“I wanna get outta here… I’m gonna get outta here!”
An aspiring salsa musician (Ruben Blades) in New York’s Spanish Harlem “crosses over” into mainstream music, only to find that he’s unwisely left behind everyone most important to him — including his loving girlfriend (Elizabeth Pena) and longtime musical partner (Shawn Elliott).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- New York City
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary’s review of director Leon Ichaso’s second indie film (his debut was 1979’s El Super) is spot-on: he notes that it “starts out nicely”, offering “original, quirky characters” and plenty of “wit and spirit”, but soon “turns into an unconvincing morality play full of situations and characters we’ve seen in countless other pictures”. Although real-life Panamanian singer Blades is an impressive, believable actor with estimable musical skills, we quickly lose our sympathy for him — and by the second half of the film, he’s no longer even performing on-screen. With that said, there are enough positive elements in Crossover Dreams to make it worth a look at least once, including good use of Spanish Harlem locales, a pulsating salsa soundtrack, and fine supporting performances; it’s too bad the cliched screenplay fails to offer these characters the type of nuanced story they deserve.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ruben Blades as Rudy Veloz
- Tom Signorelli in a bit part as a music agent/drug dealer
- Effective use of authentic Spanish Harlem locales
- A fabulous salsa soundtrack
No, but it’s recommended for one-time viewing.