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|Index||12 reviews in total|
I grew up in the Metro New York area during the do wop period in rock
and roll so I know the music well. I've also been acquainted with some
"one hit wonders" living in serene obscurity. I discovered I was living
next door to the lead singer of a do wop group with a very big hit
record for fifteen years only after another neighbor mentioned it to me
This small budget movie was written, directed and acted by people who know the territory. The cast is uniformly excellent with Armand Assante, Diane Venora, Edoardo Ballerini, Christy Carlson Romano and Joe Grifaci leading the way.
Shot on locations around Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge in Diners, Taverns, Wedding Halls and under the Verrazano Bridge, the film captures the sense of the Italian Irish Brooklyn that predominated in the late 50's and early 60's and lives on today in small enclaves.
Kenny Vance from Jay and the Americans wrote the title song and did the vocals for "Vinnie". A small quibble about the music: the big hit from the fictional Vinnie and the Dreamers was "This I Swear", a bona fide hit for the real life "Skyliners". It might have worked better if they had picked a more obscure song from that era.
One notable attribute about the "one hit wonder" from the 50's and 60's that I personally know and the way he is accurately portrayed by Armand Assante is how easily they took their "15 minutes of fame" and moved on to mundane lives as cops, teachers, bartenders, etc. The groups of that era were financially ripped off and rarely got any significant money. This is a stark contrast to today's reality show contestants who get agents and linger on the fringes as long as they can.
Bottom line: this movie was made by people who cared.
The movie was on cable, I didn't choose it on purpose... but I stood there in the middle of the living room thinking "oh my god... what is this?" The harmonies were amazing... I don't like oldies as a rule--I love soul, r&b, hip hop, even heavy metal--but I had to see this movie again. Then, I had to have it. It's just one of those. I find myself dragging my kid's keyboard out of the back room, and sitting in front of the TV during Anthony's acoustic version of Vinnie's song, playing it over and over and over, thinking to myself "this is so simple and perfect, I can play this... I can sing this..." but there is something magical about the song, the performance... that just can't be captured in real life... it's not a pasteurized, homogenized, production version either... I can't explain it. You have to see it. *whew*
This is truly a very enjoyable movie and though different from other films Armand Assante has done, he did great job. However, Edoardo Ballerini is my reason for watching it again & again. He not only demonstrated unique acting ability as Tony, but feel certain he will soon get the recognition he deserves. I for one, will be looking forward to other Edoardo films.
I totally agree with what the only other reviewer of this film has
commented. Indeed, the lack of comments, though no fault of the film
is a comment on its own. Maybe the distributors of this film went
awry while marketing it, because I thought it was a really decent film,
some good acting that would have certainly garnered more audience, not
mention, appreciation. Armand Assante seemed as much at home in his
character as if he had always been a chart-topping singer(albeit a
wonder) in his heydays. Credit also goes to the director Martin Davidson
who, I can say, managed convincingly to create the whole set-up - Vince,
fellow-crooners and their issues, Vince and his daughter and her evident
problem and Vince and his son Anthony and the conflict therein. I have
admired Davidson's 1989 film 'Heart of Dixie'. It had some marvelous
performances by Ally Sheedy and Treat Williams and the 1960s American
was evoked in all its pathetic beauty.
The music of this film is certainly one of its attractions. Little snippets of songs, apparently sung by Vinnie and the Dreamers are played at the right moments to enhance the film's aura. Diane Venora's performance was aptly charged. And so was Edoardo Ballerini's. His scene with Assante in the hospital where the latter breaks down is the emotional tear-point of the film(both for the characters and the audience). The other high point is of course Anthony's solo of 'This I Swear'. If that was Ballerini's own voice up there, then boy, he should think of a probable career switch! The only other film I've seen Edoardo in is in the zany John Leguizamo-starrer 'The Pest' in which he convincingly put on a German accent(adding much to the humor of the film) to play Himmel, the "sissy" son of a crazed neo-Nazi! He's an actor of great potential - which I hope is fittingly explored through many other good roles. With its music, a cast that has rendered good performances and a feel-good ending, 'Looking For an Echo' is definitely worth a watch.
The 80s masterpiece, "Eddie & the Cruisers" by director Martin Davidson
asked the age old question Neil Young sang and Kurt Cobain quoted in
his suicide note: is it "better to burn out than to fade away"?
