PG-13 | | Biography, Comedy, Drama
A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
Little information circulates about Don Shirley, the only documents available being the booklets of his albums he wrote himself. While some details of his journey are contradictory, he would have joined the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of St. Petersburg at the age of 9 and gave his first concert with the Boston Pops Orchestra at age 18 before obtaining several doctorates and degrees. He also learned to speak several languages. His first album, Tonal Expressions, was released in 1955 and Stravinsky, a contemporary legendary pianist, said of him that "his virtuosity is worthy of the gods". Though he was destined for a career in the classical, Don Shirley was dissuaded at the time by the leaders of the record company, who thought it would be difficult for him to be accepted by the white public.
Come meet my family!
Tony criticizes Don for not being familiar with several black musicians whose music they hear on the radio while traveling, one of the artists being Aretha Franklin. The original poster doubted that Tony would know Aretha Franklin because by the fall of 1962 Aretha had had only six chart hits, none of which reached higher than #37. However, although we think of Aretha today as a soul singer, in the early 1960s she was signed with Columbia Records. Her label failed to recognize her gospel roots and didn't know how to market her. Her early songs were pop/jazz and not the soul music she's remembered for today. Even though her early songs weren't big hits on the Billboard Hot 100, her songs were in the Top 10 on the Rhythm and Blues charts. Given Tony's love for black music, it is not implausible that he would have have been familiar with her.
"Larry the Crow" gets a mention. This was an actual crow that Viggo Mortensen found injured near the set, and tried in vain to nurse back to health. He was no doubt named for Viggo's favorite soccer team, San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence in Spanish). The team nickname is "The Crows".
English, Italian, Russian, German
$320,429 (USA) (18 November 2018)
$84,964,316 (USA) (18 April 2019)