Monday, June 30, 2014


Vincent Piazza: Tommy DeVito, one of the Varitones trio
John Lloyd Young: his friend 16-year-old Frank Castelluccio
Christopher Walker: mob boss Gyp DeCarlo
Johnny Cannizzaro: Tommy’s brother Nick, the trio’s bassist
Michael Lomenda: their friend Nick Massi
Renée Marino: Mary Delgado
Erich Bergen: Bob Gaudio, songwriter of the hit “Short Shorts”
Mike Doyle: music producer Bob Crewe
Elizabeth Hunter: Frankie’s 7-year-old daughter Francine
Donnie Kehr: loan shark Norm Waxman
Erica iccininni: Journalist Lorraine
Freya Tingley: 17-year-old Francine

Perhaps it is not a fair comparison but having seen the stage version this film is far less entertaining, prone to go off on tangents that add little or nothing to the narrative and it is too long, far too long. Using the narrative device of some band members directly addressing the camera from time to time, I find jarring: a reminder of the fact we are sitting watching a made-in-Hollywood-movie rather than simply being swept up in the story. Voice-over would have been a much better technique as it is less intrusive.

Another thing I found unsettling was the confusing side-story about Tommy’s money problems, presumably from gambling or playing the horses or partying? That was never made clear. And the band’s commitment to helping him out is pushing the “code of honour” a bit too far given the amount involved.

But the chief shortcoming in my view is too much talking between the musical numbers, the reason why this group was so well know. Knowing a bit about them is fine but that should not bog things down.

 for language throughout.

  • Frankie and the rest of the group arrive at Gyp’s house in two Cadillacs, and park with the blue one in front of the red one. When Bob leaves and gets in the red one, he could not have driven off the way he did without first moving the blue one out of the way.
  • This is one of my classic all-time favourite nitpicks: at the end of the telephone conversation the other party hangs up and Frankie is left listening to the dial tone. In reality the dial tone is only heard after picking up the phone before dialling. That’s why it’s called a dial tone.
  • After performing at the Ohio State Fair the group is approached by a police officer who says “Welcome to Cleveland”. The state fair is held in Columbus, Ohio not in Cleveland.
The aging makeup for the last scene is so poorly done it is almost comical. 

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