I've written about Bobby Darin before (here), and I was looking forward to seeing Beyond the Sea, the Kevin Spacey movie about Darin's life. I was a little surprised to discover that it was showing at only one theater within my driving range (45 minutes) for seeing movies, and even at that, it was showing only twice a day. Once I settled into the theater, however, I understood. There were only about 30 people in the audience, and every one of them was over 60. This is not the kind of audience that theater owners are interested in attracting.
I don't know what I expected from the movie, but within the first ten minutes it had reached a height of such delirious goofiness that I was completely captivated. I just sat there with a big silly grin on my face and took it all in. It's the same old story (if you saw Ray, you know what I mean): star rises, star falls, star comes back. But the way it's told is definitely different. It's so different that I can't quite describe it, but it almost works. Even the ending ("Bobby Darin is still swinging"), corny as it is, had me wiping away happy tears.
A lot has been made about the middle-aged Spacey playing a young guy like Darin, but there's even a disarming commentary about that early on. Spacey isn't playing Darin. Spacey is Darin. So there.
The music? Well, I love the music, of course. And Spacey isn't bad at the singing part, not bad at all. He's not "spot on," as some critics have said. If they really think that, they've never really listened to Bobby Darin. But he's good enough.
Beyond the Sea isn't a well-made movie. As I said, it's kind of goofy. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.