11 January 2013 | rooprect
Haha the movie isn't as bad as my title implies, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a lame wordplay.
"Flying By" is a soft drama about a family struggling through a midlife crisis. Although it centers around music, the real theme is about a couple's dreams diverging as they enter the post-children phase of marriage. There aren't a lot of flashy plot elements or passionate scenes; instead it's a somber, quiet depiction of a family conflict, probably closer to reality than most other movies touching on the subject.
That also means, like real life, it's somewhat uneventful. The main reason to watch this film would be to see if you find hints of yourself in the story (are you dissatisfied with your marriage, career, purpose in life?). Other than that, if you're just looking for rock & roll entertainment, it might not live up to your expectations.
Acting is good, but I can't help feeling that the characters weren't fleshed out enough for them to have an impact. For example, Heather Locklear's character was well played but came across as a two-dimensional villain, always judging & criticizing Billy Ray's character. Billy Ray's character was simple, quiet good guy; we never really got into his head (or maybe that's the point, that there's not much in his head and instead he's just "flying by"). To me, the most interesting character, the brooding, self-destructive guitarist excellently played by Myk Watford, could have been a main focus but instead took a back seat to the family drama.
The music is a big plus, Billy Ray sings well, the actors look convincing enough on their instruments. Even though I was never a Billy Ray Cyrus fan I enjoyed the songs which are a blend of country, classic rock and blues with sad/nostalgic lyrics. No complaints there.
Unfortunately, when held up against other ex-musician-comeback films, "Flying By" doesn't really get far off the ground. It's worth watching, but as a rock & roll movie it doesn't have the grit of "The Perfect Age of Rock & Roll", nor the intensity of "Sympathy for Delicious", nor the goofiness of "The Rocker", nor the sentimentality of "Looking for an Echo" nor the sheer awesomeness of my favorite r&r film "Eddie & the Cruisers".
These are all great films about aging musicians coming to terms with their obsolescence. If you're looking for something like that, then be sure to check them out. Also add to the list the excellent (and unintentionally hilarious) documentary "Anvil! The story of Anvil"