"Fame, Fortune and Misery"
JERSEY BOYS is a well-made telling of the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons complete with their rise to fame, the temptations that ensnared them, and the resulting misery their sins caused. Highlighting the group’s memorable music, the movie is marred by too much intense vulgarity and poor lifestyle choices.
JERSEY BOYS opens with Tommy DeVito briefly speaking straight to the camera as if telling his story about starting a band in New Jersey. At several points in the movie, other characters go into narrator mode.
As the story opens, Frankie Valli gets involved with some mob-related friends – much to his parents’ dismay. At a young age, Frankie is known in the neighborhood as a boy with potential as a singer. When caught with friends trying to steal a safe, his friends are sentenced to prison, but he’s just given a warning and told to keep practicing his singing.
When Frankie gets a shot as a guest singer in Tommy DeVito’s band, he proves to be popular. Tommy makes Frankie part of the band and sets him up with a date with Mary DelGado. They soon get married.
The band struggles and goes through a number of names. Bob Gaudio joins the band and brings his talent as a songwriter. Characters clash, but the song “Sherry Baby” turns the group into an instant hit. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” quickly follow, and the group goes from obscurity to mega-stardom in just months.
Their huge success results in tours, hotels, partying and infidelity. Frankie’s marriage gets ugly. Mary becomes an alcoholic, and their daughters wind up living with their father absent. Bob Gaudio’s morals are corrupted, Tommy steals from the group’s earnings, and Frankie starts an ongoing affair with a reporter.
JERSEY BOYS shows clearly the misery and tragedy of fame and fortune without morality. What it doesn’t do, however, is offer redemption. It’s as if the movie says, “Fame leads to temptation, excess and misery, but you eventually get over it.” Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson didn’t get over it. The Hollywood tabloids are filled with stories of broken relationships, drug problems and tragedy. The misery is very real today.
Jesus Christ offers the way out of this misery. He paid the price for our forgiveness and redemption. The concept of being “born again” is real. The old life, filled with the excesses displayed in JERSEY BOYS, can be laid down and replaced by a new life. Pursuit of self-gratification can be replaced by genuine love for others. Pride can be replaced by humility, lust by purity and vulgarity by words of kindness. The goal of Christianity is not condemnation. It’s redemption. It’s transformed lives. It’s freedom. Freedom from lust, alcoholism, drug addiction, bitterness, and anger.
Those who desire fame and fortune should consider all the pain and misery in THE JERSEY boys. The greater thing to desire is wisdom.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, THE JERSEY BOYS is very well made. The songs are memorable and the story is captivating even at 132 minutes, but the language is filthy and the lifestyles on display horrible. Movieguide® warns that JERSEY BOYS is excessive and recommends that parents discuss with their children the dangers of seeking fame and fortune above wisdom and righteousness. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom [or Rule] of God and His righteousness.”
(PaPa, B, Cap, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, AA, DD, MMM) Strong, slightly mixed pagan worldview shows pursuing fame, fortune and lust will bring misery, but there’s no redemption, plus some capitalist content, and a homosexual character; at least 82 obscenities, one strong profanity using Jesus, and two other profanities; car smashes through a window, chair smashed over a desk, brief wrestling, and a faked murder used for extortion; fornication and adultery, but not explicit, plus there’s a homosexual character with some references to his lifestyle (but nothing shown); upper male nudity; some drinking, one scene of drunkenness, and children told mother uses “medicine” when really she’s drinking; smoking, a drug-related death (but drug taking not shown); and, attempted robbery, gifts given from goods clearly stolen, extortion, embezzlement, dishonesty, mob activity but seen as bad, and father’s absence has negative impact.
JERSEY BOYS tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, complete with their rise to fame, the temptations that seduce them, and the resulting misery. It opens with Frankie getting involved with Tommy and some other mob-related friends – much to his parents’ dismay. When Frankie gets a shot as a guest singer in Tommy’s band, he proves popular. Characters clash, but the song “Sherry Baby” turns the group into a hit. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” quickly follow, and the group goes from obscurity to mega-stardom in just months. Their huge success results in fame and fortune, but also excessive partying and infidelity.
JERSEY BOYS clearly shows the misery and tragedy of fame and fortune without morality. For instance, Frankie’s marriage gets ugly. His wife becomes an alcoholic, and their daughters wind up living with their father absent. What the movie doesn’t offer is redemption. The language is filthy and the lifestyles displayed horrible. JERSEY BOYS is excessive. Parents should discuss with their children the dangers of seeking fame and fortune above God’s wisdom and righteousness.