Eddie and the Cruisers (1983) Poster

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Thirty Years Later
selteab24 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Let me preface this by saying that I was born in 1949. I have lived through the evolution of rock 'n roll. Beginning with my older (7 yrs) sister's obsession in the 50s and watching American Bandstand as a child. Although Perry Como was my first idol, that quickly evolved. And, yes, I am still a Beatles Girl. I think that I was one of the few people that actually saw this movie (twice) in its original theatrical release in 1983. I was mesmerized. Yes, it could have been the combo of Pare and Berringer, et al. Truthfully, it is THE perfect blend of music, characters, mystery (Old Nancy Drew enthusiasts do not fade away), add a dash of "chuck it all, I am out of here" - and who among us has not entertained THAT idea? -class distinction (college kids and working class) you have the perfect recipe for a kick arse movie. I think it is significant that it is set in 1963, in that tiny little sliver of time that was post JFK election (change and youth), his assassination (November 1963) and before The Beatles/British invasion (February 1964). When this movie was made, MTV was barely a toddling toddler (born 1981) and they actually played music. Anyway, here it is thirty years later and I am accidentally catching this movie again on AMC. The music, characters, and story line are still viable. Even the onslaught of 30 years of "life is what happens when you are planning something else", this movie still mesmerizes me.
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This movie is addictive.
Peach-229 November 1998
I saw this movie when my family first got cable television. I watched it once, then twice, then the next thing I know I had watched it about 30 times. The story is well told through flashbacks and current events. the casting is good. Michael Pare is Eddie Wilson. Every time I have seen him since, that's the first thing I think about. Tom Berenger is also very good. His character starts out as naive and innocent and then begins to grow as we grow with him. This movie is totally addictive.
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More Here Than Meets The Eyes Or Ears In One Viewing
sataft-221 March 2000
Disregard what the big time movie reviewers may say! Despite a poor sound track, there is much more to this film than is obvious within one viewing. It took me awhile to get into it, but once I did, I loved it more with each viewing. The underlying premise of the film, that there was, indeed, a definitive crossover point between the innocent early rock and roll music of the 1950's and the deeper coming of age sounds of the mid to late sixties is quite real. And the charismatic title character "Eddie" has sensed this change in the wind, but is unable to convey his vision to those around him. Yes, there are a little too many flashback scenes for my taste, but all in all the film had something to say that deserves to be heard.
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Very Good Rock 'N Roll Film
ccthemovieman-111 January 2006
This is one the best rock 'n roll movies ever made, but that doesn't say much since there haven't too many that much good to begin with. However, this IS good.

It features solid music by John Cafferty, whose "The Dark Side," is played quite a bit during the movie but is a great song and always enjoyable to hear. The movie also has interesting characters and a somewhat intriguing story. The story features a decent imitation of a Jim Morrison-type lead singer without getting too dramatic.

A very young Ellen Barkin is the female lead here. She looked better when she got a bit older. A young Joe Pantolione also is in here and Michael Pare was effective as the lead singer.

Don't listen to the national film critics who didn't care for the film. The public liked it and most times, they are a better judge.
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Great for the Rock'n Rollers
raymond-154 October 2003
Basically this film is a nostalgic musical for all Rock'n Roll fans. There are some good numbers that will set toes tapping and hands clapping while Eddie belts out lyrics such as "On the dark side" of "Betty-Lou's got a new pair of shoes". But as a bonus and for those not so interested in the beat, the writers have thrown in some drama with a touch of mystery.

When Eddie Wilson crashed over a bridge in his car, his body was never found. Could that mean he is still alive? He certainly lives on in the hearts of the Cruisers. And what's more, there are unexpected phone callers that sound like Eddie and there's a car like Eddie's that dips its lights in the same way that Eddie used to do. The belief that he may still be alive is reinforced, even though Eddie died some 18 years ago. An intriguing situation!

