Thursday, May 3, 2018

Beyond the Sea: Monday, April 30 2018

My Film Group enjoyed the choice of this week. The music was light-hearted and with a good beat, and had us moving along with it. We were all agreed that Kevin Spacey (58) is talented. The singing and dancing were professional, and obviously the result of natural ability and his good training at the New York's Juilliard School. Thanks to Eileen for lending us this DVD!

Beyond the Sea (2004) is an American musical drama film based on the life of Bobby Darin (1936-73). The name is from one of his most popular songs. Kevin Spacey co-wrote, directed, and co-produced the film. He also sang, danced, and starred as Bobby Darin. Kevin Spacey was so keen to make this film because it reminded him of his mother. Apparently, his mother loved the music of Bobby Darin and played it all the time. Stacey also admired the courage of Bobby Darin, who had rheumatic fever in his childhood, which he knew had shortened his life. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he lived fully and did so much before he died at age 37. People still remember his rendering of Kurt Weill's Mack the Knife.

Bobby Darin 1959
I liked what Spacey did with the story. He created it as a fantasy, hero journey, based on the broad facts of Darin's life. Singer from unpromising background, rhematic fever as child, works hard and rises up through the ranks to rival Frank Sinatra and sing at the Copacabana, New York City. Falls madly in love with Sandra Dee (1942-2005), and marries her against all opposition. Lives happily ever after. Fantastic! The film leaves its audience feeling good. I didn't care that a few facts were altered, such as that the marriage lasted seven years, and came to an end because of Sandra Dee's anorexia nervosa and other problems.

Beyond the Sea was made with a budget of $24,000,000USD. It's box office is reported to have been $8,000,000USD. In other words, this film bombed. Made in 2004, one reason given was that musicals had fallen out of fashion. Another reason given is that it received some brutal critiques; among those was the suggestion that Kevin Spacey, who would have been 44 in 2004 when the film was made, was too old to play the part of the much younger Bobby Darin.

Kevin Spacey 2004
After watching this film, I was left with an appreciation of Bobby Darin. The film had moved me, due to the direction of Kevin Stacey. What difficulties Darin had overcome to achieve what he did! How sad that he died so young! Kevin Spacey must have related strongly to Bobby Darin to create such a lovely film in tribute to him.

I also felt sympathy for Kevin Spacey. He came from a highly dysfunctional family, to say the least. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Randy Fowler, Kevin Spacey's half-brother, says that their father sexually abused him, Randy. Fowler wouldn't say what might have been done to Kevin or their sister. Whatever they experienced, it certainly wasn't pleasant. It saddened me to think that Kevin Spacey had such a horrific childhood, yet rose above it to become a success in the world of Hollywood. Now, as a result of not being able to overcome his upbringing, his career is in ruins at 58. What a tragedy!

I'm so glad we saw Beyond the Sea. It was an enjoyable film, and has brought so much to the forefront of our minds. My Group felt as I did about both Bobby Darin and Kevin Spacey.

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