Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)

Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)

“You don’t understand: the night Eddie died, the Cruisers died with him.”

When a high school teacher (Tom Berenger) is asked by a journalist (Ellen Barkin) to share what he knows about the mysterious disappearance of his former band leader (Michael Paré), Berenger goes on a trip down memory lane, reflecting back on the sexy singer (Helen Schneider) he had a crush on and the missing tapes Eddie (Paré) may have hidden.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Amateur Sleuths
  • Flashback Films
  • Journalists
  • Rock ‘n Roll

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that although it was a “flop when released, this weird little film has become a cult favorite due to cable television” (and maintains that status today after an ill-fated sequel in 1989). He writes that this “combination of sixties nostalgia, music extravaganza, and creepy mystery is not altogether successful, but, thanks to [the] music (provided by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band), a solid cast, and an interesting premise (inspired by rumors that the Doors’ lead singer, Jim Morrison, still lives), it is far better than most unimaginative pictures thrust at youth audiences.”

That’s faint praise, but is fairly accurate. The mystery of whether Eddie is actually still alive — and, even more importantly, whether fans will be able to hear his final “concept album”, which never saw the light of day — propels the narrative and keeps us in suspense, tapping into the appealing notions that: 1) our favorite musicians never really died (Elvis anyone?), and 2) more of their amazing music is squirrelled away somewhere, simply awaiting discovery. It’s pure fantasy, and will likely appeal to those nostalgic for this era — but it’s not must-see viewing.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Tom Berenger as Frank Ridgeway
  • Some fine musical performances

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look for its cult status.


One thought on “Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)

  1. First viewing (4/25/21). Skip it.

    Bad, bad, bad. And dreary. A terrible script, terrible songs and terrible acting.

    Nothing works here and the cast often seems bored (and who can blame them?). The music seems to keep leaning toward Springsteen-wannabe (partially forgetting that Springsteen is about romance, not about sex).

    ‘Fave’ moment comes when Berenger – after many years – reunites with back-up singer Schneider and he’s telling her about “remembering all the good times.” WHAT GOOD TIMES??!!! 😉

    But the worst is Paré; he almost single-handedly sinks the flick.

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