Ricky Nelson: Original Teen Idol (TV Movie 1999) Poster

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Woefully inaccurate, miscast, soap-opera dribble.
SanDiego29 June 2002
Woefully inaccurate account of the Nelson family of TV's Ozzie & Harriet. Ozzie Nelson was a successful Orchestra leader during the Big Band era and Harriet a singer in his band. Their success led to popular radio appearances which brought them to Hollywood and a full length feature called HERE COME THE NELSONS which introduced the sons David and Ricky. Success of the film led to the long-running series which followed the boys from youth to adulthood and into marriage with the wives playing themselves. Unlike, a more recent Ozzie who found success by having his family filmed for TV, the Nelson's shows were scripted sitcom material not unlike Leave It To Beaver, leaving any reference to their musical roots behind. The acting was often wooden, the jokes stale, and the situations unremarkable, but the natural charm stemming from an actual family playing themselves shown through. Ozzie as producer and director was actually quite good. The Irrepressible Ricky (as he was billed) was given jokes and dialogue that would make him seem an egotistical brat, but he did have the best lines. In his teen years, and following somewhat in his parents footsteps, the show became a launching pad for him to sing a song or two on the air and the overwhelming frenzy that resulted changed the dynamics of the show forever. Ricky Nelson became a rock-and-roll sensation and like many a roller the road ahead was filled with both success and failure. His most famous concert was at a Rock-and-Roll Reunion show at Madison Square Garden where he was booed for trying to perform new material and immortalized the event in perhaps his best loved song GARDEN PARTY, which has become somewhat of a national anthem to rock and rollers everywhere. Drugs, womanizing, and non-stop parties would dominate the later part of his life and he would die, like so many other musicians who traveled by air to concerts, in a plane crash. Actress Traci Nelson and the pop duo THE NELSONS were family members that would continue the family tradition.

The film, sadly, does not tell this story well. The actors are miscast, capturing neither the looks nor spirit of their counterparts. The script is pure soap-opera dribble, so shallow that no character seems real, no character seems redeeming. It seems as if the producers knew that few who would watch the movie would remember the real life Nelsons and figured they could get away with anything. In light of the Jackson Family Movie I suppose the producers thought that dysfunctional family drama was necessary, they just ran out of dysfunctional families. Watch the film if you must, but remember, this is not the Nelsons. Just a bunch of actors who have stolen their names, and replaced fact with fiction. I recommend buying a Best of CD instead.
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6/10
A rock 'n' roll career fast and hard as a roller coaster.
michaelRokeefe2 July 2002
It did not necessarily hurt being on TV every week. We watched him grow up on his family's TV program that later became a launching pad for his recording career. This is a glimpse at the ups and downs of Ricky Nelson's career between 1940 and New Years Eve 1985, when he died in a plane crash in Texas. His career is recalled in a series of flashbacks as Nelson reviews his past with a fan....just hours before his life ended. It is impressive they did not try and candy coat his story. Several bits of negative activity is presented along with accomplishments anyone would be proud of. Of course this TV film is not meant to be the gospel of Ricky Nelson, so take some of this in stride.

I am not impressed with Gregory Calakis as Nelson. A grin and wide eyes just doesn't cut it. Jamey Sheridan was darn good as Ozzie Nelson. Sara Botsford plays Harriet and Anthony Lemke is David Nelson. The cast is pretty much made up of unknowns. I'm sure if this was a theatrical release we would see some real stars in the key roles. Roles of interest: Chris Loane as James Burton; Chris Dignan as Johnny Burnette with his brother Sean playing Dorsey Burnette; Kelly Harms as Randy Meisner and Rob Fenton hams it up as Elvis. If you are a 'rockin' Ricky fan you will be pleased that someone cared to put this project together. It is worth watching.
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7/10
The guy doesn't look much like Ricky but he's a better actor
xyumaboy6 September 1999
This was a very interesting and well acted movie that focused on just how underrated Rick Nelson was in music history. He was a trail blazer for country rock in addition to being a TV star and teen idol. Many intriguing details were brought out about a kid who had everything but still threw it all away. Jamey Sheridan did a fine job as the overbearing, minimally talented Ozzie Nelson who rode Ricky's fame to his personal fortune. Kris Nelson (Rick's wife) came off as a talentless gold digger(which I don't doubt) who spent money to fill the void in her marriage. Overall this was a good movie, nearly the equal of the network TV effort "The Temptations" and I commend VH1 for producing another solid film in the wake of "Sweetwater".
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10/10
Very Good
aliasstone29 October 2017
Having grown up watching all of the "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" on the one and only b&w television that our family owned, the best episodes by far were the ones where Ricky was singing. This movie brought back those memories and it was interesting to see some of the behind the scenes things that went on and how Ricky's musical began and developed. Ozzie with his total control over the program along with his control over Ricky were the things we never knew about while watching the shows. A very good portrayal of all involved in the family by the actors in this movie and I'd recommend this to anyone who grew up with that show playing in their living rooms. It was tragic how Ricky's life ended and his fans remember it well. Thumps up to all involved. Great movie.
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3/10
Dark, depressing & sad
imdb-230686 October 2017
It's fairly accepted these biopics will include fiction, making them inaccurate as this movie is. The real failure of this movie is that it turns away from the positives and shows the dark side of everything in Rick Nelson's life & career even if it didn't really exist. When even a brief highlight is mentioned, like when he got his first movie role, it is prefaced and ended with negatives so even those highlights are presented like a bad thing. Feel like Rick Nelson had nothing but a very sad life, and I feel depressed from watching this.
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Ricky Was NOT The Original Teenage Idol To Me AND Him
bobbydias-324-56276210 August 2013
After at least 24 songs that I gave him, to be a million seller each, he(Ricky Nelson), asked to me to me to give him a song about me as "a teen being adored" not the private me- "Teenage Idol" is what I gave him on the phone creating it as he listened. Ricky knew me as Kissing Bobby- one of the Beatles said it best about me: "He was, in his time, more loved than Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley and the Beatles and Michael Jackson all put together". I constantly created songs for Ricky to be loved-because he was a very loving person!!!!! I wrote my heart not the dumb IMDb 10 line requirement.I wrote my heart not the dumb IMDb 10 line requirement.I wrote my heart not the dumb IMDb 10 line requirement.I wrote my heart not the dumb IMDb 10 line requirement.I wrote my heart not the dumb IMDb 10 line requirement.
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1/10
Incomplete
RaeganBeaumont_9913 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This was was a sadden display, the characters were all kinda dry and unfeeling. Ricky was scatty and seemed lost the whole movie and even made to seem shallow, somewhat dumb and very naive' He was even flighty and slow acting. His wife is made out to be somewhat a desperate girl who wanted to be an actress. Their love seemed faked and not sincere. His parents seems demanding and VERY controlling taking away any chance of Ricky or how brother being their own man, they allowed their parents to boss them and their wives around. There is a scene in the movie where Ricky's wife has their first baby, and being she was conceived before they were married he allows his parents to make the decision to have her put in an incubator for a week, saying she was early. And Ricky goes along with this whole charade. The movie seemed unreal and fake, meaning it didn't take you to any place it should have about a great person. I think it was a HUGE disappointment and a waste of time.
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