Much of the film is in flash-back, jumping to & fro between the band of to-day and the band of years gone by. One adjusts quickly because Eddie it seems always wears a black leather jacket.

In a particular interesting scene Eddie takes his girl friend to an old junk yard one night. He explains that as a kid he used to hang out there. One of the workers at the yard built a castle of steel from bits and pieces selected from the dump. Eddie in a growing mood of despondency explains it is a memorial to nothing. Much like the boys from Jersey, they built up a band from nothing. I liked the analogy. "Long live nothing" he screams below the huge junk heap now illuminated with a million light bulbs.

It is interesting that fans refuse to let their rock stars die. I guess it is true that they really do live on in the songs that they created.
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The idea of vanishing from society thrills many!
AgLawyer15 June 1999
This is probably my all-time favorite movie. I can't explain why in terms to satisfy most people though. It's just one of those things. I love the music and have been to see John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band many times since the release of this movie. The idea that a prominent celebrity could vanish from society is a thrilling storyline for this movie. Its movies like these that help people whose loved ones are missing to keep the faith. It also breeds fantasy that stars like Elvis and Jim Morrison are still alive. I could write more but I'd rather go watch this movie!!!
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Michael Pare' appears so lifelike!
caliweb1 March 2008
Every time I watch this movie(and I do - over and over), the scene where Frank introduces his first song to the band - nearly whispering it in a high, cracking falsetto: "...from out of the shadows she walks like a dre-eam...", and while the other band-members giggle and squirm as though they're in 8th grade and just saw Mary Ellen's tidy-whities when the wind blew her skirt up - Eddie's silencing them and kindly guiding Frankie The Wordman's stumbling efforts toward something that can really get your blood moving("This is Rock 'n Roll!" he exclaims joyfully)always makes me marvel at the unexpectedly-good acting coming out of pretty boy Michael Pare'. I always think the same thing: 'How did Martin Davidson get that out of him? Why, in every other movie I've seen him in, did other directors fail to tap into that?' When you see this movie, you absolutely know that it isn't Pare's fault that he's so wooden elsewhere...because if he can do it here - he can do it anywhere, right? With the right director, the answer is yes. The proof is here; right here, in his very authentic portrayal of an artist trapped in the too-confining skin of a 60's rock star(Eddie: "If we can't be great, then there's no point in ever making music again!"). But don't just watch this movie for Pare'. Everything works. Everybody rocks. It all goes together just like...yeah, I'm gonna say it: words and music.
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Rock N' Roll Mystery
jhclues10 September 2000
Mystery surrounds the death of a rising rock star in director Martin Davidson's `Eddie and the Cruisers,' starring Tom Berenger and Michael Pare. With one successful album under their belts, lead singer and guitarist Eddie Wilson (Pare) takes his Cruisers into the recording studio to make an album he hopes will stand the world on its collective ear. Drawing the title from a work by Nineteenth Century poet Arthur Rimbaud, they begin to lay down tracks for `A Season In Hell.' But all is not well with Eddie and the band; there is dissent, and at least one among them, bassist Sal Amato (Matthew Laurance) disagrees with the direction in which Eddie has taken their music. Early one morning, toward the end of the recording sessions, Eddie's car goes off a bridge into the river; his body is never found. Now, eighteen years later, a reporter, Maggie Foley (Ellen Barkin) is doing a story on the Cruisers, and attempting to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of the master tapes from the recording sessions, which inexplicably vanished the day after Eddie's apparent death. Pare is perfectly cast as Eddie, the Bruce Springsteen-like rocker; he lip-synchs convincingly to John Cafferty's vocals and deftly captures the persona of an early sixties rock n' roll idol on the rise. Tom Berenger (who is actually the star of the movie) does an excellent job as lyricist Frank Ridgeway, the keyboard player known as `Word Man' by the band. Davidson tells the story by effectively using flashbacks, through which we get to know Eddie and his band, and which establishes the relationships so pertinent to the present day conflicts which emerge during Foley's investigation of Eddie and the missing tapes. The focus is mainly on Ridgeway, therefore as the story unfolds it is predominately from his perspective that we learn what really happened, especially on that last night in the recording studio. That there is a comparison being drawn between Eddie and Jim Morrison of The Doors is unmistakable; the plot draws heavily on the myth that Morrison (and Eddie) is still alive and may have `Pulled a Rimbaud.' Poet Rimbaud (who is considered a genius, and to whom the creation of the form of modern poetry as we know it is attributed) committed `artistic suicide' at the age of nineteen, at which time he abruptly quit writing and disappeared for the next twenty years, only to reappear at last on his deathbed in France. That the title of Rimbaud's masterpiece is `A Season In Hell' is no coincidence. The parallels are drawn convincingly, which heightens the interest and adds to the credibility of the mystery. The supporting cast includes Joe Pantoliano (Doc), Helen Schneider (Joann), David Wilson (Kenny), Michael Antunes (Wendell) and Kenny Vance (Lew). An excellent soundtrack of original songs, written and performed by John Cafferty, provided Davidson with a solid base from which to launch his story. `Eddie and the Cruisers' is entertaining, if not entirely memorable, but the music and performances are good, and all in all this movie will do for a pleasant evening's viewing, with maybe a little popcorn thrown in for effect. If you haven't seen this one, try it out; I think you'll be glad you didn't let it pass you by. I rate this one 7/10.
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Best rock & roll movie ever
rooprect15 November 2008
This film, along with "Amadeus" and "This Is Spinal Tap", has woven its way into the culture and lingo of musicians around the world. Classic lines like, "Do it my way with the cesarean", "We ain't great--we're just a bunch of guys from Jersey", and the all time rocker, "WORDS AND MUSIC" (with the appropriate finger gesture), can be heard in every recording studio and rehearsal room in the English speaking world.