Musicians, artists, inventors, athletes and achievers from all walks of
life have wondered this after reaching a pinnacle of success. In
"E&tC", Davidson approaches the subject from the "burn out"
perspective, and here 20 years later he revisits it from the "fade
As such, this is not the explosive, energetic story of the rock n roll martyr Eddie, but instead it's the quiet, thoughtful, relatively uneventful story of the retiree Vinnie. While it features some stunning, passionate scenes that you won't forget, it's essentially just the story of an Everyman dealing with everyday life in the wake of long gone glory.
I have to admit after seeing this I felt slightly unfulfilled, thinking there should've been more of a big conflict, nerve-ripping climax and bam finish. But then I realized that's precisely NOT what Davidson wanted, nor would it have been appropriate. Vinnie is a somber man who chose to retire from his fantasy past in order to face the less-poetic challenges of life. The conflict within him is what this story is about. So the movie doesn't need any fancy theatrics, plot twists & melodrama.
With that in mind, be forewarned: for the entire first half, almost nothing happens. And I mean nothing. Like the main character's life, it didn't really have much direction, passion or intrigue. But like a growing toothache, the conflict builds inside him as he really begins to question his station in life, particularly through the vicarious thrill of his son's budding music career. The climax comes in growing spurts as the film progresses, culminating with a powerful, wonderfully acted scene at the end when we see Vinnie finally give voice to the demons that have been secretly plaguing him. Armand Assante pulls it off like no other actor could have.
I have the sudden urge to watch "Eddie & the Cruisers" and then watch "Looking for an Echo" again. If you enjoy quiet, pensive films about everyday human beings, I'm sure you'll want to see this at least once. And for pete's sake, if you haven't already seen it, go see E&tC right away! These are two unappreciated films that each capture the nostalgia of a bygone musical age, putting the past in context with our lives today.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was a once in a life time experience for me, because I have worked with some of the greatest actors of all time. I was pretty impressed with the final product of the movie, and it's story line. Watching the movie brought me back to 1997 when it was filmed and the late night that I had to put in for my restaurant walk in role. We did not finish until 1:30 in the morning with that scene. The band does re-unite and play gigs like weddings, but the lead's daughter in the movie dies in the end of the movie. Looking for an Echo is a definitive masterpiece in the movie world and there should be many more movies like it. The crew was great because they gave a chance for locals to be the extras...and I was one of those lucky locals. Other movies about fictional bands include: The Wedding Singer, and the 1984 classic This is Spinal Tap. These three movies focused on the bands, their trials, tribulations, and personal lives while not performing. After seeing Looking for an Echo, please give The Wedding Singer and This is Spinal Tap a view too. Just a note to let you know...The Boyz II Men Mega Hit "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye (To Yesterday)" was used as the movie's opening and closing song during the credits and DVD menu montage...and it (the song)was released in 1997! Just weeks after the film wrapped up. So if you older folks thought that the opening and closing credits song was from the 50's you are "railroaded" a young person's way of telling you that you are wrong.
While channel surfing I stumbled on this movie and now I own it. I don't buy many movies but this is one I had to have. A perfect movie to put on when it's one of those rainy days when you just want to relax. The music draws you in and you find you want more music and less talking. Being a fan of Armand Assante I found this one of his best. The love his character had for his children was so evident and you knew all he wanted was their happiness. And then there was Edoardo Ballerini. Great eye candy and if that was his voice - can't wait to buy his CD's. This is one of those movies that makes you wish for the days when music made you swoon....
This film missed its audience in theatrical release. It will be an entertaining rental and good watch on cable. A man's struggle to overcome his past brings him full circle. Great soundtrack by Kenny Vance and the Planotones.
Find this film and check it out. It is worth the effort. I found it
accidentally, while bored and berating the "so many channels, so much
I found myself singing along and smiling at the TV. Basically, it's the story of a the reunion of a rising Jersey "Do Wop" group whose career was killed by the rise of the Beatles. They are older, somewhat wiser and looking back at the hands life has dealt them. If you like 50's/60's music, good looking Italian guys or Jersey, you'll love this movie.
It's worth it just to see Armand Assante, shirtless. Hey, I'm old, not dead.
Check it out,you be glad you did.!
"Looking for an Echo" is a slice of 50-year-old life flick with Asante as a widower, a bartender, a has-been pop singer/musician, and the father of a daughter with cancer. The flick offers a whole lot of doo-wop singing and carousing with old singing pals while working in side plots involving the daughter's illness, romance with a nurse, and family issues. Ill focused, "Looking...." seems to have little plot or purpose but makes for an easy-going, soapy watch which tries hard to leave the audience feeling good. With little to fault and little to praise, "Looking...." is a lukewarm but sincere film product which will be most enjoyed by lovers of vocal harmonizing (circa 50's-60's) and Asante fans. (C)
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