So, you know I had to run out to see Jersey Boys as soon after its release as I could, right? Well, it was released on June 20th, but with so much going on, I didn’t get time and opportunity to see it until the 27th! I saw the stage show at Shea’s in Buffalo in May of last year with a friend and LOVED IT! As soon as we started hearing that they made it into a movie, Cathy and I agreed we HAD to go see it! But, we were both concerned that we might be disappointed……after all, the stage show was so fabulous and emotional and energizing and alive…….how could a movie leave you with that same feeling???!!! But, there was no way we weren’t going to go see it – even if only to confirm that the stage show still ruled the universe! So, we did…….and we were NOT disappointed!!!
Yes, the stage show does still rule the universe – I still like it best of the two versions – and Cathy agrees with me! But, the movie held its own and was very good! I thought it had a very different “feel” to it – no comparison to the feeling I got sitting fourth row center in a live show, feeling free to sing along and dance in my seat just like at a concert! That didn’t make the movie inferior, just different – it just isn’t the same in a movie theater with the characters on the big screen, just like it wouldn’t be the same watching the movie on a TV instead of in a theater. Just different!
What the movie had going for it was the freedom of adding little details that they really couldn’t pull off on stage and playing up the story more (although, the stage show did a great job of infusing dialogue to tell the story). The downfall of playing up the story and adding details was that I thought the movie tended to drag on in a couple of spots – the 134 minutes run time seemed a little long because of that – not bad, just felt like I was thinking it was time to move on in a few spots. They carried on an important aspect that I really enjoyed from the stage show – each character had spots throughout where they stepped out of a scene to talk directly to the camera to tell their side of the story. That gave me the feeling that they were standing in front of me explaining their lives to me on a personal level – I liked that! They also kept the grand finale scene where all the characters came out to perform “December 1963, Oh What A Night” together – in the stage show they were all together on stage and in the movie they all danced down a street in Jersey at night with the street lights all lit – it made for a really amazing ending to the movie!
I somehow forgot that I would need a box of tissues……I was caught off guard at the stage show and didn’t have any tissues and REALLY needed them for the sad scenes and all the emotion the songs and just being there generated inside me! Luckily, this time I had napkins for my popcorn, which I had crumbled up and tossed in the bag when the popcorn was gone – I dug them out and used them when the emotions started to flow…….I got tears AND chills in the scene where they first perform “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” with the full horn section – WOW!!!
The cast was amazing! I love Christopher Walken in anything he does – what an incredible actor he is – and he was perfect as mob boss Gyp DeCarlo. John Lloyd Young portrayed Frankie Valli, reprising his Tony Award winning performance from the Broadway stage show for which he won Best Actor in a Musical in 2006. Young sounded and acted so much like the real Frankie Valli – he did a really good job! Vincent Piazza not only portrayed Tommy DeVito to perfection, he was the poster boy for all Italian Jersey boys – you could just see the “I’m trouble” warning stamped all over his face! 🙂 Rounding out the stellar Four Seasons members were Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi and Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio. Other noteworthy cast members were Mike Doyle as music producer Bob Crewe and Renee Marino as Frankie’s first wife, the spicy Mary Delgado.
The only big negative I think I have is the make up job on the guys when they gathered for the 1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony! They were obviously supposed to be made up to look older, but I think they should have found a better make up artist – in my never to be humble opinion! It was so phony looking – it was bad!
So, no I wasn’t disappointed and yes I enjoyed it!!! I highly recommend it! If you’ve never seen the stage show, you won’t have anything to compare it to and you’ll enjoy it with a fresh set of eyes — but, definitely go see the stage show sometime when you have a chance (after you see the movie) to see why it is a much better experience! If you HAVE seen the stage show, don’t worry about being disappointed…..but, go without the expectation of that same feeling you got when you saw the stage show and you’ll enjoy it for different reasons!
OK, so my rating for this movie: A- I stopped myself from giving it a solid A or A+ only because there were a few short spots where I thought it was dragging a bit AND because I just can’t help comparing it to the stage show, which really isn’t fair, but it’s the truth!