Friday, August 03, 2007

Eddie and the Cruisers

Who remembers the movie "Eddie and the Cruisers"? Funny, very seldom were there any good American movies on TV during my youth, so by chance I remember one evening catching this particular movie, it probably caught my eye because of the actor Michael Pare, who at that time I thought was the hottest actor, even though I only seen one movie with him in it, called "The Philadelphia Experiment". So I spend that night watching "Eddie and the Cruisers" for the very first time and I loved it, mainly because of the awesome soundtrack and because of Micheal Pare.
I still love the soundtrack and it's great cruising to it through the country side.

The movie is about a 1960s rock 'n roll band called Eddie and the Cruisers. The band makes a name for itself while playing regularly at a Somers Point, New Jersey club called TonyMart's. It is there that they meet Frank "Wordman" Ridgeway, whom Eddie hires to be the band's keyboard player and lyricist.
With Ridgeway's help the band stops playing cover songs and releases an album of original material, Tender Years, that becomes a hit, especially with the song, "On the Dark Side." The band spends a year recording their next album, A Season in Hell. The album is a culmination of all that Eddie has ever hoped to do with music, different from anything that anyone else had ever done at that point. It strikes the head of their record company, Satin Records, as too strange to release.
In the early morning hours after Satin refuses to release the new album, Eddie's car starts out going over the Stainton Memorial Causeway (which connects Somers Point, NJ to Ocean City, NJ) but the scene switches to the Longport Somers Point Blvd bridge for the actual crash site. The Longport Somers Point Blvd bridge was a wooden bridge that connects Somers Point, NJ to Longport, NJ. A few years after the movie the Longport Somers Point Blvd bridge was rebuilt and no longer resembles the bridge in the movie. Eddie's body is never found, and he is declared dead.
Almost 20 years later, Satin re-releases the band's first album, which becomes a surprise hit, climbing higher on the charts than the original ever did. This is where the movie begins, with the editors of a television show deciding to do a story on the band, with an attempt to bring light to the band's second album, which disappeared from the vaults of Satin Records the day after Eddie supposedly died.
Though the namesake of the movie is the band's lead singer, the movie revolves around the other members of the Cruisers, especially Frank Ridgeway, and their memories of the band. All of the members have by now moved on with their lives, and are mostly not involved in the music business at all. Much of the movie takes place in flashback, prompted by the television reporter, Maggie Foley. Tensions building within the Cruisers during the flashback sequences coincide with Frank becoming more open about the story with Maggie.
The story's climax involves Eddie's girlfriend, Joann Carlino, completing the one piece of the flashback puzzle that Frank could not: what happened the night that Satin refused to release the band's second album?
After storming from the studio, Eddie brought her to the Palace of Depression, a makeshift castle made of garbage and junk that he visited often as a child. She reveals that it was in fact she that took the master tapes for Season in Hell from Satin Records, hiding them in Palace of Depression, where she felt they belonged.
Frank and Joann go back to Palace of Depression to retrieve the master tapes. After returning to Joann's house, she receives a phone call that she believes to be from Eddie, who has been missing for almost 20 years, and with whom she remains in love. Frank hides outside and watches as a blue chevy, identical to Eddie's old car, arrives at the house, and a voice that sounds like Eddie's calls to her. Before Joann can reach the car, Frank pulls the driver from behind the wheel, who turns out to be the band's old manager, who was using the trickery to obtain possession of the master tapes. They give him the master tapes for Season in Hell, which he promises to release under a deal that will benefit all of them.
The movie closes with Maggie's story about the band, being viewed on televisions in a store window and watched by a crowd outside. The credits roll as a song from Season in Hell is premiered for the first time, and as the lights from the television dim, the crowd walks away, leaving only one person standing at the window. His reflection appears in the store window, revealing him to be the long-lost Eddie Wilson, much older.

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