This Sucks Don’t Change the Channel

December 27, 2008 at 12:25 pm Leave a comment

At a Christmas party, my husband and I found ourselves sitting at a table with people we met only an hour before. The discussion was far from muted-the addition of alcohol gave it that je ne sais quoi-but it really jacked up when I mentioned I was so bored on Christmas Eve, I watched Eddie and the Cruisers ll-Eddie Lives on Showtime. Immediately, four voices yelled  “I watched that, too!”

What followed was a long discussion interspersed with one of us singing or acting out scenes from the movie.

Eddie: I gotta to do my music my way this time!
Cut to: Eddie doing his new music the exact same way he did his old music.

Eddie and The Cruisers ll, Eddie Lives, (Tagline: The Legend. The Movie. The Man.) was the 1989 sequel to 1983’s Eddie and the Cruisers, (Tagline: Rebel. Rocker. Lover. Idol. Vanished.) a thinly disguised biography of Bruce Springsteen, complete with hardscrabble, dead-end New Jersey shore town. In the original, Eddie Wilson finds fame as a rocker, then disappears. ECll follows Eddie’s new life in Canada as the mysterious Joe West, a construction worker with a bad mustache and a band. The music, by Springsteen’s movie doppelganger, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, resulted in a top ten single “On The Dark Side.” The plots are predictable, the music derivative, and the acting pedestrian- not quite bad enough to be funny.

So why did five out of five of us at that table sit though the entire thing? My husband said he was compelled to watch it, and the rest of us agreed. Apparently we were not the only ones hypnotized by the film, as evidenced by this quote I found on from a ECll fan from Easton, PA.: This movie held me spellbound right up to the end.

WTF? The movie sucked, pure and simple. Eddie 20 years later isn’t even that cute, although he does have an artistic-loser quality I would have found attractive years ago. The chick was too stupid looking to be hot, and the guys in the band were idiots. His Jersey band looked vaguely ethnic in that “I could be Jewish or Italian” way, with an angry non-ethnic high-school dropout thrown in as a garnish. “Canada” consisted of an exterior shot of water and pine trees, and a log cabin for band practice.

But none of us-from the M.D. at the party, to the guy from Easton-couldn’t stop watching. I became so obsessed with Eddie that I came home that night, listened to “On the Dark Side” and a whole bunch of lesser Eddie songs on YouTube, Googled, Wikipedia’d and IMDB’d both movies, and even blogged about it. I’m still fixated.

Is it the spellbinding nature of ECll that kept us watching, or just the dead time between Christmas week and New Years’ when we don’t know what to do with all that time we say we want? We don’t milk cows, tell stories, or play pianoforte for the gathered guests, we watch TV. And those bastards at the premium channels know all too well that this is the one time of year we give a damn that Eddie Lives.

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Roberta Gale

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