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A surprisingly entertaining comedy about a young Aussie promoter (Joel
Edgerton) who manages to convince Frank Sinatra and his crew to visit
Australia for a few shows. All goes well until Frank Sinatra (Dennis
Hopper) runs into a TV reporter (played by Ally McBeal's Portia de Rossi)
who claims he spat on her at the airport. Frank won't apologise so in
the ACTU led by a hilariously boof-headed Bob Hawke (wonderfully played
David Field of Two Hands fame) to bring Ol' Blue Eyes' tour to a
stand-still, no room service, no phone, no water!
The story follows the usual Hollywood style of story telling with the end of "act 2" being a big downer (everything just goes wrong) and of course it all comes good in the end. The acting is quite good across the board with cheeky Aussie comedy sitting alongside moving drama effortlessly.
Frank Sinatra's music plays a big part in the film so if you're a fan you'll love the film, of course on the other hand if you can't stand his music then this may not be the film for you. The film makers did think to throw in a bit of 70s rock (think Led Zeppelin) and even an Elvis track to add a bit of variety to the mix.
The only time in cringed during the whole film was when Frank's US-based secretary pronounced Australia with a fake American accent and put an "R" on the end, a common mistake made by Australian actors.
See it if:
- you like Frank Sinatra
- you'd like to visit Australia in the 1970s
- you want to see a hilarious portrayal of a young Bob Hawke (Hazel Hawke included)
- you like Rose Byrne (for the guys) or Joel Edgerton (for the girls)
- you like knuckle busting fist fights
- you don't think Melanie Griffith's top lip isn't too big
Don't see it if:
- you don't like Frank Sinatra
- you can't stand the thought of Sydney in 1974
- you think Bob Hawke was the best PM ever
- you wince whenever you hear a meaty punch
- you think Melanie Griffith's top lip should have its own post code
I recently had the privilege of watching a screener of this movie which was designed to test audience reactions. Right from the start I knew I was going to enjoy it, with its subtle aussie Comedy and great cast. Without giving anything away, its the story of an aussie promoter (Edgerton) in the early 70's attempting to get Frank Sinatra (Hopper) to play a concert in Australia. Joel Edgerton, recently from "Ned Kelly" shows his brilliant acting talent and his ability to do comedy as easily as drama. Rose Byrne, Portia De Rossi and Melanie Griffith put forward strong supporting roles which help to flesh out the story, which is based on actual events. The stand out performances though, have to come from Dennis Hopper and David Fields. Hopper as usual puts his all into the role and brings it off wonderfully, playing the serious and egotistical, Frank Sinatra. Australian David Fields is cast as a Young Bob Hawke and has some of the movies funnier moments. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and suggest going and catching it at the cinema
That song line from "all the way" is emblematic of The Night We Called
It A Day, which starts out as a gritty piece of history, but ultimately
becomes a testament to the joys of total romantic commitment.
For much of The Night We Called It A Day, I thought I had the movie completely pegged: Frank Sinatra, representing US Cultural Imperialism, running roughshod over the Australian locals. I'm not thin-skinned, and not uncritical of the US myself, so I thought, okay...that along with the voyeur's pleasure of seeing the crude reality of Sinatra's private life portrayed on screen is sufficient for 90 minutes entertainment.
But what starts out seeming like a poison pen letter turns out to be more of a Valentine, and the switch from one to the other makes the conclusion especially satisfying and exhilarating. The filmmakers play fast and loose with the facts toward the end, but the result is worth the artistic license.
I doubt anyone could play Sinatra and come out on top; in his own films Sinatra had a singular presence that could never be duplicated by any mere actor. Hopper isn't mimicking, however, he is acting, and he does a good job of conveying the essence of his character. I imagine the most difficult part of the role was bringing the audience along in those scenes where Sinatra, without dropping his tough guy act, reveals a tiny glimpse of the sweeter inner man. I bought it.
Maybe I was just in a receptive mood, but I immensely enjoyed it.
This is loosely based on events that occurred during Frank Sinatra's
tour of Australia where, after referring to a female reporter as a
"two-bit hooker" he was black-banned by the local unions.
