Posts Tagged ‘Rick Springfield’

RICKI AND THE FLASH: 2 ½ STARS. “movie hits the wrong notes when the music stops.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 6.39.24 PMThe title of the new Meryl Streep movie, “Ricki and the Flash,” sounds like a comic book flick about a regular, but spunky teen and the DC Comic character known for super human speed. No, Streep hasn’t joined the ranks of elder actors lending credibility to superhero movies and there’s not a skintight red superhero outfit in sight. Instead, there’s the black leather and fringes of Meryl’s rock ‘n’ roll Ricki, lead singer of bar band The Flash.

Ricki is a rock ‘n’ roll road warrior who never cracked the big time. Twenty five years ago she left behind her comfortable Midwestern life and family—husband (Kevin Kline) and three kids (including Julie, played by Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer)—for a shot at stardom in Los Angeles. Her one album didn’t chart and now she staves off bankruptcy by day as a grocery clerk, by night playing Golden Oldie covers in a seedy San Fernando Valley bar.

Out of the blue her ex gives her a ring with bad news. Julie’s husband has left her for a younger woman and he’d like her to come to Ohio to comfort her distraught daughter. Despite not having seen Julie in years she returns. Cue the family drama as Ricki tries to make amends for choosing rock and roll over her family.

Streep may not be playing a superhero in “Ricki and the Flash,” but she does a superhuman job of carrying the movie. Ricki is a raw nerve who says what’s on her mind whether she’s on stage or off, and Meryl rocks it. She strums and hums her way through a contrived script by “Juno” writer Diablo Cody that doesn’t add much to the family drama or rock movie genres.

Kline, Rick Springfield and Gummer hit the right notes, but are saddled with dialogue that sounds melodramatically overwritten—“My heart is dead and rotten,” sobs Julie.—or like a Successstory platitude—“It doesn’t matter if you kids love you,” says Springfield, “it’s your job to love them.” Missing are Cody’s usual wit and director Jonathan Demme’s careful examination of his characters. Instead they’ve opted for a blandly crowd-pleasing movie that isn’t as crowd-pleasing as they might have hoped.

“Ricki and the Flash” is about the power of music to break down barriers and bring people together, but as well shot as the music scenes are—and they should be, Demme made one of the great music films of all time, “Stop Making Sense,” among many others—the movie hits the wrong notes when the music stops.

Rick Springfield is More Than a One-Hit Wonder By Richard Crouse PEOPLE Thursday, October 21, 2010

rick springfield late late at night coverRick Springfield is an 80s icon, best known as Noah Drake, the handsome playboy doctor of General Hospital, circa 1981, when the show garnered 12 million viewers a day and the teased hair behind the hit Jessie’s Girl. His clean scrubbed visage decorated the cover of teen magazines and helped sell over 17 million albums. He performed at Live Aid, won a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and headlined a Broadway show, but despite all his achievements he will always be best known as the heartthrob who wrote the song Rolling Stone says is globally the No. 1 karaoke pick.

“I’m very, very proud of it,” says the 61 year-old Springfield, “but I have done other things. It’s more than a hit song. Not every writer produces a song that has done what Jessie’s Girl has done. It has taken on a life of its own. It’s nothing I did. It was up to the music gods and the people. I had nothing to do with putting it in Boogie Nights. I had nothing to do with it being in Glee. Nothing to do with it being the center of 13 Going on 30. Nothing to do with it being put in Friends when Friends was the hottest show on TV. For some reason it is one of those 80s iconic songs and I am incredibly grateful for that because every writer wants one. I never go, ‘Oh God can we stop talking about Jesse’s Girl’ but it does overshadow other stuff. I think I have written better songs but that one they’ll probably play at my funeral.”

Probably. But a frank new autobiography, Late, Late at Night (Simon & Shuster), scrapes some of the sheen off his clean cut image to reveal a complex man who has struggled with depression, thoughts of suicide and sex addiction. Far from the run-of-the-mill celebrity memoir—“I had never read one before so I didn’t know what was expected,” he says.—the book is by times funny, by times shocking, by times revealing, often all at the same time.

“I just wrote about my life,” he says simply. “I didn’t see the point in leaving holes in it because everything I’ve done I’ve learned from, I hope.”

The book is brutally frank. He writes about being a 17 year-old musician in 1968 on a USO tour of Vietnam and helping to load mortar shells during an attack. One of those bombs killed a Viet Cong soldier.

“That was difficult to write about,” he says, “because I’m the guy who lifts bees out of the swimming pool if I think they’re drowning. I was caught up in the spirit of war because we were bunking with the G.I.’s. We travelled with the G.I’s. and the only other people we saw were the local hookers and the local kid who sold us dope. We very much lived in their world and adopted their mentality. It was the mentality of war. Even though we weren’t going out everyday to the jungles like them, we were getting shot at and rocketed and mortared. We were in fear for our lives especially because we didn’t have any defensive weapons. I was scared 24/7.”

Other stories involve his lifelong battle with depression, a specter he has personified in the form of The Darkness, a malevolent presence who has plagued him his entire life.

“Mr. D just appeared through the narrative,” he says. “One time I called him My Darkness and I started viewing him as this guy sitting over there and I think it helped the story that he was in the third person. It made it less maudlin, less woe-is-me, less poor me. It was this dick of a guy sitting over there f**king with me all the time and that is what it really feels like.”

Despite the scandalous revelations and the introspective look at depression Late, Late at Night isn’t a gloomy book. Springfield writes with humor and finesse—no ghostwriter required—and may now finally be known for writing something other than the line “Where can I find a woman like that?”

“Once I started to do it I looked forward to writing everyday,” he says. “It was cathartic at times and helped me see a through line into certain parts of my life. Once it was done I was kind of nervous about it coming out but the writing of it was fun.”