances, made it big.  They were living on the periphery of the mob, pulling off petty crimes and what have you.  Some had even done jail time.  Then the music came and pulled them out.  It gave them something to strive for," says Clint Eastwood.  "Frankie Valli told me that to be a singer in that neighborhood in those years was hard.  Just singing under the streetlights, they endured a lot of ridicule...until they became a big hit, of course.  But they had to have a great deal of perseverance to get through that."
Christopher Walken was a star as well, though more behind the scenes than the Four Seasons.  Did you know that although Walken's and Eastwood's careers have spanned more than 50 years, this is the first time they worked together?  You'll learn a Jersey contract is a handshake.   However, know that this was not shot in Jersey. It's all Los Angeles thanks to the magic of movies.  And you won't be able to stop saying Abracadabra! 
The most beautiful part of the movie is without a doubt the friendship between Frankie and Bob Gaudio.  From a New York perspective, note that Manhattan is all over this film, particularly once they've "made it" complete with the 1990 Hall of Fame induction at The Waldorf=Astoria.
It's incredible to note that all the songs are sung live on camera, which is highly unusual for a movie.   And, i
f you heard someone singing Sherry on the sidewalks of Manhattan on repeat last night, you know who it was.  We hope you liked it....regardless, even if you're a girl, walk like a man to the nearest theater starting tomorrow.  Eastwood concludes, super accurately we might add as we read this part of the full movie notes after the walking and singing, "I know audiences will come out of the theater humming the songs and that's great.  But I also hope they enjoy learning the story of where those songs come from and remembering the four young men whose legacy is still being felt today."
We'd say it's never going to die.
And P.S. for all of you new to this music, you should know Frankie Valli performed the song Grease - we hope you saw that movie too...and Eastwood cleverly put a special film on one of the televisions in the movie-see if you notice it.

Go ahead. Make your OWN day, and go see Jersey Boys the Movie, which has earned our absolute Highest Recommendation. It is the best movie we've published on in our history to date.  You won't be able to take your eyes off the screen, and remember to bring your own brass section.

From director Clint Eastwood comes the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys.”
The film tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. The story of their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You,” and many more.

These classic hits are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical, which has been running on Broadway for more than eight years and has also enjoyed successful tours around the globe.

Starring in the film, John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the legendary lead singer of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli. Erich Bergen stars as Bob Gaudio, who wrote or co-wrote all of the group’s biggest hits. Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza star respectively as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, two original members of The Four Seasons. Oscar® winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) stars as mobster Gyp DeCarlo. 

Oscar® winner Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”) directed “Jersey Boys” from a screenplay and musical book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, song music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. The film is produced by Eastwood, Graham King and Robert Lorenz, with Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tim Moore, Tim Headington, James Packer and Brett Ratner serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team was led by Academy Award®-nominated director of photography Tom Stern (“Changeling”); Academy Award®-nominated production designer James J. Murakami, (“Changeling”); Oscar®-winning editor Joel Cox (“Unforgiven”) and editor Gary D. Roach; and costume designer Deborah Hopper. 

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a GK Films Production, a Malpaso Production, “Jersey Boys.” Opening nationwide on June 20, 2014, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

This film has been rated R for language throughout.

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