I wanted to see the movie when it first came out but decided to wait patiently till a week later to watch it with friends. Being a fan of Clint Eastwood films and having seen Jersey Boys on stage, I was looking forward to Clint's adaptation.
If you give up on friends, no matter what, then you're not from Jersey.
I was first and foremost immediately impressed by the shades of sepia tones he chose for the film as it felt a perfect representation that drew you into the era. For me, the best parts about the film was the magic of Christopher Walken's portrayal of Gyp DeCarlo, the guy you went to when you wanted to get things done, or undone. You cannot mask true talent. I guess next to the four newcomers that took the main roles, he is a well seasoned actor and it shows. Mind you, the others were not half bad either. Good on Clint for challenging himself with actors made up of unknowns or actors on the rise, and of course Broadway's John Lloyd Young, who ended up with a Tony for playing Frankie Valli. Here's a bit of trivia for you. It's interesting to note that in reality, the mobster played by Christopher Walken also funded Frank Sinatra's career. A complete pleasant surprise to me was that real life actor Joe Pesci (Lethal Weapon, Good Fellas) played a little part in the rise and rise of Frankie Valli.
A rags to riches story but filled with good music
The whole film is narrated at one point or the other by whichever actor takes the lead to do so at that point in time. Some might find that annoying or confusing, but I was pretty happy with it and perhaps it was Clint's way of doing something a little different. That's kinda where it ends for me, as this movie does not really show the markings of the famous Eastwood branding that is normally threaded through every film he makes; like one of my favourites of his, The Gran Torino. It was a watchable movie, it told a story, and if you're a fan of Frankie Valli, you'll love the music, but there's nothing in it that has you leaving the cinema saying, 'wow, Eastwood has done it again'.
The young actors appreciated Clint being very open and telling them to trust their best instincts
It's a simple story of a bunch of boys from the wrong side of the tracks making it good to become the iconic performers of the 1960s. There's enough music in it to make it a musical, yet it is handled in such an appropriate way that no one bursts into song at an inappropriate moment like a 'regular' musical. Perhaps this is the un-noticed skill of the master. I still love Clint anyway.