Director: Clint Eastwood
Year Released: 2014
Should come with a warning label: even after two days of seeing this, you will not have "Sherry" out of your head. In this screen adaptation of the well-received and profitable Broadway musical, gangster-wannabe/singer Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) and his buddies make nice-nice with the mob, get into a lot of trouble and roll out a series of hits (including personal favorite "Big Girls Don't Cry," based on Ace in the Hole if you can believe it) before going in debt, breaking up and dealing with tragedy (Valli's daughter had a problem with drugs). Little in this Nothing-to-Something narrative should come as much of a surprise (they sprinkle in some arguments here and there to keep everyone on their toes) and the approach by Eastwood (a very unlikely director for this kind of material) is more dark and moody than necessary: it only comes alive (however briefly) when they actually do sing their already popular and famous numbers. A major issue with it, unfortunately, is Young as Valli: though a success in the stage version, he disappears on screen (appearing delicate and transparent) while more dominant figures (especially Vincent Piazza as guitarist/spendthrift Tommy) come across as more multi-dimensional. Fun aside: a few years ago, Valli was performing at a local music festival and my Mom was volunteering at the ticket booth. He came over to my Mom and tried mooching free tickets, telling her, "You know I'm famous, right?" She smiled and said he had to pay for them. Singer yes, gangster: not even close....