When Moviepilot first asked me to write a piece on an early DVD release of Jersey Boys, I obviously said, "Absolutely!" ... but in my head, I was thinking "Jersey Boys... really?" Some of you may recall, and many of you might not, that Jersey Boys premiered in theaters over the summer with a disappointing domestic profit of only $47 million, which is even more disappointing when you realize that the film took $40 million to make. Hence, I was among the many who knew the film was going to be an instant flop.
Check out the trailer:
So, after a long day of deciphering my organic chemistry homework and figuring out the velocity of a falling ball in my physics homework, I sat down at 10:30 pm with a blanket, a Pepsi, and popcorn just hoping that the two hour film would, at the very least, not put me to sleep. By the end, what I got instead was a head full of Frankie Valli's tunes and a sudden urge to move to Jersey. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Jersey Boys is FANTASTIC! Let me tell you why...
*Note: some of my comments may be super vague and seemingly unhelpful, but I do it because I don't want to give anything away!
1. Clint Eastwood
Now, that should get your attention! Before I say anything else, let's just marvel at the fact that not only is the man alive and healthy at 84, but he is directing huge Hollywood productions. Not only that, but he's directing good, nay amazing, Hollywood productions (the latest of which is Jersey Boys)! When asked what would stop him from directing, he straightforwardly answered "Senility...you're never too old to learn things."
I seriously want to be as cool as this guy one day!
Eastwood has graced the screen as an actor over 50 times and directed his first film, Play Misty for Me, at age 40. How does he do it?..."Never let the old man in!"
Being raised in the 1950s and being an avid music fan (granted he does prefer jazz), Eastwood instantly jumped at the opportunity of making this project happen. Once he had his hands on it, the rest was a whirlwind.
If watching this legend's latest work isn't motivation enough to watch the film, then I don't know what is...but I'll keep trying! On to #2!
2. Unknown Actors
Wait...why is that a good thing? Let me clarify that when (and you will) watch this film, you will most likely literally not know who the heck any of these people are! And for very good reason. Clint Eastwood and his casting team specially hand picked each and every one of them. From where? You'll find out very soon, but in the mean time, that is beside the point. The point is that instead of getting distracted by the fact that yet another Hollywood star has been awkwardly forced into the role of a pseudo-Broadway crooner (alla Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Chris pine, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe (love you Russell, but I'm sure Victor Hugo is probably twisting in his grave at the sound of your voice), etc.), the anonymity of the actors actually works in their favor.
You don't see Hollywood glamor. You only see Frankie, Nick, Tommy, and Bobby, and for the next two hours you are fully immersed in the rough-and-tumble world of The 4 Seasons.
Now let's take a look at the actors and the legends they portrayed.
John Lloyd Young as Franki Valli
Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito
Erich Bergen as Bob Gaudio
Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi
Christopher Walken as Gyp DeCarlo
Mike Doyle as Bob Crewe
3. Cheaper than Broadway
This may be super obvious, but I still think it's definitely a point worth emphasizing. If you are as big of a theater fan as I am, watching performances on Broadway all day would be a dream come true. But alas...that is not the case. With a few hundred dollar flight tickets, a performance ticket that could cost anywhere from $60-$180, plus the inflated Time Square restaurant prices, a quick trip to a Big Apple stage could easily cost more than 600 bucks...600 bucks a broke college student like myself simply doesn't have.
So why not Redbox it?! Dig into your couch cushions, find $1.29, and head to the nearest Walgreens. Better yet, go ahead and pre-order it here so you can have it forever and ever!
But in all seriousness, Eastwood's Jersey Boys delivers a magical, Broadway caliber performance without the Big Apple price.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that the film does create its own identity. As Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito) put it:
"you’re transported into the authenticity of the world that it’s hard to get to on stage because of practical reasons...it’s a different medium, and it lives and breathes differently."
4. Professional Performers
Remember how earlier I said that these actors were specially handpicked by Eastwood and his casting crew? Being the genius that he is, Eastwood decided to personally tour the Las Vegas, San Francisco, and New York stage performances of Jersey Boys and ended up casting veteran stage performances in most of the lead roles. So when I said that you would be getting a Broadway caliber performance, I meant it quite literally! Many of these performers have been portraying these characters for years and know the storyline, dialogue, and music down pat.
For instance, John Lloyd Young, who plays Frankie Valli in the film, performed as Frankie Valli in the original Broadway production and for very good reason. Young's falsetto definitely competes with that of Frankie Valli himself. See for yourself!
Cast of the Jersey Boys film:
The original Four Seasons (1964):
Did I also mention all the music was performed and recorded live in the film? Yeah. That happened.
5. The End Scene
And last but not least, the end scene is... something I can't tell you about. You'll just have to watch the film for yourself to see! Let's just say.. it's a pretty awesome tribute to the movie's theatrical origins!
And there you have it folks, my reasons you should not only watch but buy Jersey Boys when it hits store shelves November 11th! Of course, there's a million and two other reasons to watch it, but I don't want to spoil anything for you because it is THAT good!
Let me know below whether or not you're going to watch it and why by commenting below! And if/when you do watch it, please let me know what you thought!
Remember to grab your copy of Jersey Boys on Tuesday, November 11th!