Outside a courtroom, a young boy cleans a man’s (Richard Pryor) shoes as he reads the newspaper. A television reporter gives a live report, stating the trial for Billy Joel is still going. She says Joel has remained silent in his defense and asks at the end of her report, “Is Joel innocent? Is he keeping the faith?”
Inside the courtroom, the people argue with one another. Some people shouting back that Joel hadn’t done anything wrong. The judge (Richard Schull) bangs on his gavel, repeatedly, yelling “order!” The prosecutors shake hands, considering their case won. The judge asks a man to sit down and criticizes a young woman for her clothing, saying it’s inappropriate. He asks for quiet and the doors to be closed. The judge turns to Joel, saying he hasn’t defended himself. Joel spins a record on his finger and says he would like to present his argument in a different way. The judge asks him to approach the bench. The judge tries to help him out, saying he has to do something for himself. Joel hopes that maybe music will get through the jury. He puts a large gold coin into the slot. The jukebox behind the judge lights up and Joel begins to dance.
The female jurors lean on the table, putting their hands underneath the chins. The court reporters stands up in her chair. Joel dances to the jurors, who lean forward and sway in their chairs.
In a flashback, he sits on the stoop of his home. Next to him, are his friends from school, the greasers, who were into cars.
In the present, Joel moves his fingers and his old friends, jump in and dance.
In another flashback, his high school friends hang out at the local diner. Everyone puts on the sunglasses. The woman show off their packs of cigarettes at the counter. Joel turns around on the stool.
In the courtroom, his friends comb their hair and slick it back. Joel brushes the back of his hair and tosses his comb. The jury pound their arms in response. He sings to three women wearing golden metallic dresses in the front row of the courtroom. The judge dances along in his chair. Joel pretends to swing a bat.
In a flashback, two groups of men shove and push one another.
Joel walks across the ledge of the jurors’ section. He points his finger and a vintage car drives into the courtroom. A young woman (Christie Brinkley) sits in the backseat, chomping on her gum. She lifted out by Joel’s friends. Joel dances towards her and snuggles by her as she sits on the ledge.
In another room, Joel conducts a band of saxophone players. The jurors get out of the seats and dance on the floor. The young man hangs in the back. Joel walks out of the courtroom, the jurors and people following him. The young woman is carried by some men.
The little boy finishes another’s man shoes and asks for payment. The man (Joe Piscopo, pulls the newspaper from his face.According to the newspaper, Joel has been cleared of all charges. He gives him a hundred dollar tip and advises him to stay true to himself.
Billy Joel had been arrested for being a fraud. In jail, he said he would be his own lawyer. He didn’t think anyone would be able to believe him otherwise. However, the prosecutors smeared him, saying he was wishy-washy and presented some witnesses, a few former co-workers who knew him when he first started who claimed he forgot his roots.
The sympathetic judge takes him aside and tells him it’s his last chance. Joel asks to reach people to the only way he knows how: through a song. The judge allows it. Joel lets the jury get to know him: he was an ordinary guy growing up, hanging out at the local diner, chasing girls and getting into some occasional fights. However, he states the 50s era, wasn’t as golden as it’s seen in retrospect. Sex education was limited and women smoked all the time. No one was truly innocent.
The judge gets behind his performance and the jurors believe him. He leaves the courtroom, his credibility returned and with some additional new fans.
Director: Howie Deutch Year: 1984
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