Follow Genre: True story, Musical, Comedy
Director: Clint Eastwood
Distributor: Warner Home Video

Jersey Boys (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

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Good: Good music, intresting story
Bad: Average acting, too much focus on the bad moments of the band
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Before the Beatles grew out to become the world’s biggest band, there was the Four Seasons. One of the biggest band in history, the group was led by vocalist Frankie Valli. They evolved from being small time New Jersey mafia runners to one of the most successful groups in history, with a lot of highs and lows during their career. Their upbringings will follow them even as they make it. Their tale of dealing with responsibility and temptation is told in Jersey Boys.

jersey-boysJersey Boys is the latest creation of Clint Eastwood. Eastwood, once a legend as actor, has long expanded his range from being casted as a tough looking cowboy in westerns, to a director who has made some exceptional movies, such as Million Dollar Baby. In Jersey Boys, he is adapting the Broadway musical that shares the same name. The musical was written by Bob Gaudio, one of the members of the Four Seasons, so it’s being told right from the horse’s mouth.

The story starts with the introduction of Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), who has a band together with his brother Nicky (Johnny Cannizzaro) and their mutual friend Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda). In between recordings, the three man are running small operations for local mafia boss Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo (Christopher Walken). We also meet Frankie (John Lloyd Young), a 15-year old son of a barber, where Gyp frequently gets a haircut.

jersey-boysWhen the boys attempt a robbery of a safe, the police catches them. Frankie gets off with a warning, thanks to Tommy taking all the responsibility for the crime. Tommy however must spent six months in jail. With this, his band breaks up. Six months later, when Tommy gets released, he recreates the band, now with Frankie as lead singer. The group still lacks a songwriter. Joe Pesci (Joey Russo) – yes, that Joe Pesci, the Goodfellas guy – introduces the group to Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen). With him joining, the band renames itself the “Four Seasons” and the success story begins. However, even with all the success, the boys still have trouble leaving their problematic childhood in Jersey behind.

As you might guess, music plays a very important role in this movie. All the hits songs from the Four Seasons get their own little moment, and you get an insight in what inspired them. If you can tolerate some nice 60’s and 70’s tunes, you’ll be tapping your feet all the way through the movie. The only downside is that the songs are always played until their completion, which is sometimes a bit too long and makes the movie drag on a bit.

To say that this is Clintwood’s finest would be given the movie a bit too much credit and the actors are a bit to blame. While Vincent Piazza is performing excellent (just like he did in Boardwalk Empire), the remaining cast members look a bit bleak in comparison. John Lloyd Young does plays the part well when he has to be sad or angry, but lacks the charisma to portray the enthusiastic Valli on stage. Walken is still putting in performances based upon his old work, almost playing on autopilot.

Jersey-Boys-2Story wise the movie is quite decent. The plot stays pretty focused and we get to see how everyone reacts to the pressure of stardom. A lot is shown instead of explicitly said, so it is up to the viewer to really understand how the band interacted. Eastwood also made a very interesting choice in directing the movie. The actors will, at certain intervals, address the camera directly. This allows them to share their feelings with whatever is happening at time moment. The only problem is that this sometimes disturbs the flow of the story. It would’ve been preferable if their feelings were shown, instead of them explicitly saying what they felt towards the camera.

In the end, movie misses one important aspect: joy. While it chronicles the downs of the band, we are left unsure of the heights and the joys. As it is now, the movie feels quite underwhelming. With all the downsides to fame, one has to wonder if the Jersey Boys actually enjoyed being so great.


Jersey Boys is a pretty straight adaptation from the Broadway musical, which means that the (excellent) musical numbers take priority over the content and flow of the story. It certainly isn’t Eastwood’s greatest, but even then, the story is still pretty good and gives us a decent insight in the life of the “Four Seasons”.

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