Clint Eastwood is 84. He's still making movies and this week his latest, Jersey Boys, opens at the Whistler Village 8. Thing is, it's based on a Broadway musical and that is almost always a deal breaker. Musical films are only tolerable about 25-per-cent of the time and nine Broadway shows out of 10 have no business being on the silver screen. They're conceived for the limitations of a stage, so why waste my time transferring it to the endless possibilities of the screen — it's like trying to sell Costco muffins at the Purebread Bakery.
One thing Jersey Boys does have going for it — it's about The Four Seasons, one of the 1960s most popular boy bands that helped pioneer a sound (the Beach Boys were cooler, though). A musical film has a lot more chance if the subject is an actual musical group and the Four Seasons had a pretty epic song catalogue. On the not-so-promising side — it's two hours, 14 minutes long. That's an awful lot of dudes harmonizing.
The plot of Jersey Boys revolves around Frankie Valli, whose golden voice catapults him and a fistful of his buddies from the streets into huge celebrities. Of course, the boys never really escape the mean, clichéd streets of their tough-guy hometown.
But still, Clint Eastwood: the guy is almost as old as cinema itself and he has made some incredible flicks on both sides of the camera. Jersey Boys, despite having a title that blows harder than a rusty trombone, will not be total crap but to me it still looks like a cheap play to capitalize on baby-boomer nostalgia and the success of the Broadway show. No thanks.
Regardless, we should be honouring Clint Eastwood. The guy is arguably the greatest western actor of all time (watch The Outlaw Josey Wales) and he set the mold for "badass antihero" with the Dirty Harry flicks. Not everyone is as familiar with his early directing work so check out 1971's Play Misty For Me, a perfectly paced psychological thriller about a radio DJ who gets pulled into a web of murder and weirdness by one of his listeners. The Eiger Sanction was another early hit in a directing career that has been strong, steady, and crossed a multitude of genres. See also: Unforgiven, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Sudden Impact and Changeling. Clint is the man, just not this time.
Sadly, Jersey Boys is the only new flick opening at the Village 8 this week. 22 Jump Street is still showing and is good for some laughs at its own expense (But take note ladies: Channing Tatum does not have any scenes with his shirt off) And How to Train Your Dragon 2 is solid fare for the kiddies. Edge of Tomorrow has fun action/mindgames and The Fault In Our Stars covers all that feel-good, handholding, life is beautiful crap.
The other big news this week is that the corrupt fools running our country just green-lit the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, an 1,100-km string of bad ideas that would see Albertan Tar Sands bitumen pumped to the Pacific Coast, loaded onto supertankers and sent out into some of the most dangerous waters on the planet.
This is a hot issue that will probably incite the closest thing to a civil war Canada has ever seen, but it has already inspired a number of films allowing you to get informed and see what is at risk. Stand, by Sea to Sky filmmakers Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob, is required viewing, as is Groundswell from Patagonia and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Both flicks are available online and are the Downloads of the Week. This one will only get more heated. Stay tuned.