Sadly, what could have been an interesting look at a clash of cultures, values and strong-willed individuals descends into something resembling a comedy sketch put on by a country repertory company.
Dennis Hopper does a stirling job as Sinatra, with very little directorial support. After a while you start to believe he is Ol' Blue Eyes. But virtually all the other characters are painted in the broad brush strokes of low farce.
Joel Edgerton plays the hapless promoter as a dim-witted surfer with a tendency to fall over or get beaten up in every second scene. Portia de Rossi is so loathsome in her role as the maligned journalist that I found myself cheering for Sinatra and the mob for most of the movie.
And, in a masterstroke of bizarre casting and makeup, David Field blithely appears on screen looking about as much like Bob Hawke as my mum. Moreover, he seems to have made a conscious decision not to even attempt Hawke's accent, nor any of his well known mannerisms. The overall effect is as if the producers had decided to cast Dame Edna Everage in the role and hope that no-one would notice.
Almost every Australian character in the film comes across as either a bumbling half-wit or a self-serving thug. I'm surprised Tourism Australia didn't try to have it banned. The sole exception is the delightful Rose Byrne who, as the love interest/voice of sanity, seems to have been beamed in from a parallel universe.
Lamenting the state of the Australian film industry is a national pastime. I think much of it stems from the industry's long love affair with 'daggyness' for its own sake. Who finds this quirky and endearing any more? It's just embarrassing, and the rest of the world obviously thinks so too. This film, with its woeful dialogue, wooden 'school play level' direction, zero character motivation and absurd plot, admirably demonstrates the problem.
Besides just the title change between the Australian release and the
rest of the world, this is a film that obviously stirred up a lot of
controversy and passion in Australia, given the reviews posted below.
Quite understandable, given the political and social portraits it
painted, very sharply and yet with great humor. (My favorite laugh: not
even spoken, the newspaper headlines in the street when the "incident"
becomes full-blown: "Regrets: He Has a Few" Ha!) And also that the
Aussies know Bob Hawke and some of the other characters, and remember
this outrageous incident well, and the rest of the world doesn't.
I found it to be a little gem of a film that I just discovered in my ongoing drive to see more Hopper films and revisit some that I hadn't seen since the '60s and '70s. And Hopper's performance was not the least of its charms: the romance and tribulations of the eminently likable promoter Rod Blue (who could forget that name?) and the utterly charming Audrey had that light touch of Hollywood and still the honest edge of Australian films.
Melanie Griffin is fully typecast as Barbara Marx and her complex and yet vapid relation with Sinatra is pathetic at first and gradually becomes a thing of warmth and understanding. The dramatic arc just really worked for me, although I kept thinking "How much of this really happened? They couldn't make up stuff about FRANK SINATRA, for crying out loud!"
This movie had fairly good reviews when it hit the cinemas here - and I
frankly expected a lot more than it delivered.
Having been around at the time, I wondered then why so much was being made of Sinatra's well known behaviour and his hatred of the press in general. I thought it was a predictable series of events blown up - mainly by Union intervention - into an imagined insult on Australia and all it stood for. A classic example of our cultural cringe. That the aforesaid cringe is still rampant is illustrated by the fact that anyone decided to make this movie.
Itis totally impossible to cast anyone successfully as Frank Sinatra - the man was unique in so many ways. Dennis Hopper was I suppose a reasonable compromise, but his grating voice and total lack of charm spoilt much of the movie for me. Sinatra had a musical speaking voice, as well as his singing one - and his charm (when he chose to turn it on) was inescapable. Anyone unfamiliar with the Man, watching this movie would wonder what all the fuss was about. The ludicrous portrayal of Bob Hawke, a man who excelled in being ludicrous, was another disappointment. Tom Burlinson's delivery of the few songs was, as usual, competent and wooden - Hopper's "on-stage" lip-synching missed everything that was magical in a Sinatra performance. Melanie Griffith was - Melanie Griffith, the rest of the cast was competent and did their best with what in the end was nothing more than a fairytale wound loosely round an actual series of events.
Not a totally bad movie - entertaining in parts - but on the whole a waste of time and money.
