“Hank, I haven't written a song in thirty years. THIRTY YEARS. I'm a fucking joke.”
When it comes to dreaming about being famous or knowing famous people I am going to guess that we all share two dreams: we wish were the famous ones either actors or singers or whatever and that if we were not the ones famous that our parents or someone close to us in our families was and that they would spoil the shit out of us. Of course the movies and several biographies and tell all books have made sure we know the reality of being famous or being close to someone famous is not all it is cracked up to be. The movie Danny Collins tells both sides of those dreams we have and how unpleasant both lives can be.
Danny Collins (Al Pacino) has been famous for decades. He is the typical rock star with addictions to alcohol, cocaine, and younger women. He is currently on tour for a volume three of his greatest hits. At a concert one night Danny sees more old people in the crowd than new. He is becoming bored with all his old songs and realizes he really is not that young anymore. Making Danny even more upset is his birthday the following day. His manager Frank (Christopher Plummer) gives Danny something incredible as a present. In the seventies when Danny was starting out John Lennon had written him a letter about how he liked his lyrics and wanted to get together sometime. John gave the letter to someone to give to Danny but the person was an ass and kept the letter knowing that someday it would probably be worth a lot of money. The guy who had it died and another person had it and Frank tracked the letter down to him and he bought it. This letter makes something in Danny’s mind click. The following day he packs his stuff to leave to head to New Jersey.
In New Jersey, Danny stays a Hilton hotel indefinitely. He immediately begins to flirt with the hotel manager Mary (Annette Benning) but she does not take the bait for one second. The reason Danny is in New Jersey to try to connect with his son Tom (Bobby Cannavale). Danny was never in Tom’s life. Tom’s mother slept with Danny when she was twenty-three years old and never saw him again after that. Danny shows up at Tom’s house where his wife Samantha (Jennifer) and daughter Hope are. Samantha is shocked to see Danny and worries about how pissed off Tom will be. Tom absolutely hates Danny, so much so that whenever Danny comes on TV he freaks out and shuts the TV off. Tom comes storming into the house and tells Danny to get out.
Skipping over some details because I do not feel like writing them out and to also not give everything away… Danny and Tom eventually learn to get along. Danny helps Tom and Samantha get Hope, who has severe ADHD, into a school that is well known for helping out children with learning disabilities. He also helps out Tom who is suffering from leukemia. He also begins to write new music because he has not written any new material in thirty-five years! Then, Danny suffers a little setback but quickly bounces back.
The cast was really good. I watched this movie for Jennifer Garner. Jennifer Garner is my hero and my idol I will literally watch anything she is in. If you ever want to see me go speechless or rave like a fucking lunatic fan girl just get me started on Jennifer Garner. She was so good in this movie. I really liked her pairing with Bobby Cannavale. They seemed like a real couple you would know in real life. Especially a couple from New Jersey (I mean that in a good way. I live in the good ole Garden State). Bobby Cannavale I think I have seen in a few movies before. I never quite liked him the movies but I liked him a lot in this. Al Pacino was fantastic. I think the only other movies I ever really sat through of his were the first two Godfathers. He was so funny and entertaining as Danny Collins. He was kind of like this old creeper rock star but also a really sweet guy who truly wanted to do something good for his family. Besides Jennifer Garner Christopher Plummer was the best part of the movie. I was dying laughing when he cursed because he is such a proper sweet old man and the cursing sounded so funny coming out of his mouth. Annette Benning was also good. I liked how her character did not give Danny the time of day or take his shit. Shout to Josh Peck who had a small role as the valet parking attendant at the hotel. He was adorable.
Danny Collins is a very good movie. I enjoyed it from start to finish. It was entertaining and the story was not completely typical when it comes to self indulged old rock stars and their families. I liked how Danny truly wanted to be there for Tom and was not an asshole trying to force his way into Tom’s life. He did it nicely he was nice to Samantha and Hope right from the beginning. If you can find a way to watch Danny Collins I definitely recommend watching it.