So if you're a musician--or even if you just want to hang out with musicians--you must watch this film, otherwise you'll look like a total n00b.

Even to non-musical audiences, this movie is a work of art. It's a nostalgic and poetic trip back to the early 1960s when America was just emerging from its cocoon of innocence. The entire film is a metaphor for this. Eddie's music, like life itself, dared to venture beyond the bubble gum into a world of complex social and personal issues... literally, the "Dark Side" of American life.

Once you grasp this fundamental theme, you will appreciate the entire film on a deep level. It's not just a rock'n'roll romp. It's a profound commentary on the growing pains our society endured in the 2nd half of the 20th century. Told in flashback, the story takes on a particularly tragic air, as if you were browsing through a dusty old scrapbook of your childhood memories, now gone forever.

The story/mystery is set in the first 5 minutes, and for the remaining 90 mins it unravels concurrently in 2 timelines to a brilliant finale. Acting is absolutely flawless, camera-work is both tense and dreamy, and the clincher is the fantastic music, a retro soundtrack by John Cafferty with songs you'd swear you'd heard from the 50s but were actually written in 1980: "On the Dark Side", "Tender Years" & "Wild Summer Nights" to name some of the best. Check em out on Youtube if you can.

Vivid characters bring this story to life. In "Eddie and the Cruisers", the two lead characters personify the duality of a soul. First there's Eddie (Michael Paré) who is the dark, explosive force yearning to evolve. His counterpart is the naïve kid Ridgeway (played by Tom Berenger showing off his amazing versatility as an actor--just 2 years before his role in "Platoon" as the sadistic Vietnam commander. Can you believe it's the same guy?!). The two characters wrestle with each other, at times best friends, at times worst enemies, but always bound together by the thread of music. I'll leave you to discover the philosophical implications of their conflict and its outcome.

Notable supporting performances are made by young actors Joe Pantoliana ("Risky Business", "The Fugitive", "The Matrix", perhaps best known for "The Sopranos"), Matthew Laurance (tons of 80s-90s TV), Ellen Barkin ("The Big Easy"), and Eddie's girl played by Helen Schneider who surprisingly never did any other feature films.

