Blu-ray Review: GREAT BALLS OF FIRE

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE was directed by Jim McBride from a screenplay by Jack Baran and Jim McBride and stars Dennis Quaid who portrays rock ‘n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis in a film that traces his rise to fame and scandalous personal life, including his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown (Winona Ryder). Seated comfortably between soap opera and docudrama, Great Balls of Fire! offers the viewer a look inside the life of a gifted artist and his Icarus-like rise in the music world. But what goes up …

Featured in supporting roles are Alec Baldwin as Lee’s cousin, the pre-televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, Trey Wilson as legendary music producer Sam Phillips, Stephen Tobolowsky as music promoter Jud Phillips, with Lisa Blount and John Doe as Lois and J.W. Brown, Myra’s parents. The music was composed by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Great Balls of Fire follows a young Jerry Lee Lewis when he’s just getting started in the music business and cuts a deal with Sun Studios. It deals just a little with his relationship with his cousin Jimmy Swaggart who ended up becoming a preacher in his own right. Needless to say, these two were on completely different paths at the time even though Swaggart would fall from grace later in his years. While Swaggart was preaching the word of God in the early years, Jerry Lee Lewis was shocking some people with his rock and roll devil’s music while winning the hearts of others.

Anyway, Jerry ends up falling for his other cousin Myra who was only 13-years old at the time and the two ended up getting married and this decision would end up haunting the rocker and he didn’t handle it well. His fans turned on him and the entire country of England gave him the cold shoulder and deservingly so. This movie deals with the legendary rocker’s relationships in his younger days and how reckless he handled the business side of things. The movie also touches on the rivalry between Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley who was going into the military during this time.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and specs. The Blu-ray disc features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Great Balls of Fire was kind of a weird watch and the crazy thing is I’m guessing most of this is true about the legendary rocker. The story follows Jerry Lee Lewis in his younger days where’s he’s just getting started and a little naive when it came to the business side of things. There’s also a creepiness to Lewis because he ended up marrying his cousin. One thing is for sure and that’s the fact that this egomaniac was full of himself because he wasn’t hurting in the confidence department. I know he’s still alive but I’m not sure how he conducts himself these days so this movie is all I have to go on. The cast did a really good job with their characters with Dennis Quaid going above and beyond with his performance as this eccentric piano man. Winona Ryder also did a good job with her performance as the innocent under age cousin who ultimately becomes the bride of Jerry Lee Lewis – one of many brides! Jim McBride did a good job directing this oddball bio-drama that also has a dark sense of humor to it. Great Balls of Fire is now available on Blu-ray and worth checking out.

Distributor: Olive Films

Run Time: 108 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: 

  • Trailer (02:14)

 

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