Blast From The Past: Eddie and The Cruisers

By Parker Otto, Columnist

There have been many fictional movie bands. From Spinal Tap to Stillwater, they are groups that have inspired people just as much as real rock groups but one initially flew under the water in 1983 only to get a cult following. That band was Eddie and The Crusiers.

In 1983, the film “Eddie and The Cruisers” was released to no critical acclaim and made 4.7 million dollars against a budget of 5 million, becoming a box office bomb. It was supposed to be released that summer according to director Martin Davidson but ended up being pushed back to September. This was due to those in charge of distribution having little to no experience. Despite bombing, the film was eventually circulated on HBO where it became popular amongst teenagers. Thus, the film’s cult following was born.

“Eddie and The Cruisers” told the story of rocker Eddie Wilson, played by Michael Pare, and his band from New Jersey who were snuffed out due their music not being understood in 1964. The viewer sees the band form and the trials the band went through including deaths of band members, arguments and their album being rejected.

The film also cuts to 1983, where the surviving band members have taken clean cut jobs and are trying to find their lost album that the studio hated. The latter plotline is where the film strays from greatness. If the director wanted to make a film about a band, then make a film about a band. The 1983 plotline is pointless, inferior to the 1964 story and, unfortunately, makes up a good chunk of the film.

Overall, the film is decent with several good moments that should have been expanded and some dumb scenes that should have been left on the cutting room floor. The acting from that band is good and everyone is convincing especially Michael Pare as Eddie Wilson and Tom Berenger as Frank “Wordman” Ridgeway who serves as the protagonist of the 1983 plot. The friendship between the two is a big focus of the film and, like everything else good, needed more attention.

The main thing that should be remembered from the film is its soundtrack which is fantastic. The songs, written and performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, combine basic doo-wop with elements of The Doors and that traditional brash New Jersey style.

Part of the film’s cult following is due to this soundtrack with the singles “On The Dark Side” and “Tender Years” charting at number seven and number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. The rest of the album contains the right amount of foot tapping songs with more serious music which will make the listener stop and think.

“Eddie and The Cruisers” has a good story waiting to break out and a phenominal soundtrack. In an age of remakes, this is one that should happen because there’s a lot of potential for a film that could challenge the likes of “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous.” But, for now, the world has an okay film and music that still continues to amaze to this day.