Some people criticize this film as being "B grade" or "cheezy". Sure, why not. To me, that only added to its charm. The 80s itself was a time of innocence & simplicity relative to today's gritty cinema. Isn't it fitting that we, living in our mega-produced, paranoid, cynical new millennium would enjoy watching an honest 80s flick which itself is taking a look back to the warmth of its prior generation? It's like a window within a window. Don't miss the magic of this experience.

I've seen 20 or 30 rock'n'roll films and this is hands down my favorite. Other faves include, by decade they depict, "Jailhouse Rock" (a surprisingly angsty 50s Elvis flick), of course "Eddie" (early 60s) and "Head" (late 60s trippy Monkees flick), "Spinal Tap" (a 70s metal spoof), "Music & Lyrics" (an 80s pop spoof), "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" (80s thru present day comeback attempt/comedy/documentary) and "Garage Days" (a 90s Aussie rock comedy by the director of "The Crow"). Worthy of note is "Looking for an Echo" (2000) by the same writer/director who did "Eddie", it presents a parallel story of what might've happened to a 50s singer if he slowly faded into obscurity.

Hope this review made sense to you. "I nearly broke my fingers" typing it. Haha. Watch the movie and you'll get it.

P.S. If you see the film, make note that "Wendell" the sax player is actually the one who played sax on the soundtrack. In addition, the writers went to great lengths to ensure that the instruments of the era were used (Wurlitzer 140b piano, old Fender Strat guitar, etc). But notice how the piano isn't plugged in! Doh! Almost perfect. Almost.
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Eddie still lives on...
lisamariebaker10 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was 15 when this movie was released, and I LOVED IT. Eddie and the Cruisers is one of those AWESOME movies. I remember partying to it and watching at least 100+ times. It is a movie the seems to describe a lot of what was going on in the 80's even though it was supposed to be set in the 60's. Eddie was a music "ICON" for us, John John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band were awesome, and the music still lives on today. As a child of the "80's" a Gen."X" child, we are called the Lost Generation and Eddie was also lost,and showed how a lot of us felt, just disappear... Again, if you haven't seen this movie, you really NEED to. It is truly a Classic 80's movie. Also, watch garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores. You can sometimes find the Soundtrack which is also awesome. My Ex-husband recently found it in a box a friend gave him, and the first time he listened to "The Dark Side" it took him back again..
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A well executed search for artistic perfection
dezine-121 January 2005
Michael Paré delivers his best performance as Eddie Wilson, a talented young singer who strives to achieve the perfect original sound with lyrics that reach deep within the soul … forever. Eddie draws the necessary ingredients required to create his vision through Frank Ridgeway, a young man with an Ivy League education who has a passion for poetry. Powered by a sensational Rock n Roll soundtrack, Eddie and the Cruisers takes you on a journey through a glimpse of the other band members lives more than twenty years after. Their music is in the charts again, and the Cruisers are bigger and hotter than ever. But the tragic disappearance of Eddie in 1964 still haunts their minds and their lives, but now they must deal with the creation of a legend more thant wenty years after they were the hottest sound in town. Eddie and the Cruisers is well directed with solid performances by the cast. But it is the intense image created by Michael Paré's performance, that makes you believe in the legend.
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pk1965200120 July 2008
This cult classic still shines after all these years. Having watched this again recently, you still feel like your watching a true story of Eddie Wilson, and what happen to him. Everything from the great music soundtrack to the shots around NJ. To the fine acting performed by everyone involved. If there's a minor gripe i picked up watching it recently, they could of done a better job of aging these guys. Its supposed to be 20 years after they made it big in 1963 and they barely look older than those days. They could of gave Berenger a mustache like in the Big chill to make him look older. I thought Michael Pare would go on to be a big time actor, but looking at his profile, i never heard of any of his movies, except that horrible sequel he should of never of been involved with. Still a great movie about a bunch of guys from Jersey...
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Sensational rock music film ,today considered a cult movie
ma-cortes29 November 2006
The film deals a rockers band in the 1960s,the successful group is constituted by the leader Eddie(Michael Pare) and the rest band (Tom Berenguer,Joe Pantoliano,Matthew Laurance among others),but the lead singer dies in a car accident without appear mysteriously the body.Nowadays a reporter named Maggie(Ellen Barkin) is interviewing the surviving but another member has deceased by a stroke heart.Memories group are being relived by Frank (Tom Berenguer).The journalist and members of band are looking for the last unpublished tapes what turn out to be the band's final recording.The tapes have the title : ¨time in the inferno¨ like as a Rimbaud poem(written in 1873) .Maggie thinks what Eddie following the Rimbaud life(he had a tempestuous existence and was Paul Verlaine lover and disappearing early, his biography was brought to the life in a film with Leonardo DiCaprio)committed a suicide simulated and she doesn't believes to be dead.

