Upstart rock ‘n’ roll singer Jerry Lee Lewis (Dennis Quaid) has just cut a record at Sun Studio. Jerry’s cousin, pastor Jimmy Swaggart (Alec Baldwin), tries to steer him away from a depraved life in the music business, but Jerry was born to play the so-called “devil’s music.” With rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley busy with military service, Jerry sees his chance to claim the throne of popular music. But, his unabashed love of his 13-year-old cousin, Myra (Winona Ryder), may ruin his chances.
An excellent job by director Jim McBride of putting Myra Lewis’s book about the life of legendary rock and roll star Jerry Lee Lewis (her husband) on film.
Dennis Quaid gives an over the top performance (sometimes a bit too over the top; but, then again, this is Jerry Lee Lewis) as Lewis, arrogant and child-like, trying to deal with sudden fame, having to deal with the consequences of having married his thirteen year old cousin (Myra, who authored the book). Quaid was truly excellent in this role. Yes, the lip-synching was perhaps a bit too obvious at times, but for the sake of hearing some great music performed by the real Jerry Lee Lewis, that was an irritant I could easily put up with. The relationship between Lewis and Myra (Winona Ryder) is developed sensitively and tastefully by McBride. Humour is added by exploring the complex love-hate relationship between Lewis and his cousin, the evangelist Jimmy Swaggart (Alec Baldwin). There is also great irony, given what ultimately happened to Swaggart, as we listen to him lecturing Lewis about the dangers of taking the “gold-paved streets of rock and roll.”
I really enjoyed this movie. Perhaps it was guilty of portraying everyone in it as a bit of a caricature, but it still seemed to offer an entirely believable story of Lewis’s life. Well worth the watching.
HDTV 720p | MKV | 1280 x 694 | x264 @ 2024 Kbps | 1h 43mn | 1,82 Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 384 Kbps | Subs: English (embedded)
Genre: Drama, Music