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'Jersey Boys' Review Roundup: Eastwood's Musical Biopic Never Decides What To Be

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 16, 2014 at 1:12PM

Clint Eastwood wasn't necessarily anyone's first thought when it came to a director for the film version of the 2005 Broadway hit "Jersey Boys." But the director's still on the A-list at Warner Bros. for his calm, economic, unpretentious, methodical filmmaking, flair for local color and good ear for music. Don't forget Cannes prize-winner "Bird"--Eastwood's a jazz pianist and composer.
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Eastwood and his "Jersey Boys"
Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair Eastwood and his "Jersey Boys"

Clint Eastwood, 84, wasn't necessarily anyone's first thought when it came to a director for the film version of the Tony-winning 2005 Broadway hit "Jersey Boys." But the director's still on the A-list at Warner Bros. for his calm, economic, unpretentious, methodical filmmaking, flair for local color and good ear for music. Don't forget Cannes prize-winner "Bird"--Eastwood's a jazz pianist and composer.  And he, like everyone else, couldn't resist the siren call of such pop hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)." "It's just a lot of good songs," he told Vanity Fair. "You go home humming a different one every night." 

But it was a sign that the studio knew the 60s musical about Frankie Valli (the Broadway hit's John Lloyd Young) wasn't an awards contender when it opted not to wait for Oscar perennial Eastwood's customary year-end slot, but instead premiered the film as the June 19 closing night of the Los Angeles Film Festival. 

Check out the initial reviews of Eastwood's Four Seasons biopic below. The consensus: "Jersey Boys" has its ups and downs, but it never quite coheres into anything truly memorable. Back to you after we see the film at Thursday's LAFF premiere. 

Opens: June 20.

This article is related to: Clint Eastwood, Musical, Reviews, Jersey Boys


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.