It's an interesting film with excellent music and nowadays is deemed a cult movie.Casting is frankly enjoyable,the film results to be the best Michael Pare performance.The magnificent music is by John Chafferty and Beaver Brown Band.The motion picture is well directed by Martin Davidson,he's a director at his beginning realized good movies with known actors : Lord's of Flatbush,Hero at large and of course Eddie of the Cruisers; however today he makes solely for television episodes. The picture got a sequel with the same actors (exception of Tom Berenguer) in which Eddie emerges under a new identity in the city of Montreal and he forms a new musical group and are answered the questions of the previous film .The film will like to rockers and musical cinema devotees. Rating : Above average
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A Simple Plot
Morg-516 November 2003
This post is not to review or rate "Eddie", but to explain the background of the plot for other posters who seem confused on this.

"Eddie" was based on the 1980 book, same name, by Paul F. Kluge (avail used Amazon). The basis of the plot is simple: If the lead singer in a #1 rock group dies, how are the lives of others in the group altered? Do they try to keep it going, or let go and move on? Do they ever try to "go back"? Et cetera. Mr. Kluge's inspiration for this was the death of Buddy Holly in 1959. He long wondered what happened to the members of the Crickets after that day, and turned his curiosity into this book.

All this per a personal conversation I had with Mr. Kluge in 1996. At that time, he was a professor at a small Ohio college.
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Read the book!
bigbeat_6628 January 2003
The Michael Pare films are flawed. The John Cafferty music is too much Springsteen and not enough 50's. The sequel was a bad joke. None of this matters. "Eddie and the Cruisers" by P.F. Kluge is probably the best novel ever written about rock'n'roll, and even though it lost a lot in translation to the big screen, the magic is still there. If you like the movie, you simply owe it to yourself to read the book. Then you'll really understand.

One creepy mystery: aside from a couple of minor TV appearances many years later, Helen Schneider ("Joanne Carlino") never made another film after this one. Whatever happened to her? Did she also "pull a Rimbaud"?
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Great Movie for the Baby Boomer Generation
gordon-walbroehl18 March 2011
I grew up in South Jersey during the 60's. (To us natives it is either North Jersey or South Jersey) and actually played in a garage band during high school.

I lived down the street from where they filmed Doc's apartment and spent many summers "Down the Shore". I remember almost all the locations in the film. Anyway, for me this movie is a trip down memory lane. There are really very few goofs and the producers got it right for the 60's in Jersey. I first saw this in 1985 on video. I am currently looking at it 26 years later. Still tugs at the heart strings as it did a quarter of a century ago!
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Mysterious and Haunting
Jakemcclake1 March 2010
This movie evokes strange feelings of going back down a road, I have been on before, but did not recall ever being on it.

This was one of those movies I watched on cable during the eighties without noticing much. I would only watch it, if I had nothing else to do.