I managed to catch Paul Goldman's "The Night We Called It A Day" the last time it was being shown in a Toowoomba cinema. I took my sister with me. The movie was about three minutes in when I realised that it was me, my sister and a man in a Top Gun-esque fighter jacket that were going to see it for the final time on a giant screen (well, not giant really. That cinema needs to be repaired). Anyway, three people were watching this movie, and I was p***ed off that no one else bothered. That emotion was countered, I guess, when I paid attention to what was being projected onto this dilapidated screen. Superb performances by Joel Edgerton and David Field and a fine looking Frank Sinatra by the guy (and let's not forget this) who was a frighteningly aggressive rule-breaker in "Easy Rider." I don't know why this movie was bagged to the high heavens by Australian critics and audiences (or lack thereof) alike. It's a great movie and those who don't appreciate it, even marginally, oughta see it again. Go to the Toowoomba cinema to see it, okay? There's nobody around that will talk over the trailers...
i rented this movie, Did not make it to Icelandic theaters, not a great loss though this is a movie to watch at home, medium paced at first.Melanie Griffith did well here,playing a Marylin Monroe lookalike wannabe Frank Sinatra's Wife, Dennis Hooper on the other hand brings shame to Frank Sinatra's name with a dreadful performance and after seeing this one would think that Frank Sinatra was an total Bastard,egomaniac and surrounded by Members of the Italian Mafia.Joel Edgerton put's on a good show as Rod Blue easy going Aussie bloke who try's and succeeds in bringing Mr Sinatra over too sidney Australia and get's the ride of his life from this,learns some lessons on life and goes on. everything about this movie smells of Averageness,but after watching it and spendin sometime thinking about it and watching again well it's a good movie to rent if you want a feel good movie, it has Romance,comedy and a little adventure.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When this opened in London - today - I attended the first performance and found myself alone. I had reservations just from the casting, I mean come on, Dennis Hopper, the epitome of hippie/rock playing Sinatra, the epitome of sophisticated cool? What next, Eminem as Cliff Richard. I hoped at least for a generous amount of Sinatra singing but even that was 1) strictly rationed and 2) performed by a Sinatra imitator and then, to add insult to injury, the end credits roll over Elvis Presley's Tutti Frutti. What passes for a plot centres on the infamous Australian tour of 1974 when Sinatra spoke his mind as usual and wound up a virtual prisoner in his hotel room until honour had been satisfied. A sub-plot that threatens to hi-jack the movie involves the young Rock promoter who brought Sinatra to Australia and a girl who had fancied him since they were kids. Basically we're talking rubbish. I thought Baz Lurhman's Moulin Rouge was about as low as you could get but here that Australian has competition from another. Dire.
This film commits the cardinal sin of not knowing what it is, or what it's
about, and consequently ending up being about nothing. Certainly nothing
anyone cares about.
It certainly adds nothing to the infamous 1974 incident during Frank Sinatra's Sydney visit. It pretty well retells what happened then, while adding some not very interesting fictional characters, involved in a completely conventional and by-the-numbers "romantic comedy" plot.
Dennis Hopper, one of the most charismatic film actors alive, plays Frank Sinatra, one of the most charismatic singer/actors ever, and make both of them dull. There are a few sparks of fire, but his wooden impersonation of Sinatra singing is like watching a rather stiff marionette. One is left wondering why Hopper and Melanie Griffiths bothered. Are they that desperate for money? Or did they really, really, really want a free trip down under?
Joel Edgerton and Rose Byrne are their usual competent selves in the sub (or is it main?) plot, but it's SO conventional and predictable, one also wonders why they bothered.
As for David Field as Bob Hawke ... while it's certainly arguable that Hawke is/was a buffoon in many ways, he has never been the boorish clown depicted here.
The script is the villain. It's an idea --- and not a very strong one -- which has been developed into .... what? Certainly nothing Australian audiences want to see, as evidenced by the box office returns.
The only person to come out of this completely triumphantly is Tom Burlinson, who supplies the Sinatra vocals. If you didn't know it was him, you would swear you were listening to the Chairman of the Board himself, and on a day when he was in fine voice.
5 out of 10, and I think I'm being generous.
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