Danny Collins

Rated 3.0

Al Pacino steps up as the title character, a Neil Diamond-like rock singer who has spent the past 40 years touring and performing “the hits.” No longer a productive songwriter, he's come to rely on the comfort of crowds reacting happily to his most popular hit, “Baby Doll.” He's also heavy into drugs and alcohol and engaged to a girl half his age. On the eve of his birthday, his manager (a delightfully acerbic Christopher Plummer) gives him a special present: a framed personal letter to him that John Lennon wrote many years ago that was never delivered. Lennon had once read an article about Collins, was moved, and sent a correspondence from him and Yoko with his phone number. He was offering some fatherly advice to the confused young Danny, but due to a scummy collector getting his hands on the letter, Danny never got it. The gift throws Danny into a tailspin, wondering what life would've been like if he could've called Lennon and been pals. Trivia note: This element of the story is actually based on the true story of folk singer Steve Tilston, who received a similar reassuring letter from John Lennon 34 years after it was written, phone number and all. Pacino is good here, as is a supporting cast that includes Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner and Annette Bening.