That said, I was amazed how much I remembered from this movie, when I watched it again recently. Probably because this movie has a lot going for it, that I never considered. It is a good story, with some mystery that compels one into the story. The movie has a good sound track and made an interesting point that good musicians feel tortured when trying to express themselves musically.
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Cult Movies 16
TYLERdurden7412 November 1998
16. EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS (drama, 1983) In the spring of 1963 Eddie and the Cruisers are the hottest up and coming band in town. Their first album is #1 in the local charts. They are destined to become world famous. But their second album turns out to be a failure. Lead singer Eddie (Michael Pare) is angry to learn that not only the band hates it, but so does the record company. Eddie speeds away in his car never to be seen again.

30 years later the legend of Eddie catapults the band back in the charts. Reporter Maggie (Ellen Barkin) wants to put together a retrospective, and with the help of former band member Frank (Tom Berenger), they set out to uncover the mystery of what really happened to Eddie.

Critique: One time box office bomb whose relegation to cable and VHS have made it a cult film. Its 'what-if' music world combines the likes of legends like Hendrix, Morrison and Elvis. Although they died, the fictional figure of Eddie Cruiser remains elusive and distant. Existing between past and present.

The movie has a superb soundtrack and spirited live performances by the actors. The screenplay by Arlene and Martin Davidson (who directs) richly blends legend and fiction.

This was Michael Pare's explosive debut. His Eddie is charismatic, brash and full of life. His obsession for greatness leads to his own destruction. Sadly, Pare's follow-up films have been total duds, relegating him to 'B' films. The potential he showed here has never been realized. He never had it so good. He would come back and star in Eddie and the Cruisers 2: Eddie Lives (1989).

QUOTE: Eddie: "I want something great. I want something that's never been done before!"
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Eddie and the Cruisers
goldeness21 March 2005
I loved this movie when it first came out and it remains relative many years later. It reminds artists/musicians about the desire to create something that will last and how to keep your dreams alive.

The cast was great and for the most part have gone on to terrific careers. Michael Pare was sensational! In the disposable society that we live in, Eddie and the Cruisers reminds us of how tough the music industry is for newcomers. Eddie...shows the pitfalls of the 'suits', the drug influence and the hard work and even rejection that a new performer must be able to take to make it. It is a good blueprint to go by, but beware, Eddie had a sequel. The real idea is to pursue a dream and make it happen.

The music is still a great sound of rock and roll and a lasting sound that doesn't sound dated. I have the soundtrack and often listen to it. I am familiar with the sequel, but would love to see another rock movie as good as Eddie and the Cruisers.
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I'm sorry but Eddie is no Elvis, no John Lennon, nor is he Frankie Valli...
AlsExGal26 November 2016
... and I don't care how seductively Ellen Barkin wraps her lips around a cancer stick or her legs around a chair, I'm just not buying her theories and I'm just not buying The Cruisers as a group that would eclipse the Beatles or anybody else in music in 1963-1964, had Eddie lived, and she is out to determine if Eddie is still alive, since his body was never found after his car went off of a bridge in 1964.

Nor am I buying that although the cruisers have seemed to move on, as in they are making a living doing something else, that ALL of them seem to be stuck back in 1964, right down to "Eddie's girl", Joann Carlino, who after 19 years still has the outfits she wore back in the day, even more amazingly she fits in them. You'd think at some point her biological clock would start ticking - after 19 years you'd think the alarm on that clock would be ringing like crazy. Actually, Eddie was not very nice to any of the other Cruisers, so I could never really get why they were so stuck in the past.

Joann is so stuck in the past that when it appears that Eddie's car drives up into her driveway, she just dresses the way she would have dressed twenty years before and goes downstairs to find - well, watch and find out.

Yes, "The Dark Side" is good music, but it is obviously 80's music - even more obviously over 30 years later - and Michael Pare as Eddie is obviously lip syncing the vocals.
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If you're a dreamer, good; the world needs dreamers
Wuchakk21 December 2016
Released in 1983 and directed by Jon Amiel, "Eddie and the Cruisers" is a rock drama about a TV reporter (Ellen Barkin) who picks up the story of a legendary early 60's rock band that prematurely ended when their charismatic leader, Eddie Wilson (Michael Paré), died when his Chevy went off a bridge, although his body was never recovered. The newswoman interviews the living band members 18 years after their heyday and tries to track down the missing tapes to their never-released avant-garde second album. The band members are Frank (Tom Berenger), Joann (Helen Schneider), Sal (Matthew Laurance), Kenny (David Wilson) and Wendell (Michael "Tunes" Antunes), while their bullcrappin' manager is Doc (Joe Pantoliano).

This was the inspiration for 2009's "The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll" but both movies have their distinctions, as well as pros and cons. "Eddie" is about a band from the early 60s whereas "The Perfect Age" is about a Guns N' Roses-type band whose heyday was in the 80s. Each film starts out shaky as the story is set-up, but they progressively get better. Both films feature charismatic frontmen with diametrically opposed styles, but also very similar when you think about it. Each feature revealing chats amongst the characters with "Eddie" shining in the final act when it unveils Eddie's youthful place of solitude, Palace of Depression (which is an actual place in southern New Jersey, Vineland; a building made of junk built by the eccentric George Daynor, a former Alaskan gold miner who lost his fortune in the Crash of '29). Growing-up, my gang had several hidden spots where we'd meet, each with a name known only to us; I even had a personal "My Place" in the woods behind my parents house on a lake where I'd often go for private reflection. When I was 15 I planned to commit suicide there, but thankfully didn't go through with it. The movie gets points for including such an existential element.

Was Eddie still alive or did he die in 1964? The ending reveals the truth and the way it's done is superlative.

So which movie is better, "Eddie" or "The Perfect Age"? They both shoot for greatness and in some small ways attain it. Disregarding the rockin' performances, "Eddie" is more location-bound and therefore dramatically sedentary whereas "The Perfect Age" is a road movie in disguise and therefore seemingly more eventful. In my opinion the music's better in the latter, but then I prefer the heavier side of rock/metal over the Bruce-Springsteen-in-the-early 60s style of "Eddie" (which is good for what it is, don't get me wrong). "Eddie" stands out for including the Palace of Depression angle and contains superb lines in the final act, but "The Perfect Age" soars in its own way, like Spyder & Eric's brouhaha in the rain and the blues bar sequence (featuring cameos by legends Sugar Blue, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Bob Stroger). Then there's the powerful climatic scene in "Perfect Age" at Spyder's ritzy mansion with Jane's Addiction's "Three Days" playing in the background, which just so happens to rank with the all-time best cinematic scenes utilizing rock songs, like the close of 1998's "Buffalo '66" with Yes' incredible "Heart of the Sunrise."

The songs by the fictitious Eddie and the Cruisers were composed/performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. The main song, "On the Dark Side," became a #1 hit for the band and "Tender Years" was a minor one. Most of the cast weren't musicians, although Matthew Laurance (Sal) learned how to play bass for the movie. Only Michael "Tunes" Antunes, the sax player for the Beaver Brown Band, and Helen Schneider (Joann) were professional musicians.

Speaking of whom, I can't close without mentioning how Helen really shines here. No, she's no Meryl Streep, but she's great for her role in "Eddie." You could say she's The Perfect Rage of Rock 'n' Roll (sorry, that was just DUMB). I should also add that it's interesting to see Berenger, Barkin and Paré when they were so young.

The film runs 95 minutes and was shot entirely in New Jersey with the exception of the college sequence, which was filmed just across the Pennsylvania border at Haverford College.

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A Music-Driven Film
gavin69429 March 2015
A television newswoman (Ellen Barkin) picks up the story of a 1960s rock band whose long-lost leader Eddie Wilson (Michael Pare) may still be alive, while searching for the missing tapes of the band's never-released album.

The 1980s, among many other great things in the movie world, were apparently the decade of music films. We really do not see them anymore, but the 80s brought us this film (1983) "La Bamba" (1987) and this film's sequel (1989), just to name a few. Apparently it was also the decade where Joe Pantoliano appeared in music films, because he is both here and in "La Bamba".

Roger Ebert wrote at the time that the film was "so frustrating, so dumb, so unsatisfactory", but he was so wrong. This may not be high art, and it may be odd to hear Springsteen-esque music allegedly being played in 1963, but it is a darn fun film.

Although the film had a strong cult following when it was played repeatedly on HBO, those under 30 today may not remember the movie. Yet, the hit single "On the Dark Side" still receives regular radio play, so it is anything but forgotten. This might be the time to visit (or revisit) the film, especially now that we have had thirty years to reflect on the careers of Michael Pare, Tom Berenger and Joe Pantoliano.

Hats off to Shout Factory for releasing this as a double feature on Blu-ray. Unfortunately, it comes as bare bones release, with only subtitles to speak of. Michael Pare was not asked to do a commentary (though he probably would), and it would have been a really cool thing to include a remastered soundtrack CD. Maybe we have not seen the final release of this film yet.
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A film about art and passion
melody2328 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of my favorite small movies of all times. It draws off a lot of artistic partnerships for inspiration with its underlying theme of "words and music" and the seeming contradictions in life, art and relationships that go into making something beautiful and real. The characters are wonderfully rendered and the performances are pitch perfect. The music is haunting when it should be and always exciting to listen to. Eddie's struggle is the eternal struggle of the artist, who wants to be great, in contrast to his friend who suggests, "They're just some guys from Jersey". The ending is the perfect ending. The film, while not the perfect film (since a perfect film doesn't exist), is one of the few of which I actually own a copy. It you haven't seen "Eddie", I promise you, it's nothing that you think it is ... any more than "Eddie and the Cruisers" are "just some guys from Jersey".
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A Bruising Cruise
julioecolon22 August 2006
Tom Berenger must have been desperate for work when he signed on for this embarrassment of a film. It has the feel and tone of the kind of made for television movie you might watch out of sheer boredom and exhaustion on a Sunday afternoon when you're too tired either to locate the remote or to fire a bullet at the television screen. The acting is wooden and unnatural, and the music, which is supposed to be awesome, sounds curiously like a bad rip-off of Springsteen, even though the flashbacks in the film are set, for the most part, in 1963, when NOTHING sounded like Springsteen. Worse yet, the sets do not look at all like anything reminiscent of "1963." This is very clearly a cheap production, doomed from the start by an awful script, terrible acting, and a devil may care attitude about capturing the feeling of an era. Here's the premise of the film: years after Eddie, the tempestuous and dumb (can he spell Rimbaud?) lead singer of the Cruisers, has disappeared (he died in a car accident, but his body was never recovered), a reporter decides to write a story about the band. She has a theory that Eddie is still alive and believes that the band may be on the verge of a renaissance, if the missing final recordings, named A Season in Hell, can be located. She forces her presence into the lives of the remaining band members, who are, by the way, dull as dirt, to piece together the band's history. This reporter is so creepy and annoying that she'd probably have a restraining order slapped on her, nowadays. Ironically enough, A Season in Hell describes the viewing experience quite accurately.
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Respectable blend of music and mystery.
mhasheider28 April 2003
An intriguing and likable yarn about a former member of a sixties rock band now high school teacher, Frank Ridgeway (Tom Berenger) who is interviewed by an eager magazine reporter, Maggie Foley (Ellen Barkin) about what might have happened to the band's fiery lead singer, Eddie Wilson (Michael Pare).

What makes "Eddie and the Crusiers" work so well is the musical score by John Cafferty, which mostly consists of soft rock songs. The performances by Pare and Berenger are quite good, too. However, the story written by Arlene Davidson and director Martin Davidson doesn't give the film more detail. One must wonder how much detail is too much for a movie like this?

Overall, "Eddie and the Crusiers" is a respectable blend of music and mystery.
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