Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (1989) (part 6 of 12)
Just so we don’t forget the evil record company guys—who, let’s face it, are having less and less impact on the plot every time we see them—we now go to Satin Records Headquarters. Reporters are swarming around Dennis Miller Guy and Mafia Used Car Salesman as they stroll through the lobby, dropping hints about Eddie having been seen in twelve states—and Paris, France! A nebbish reporter demands to know how long they’re going to keep up this “scam”, which gets him angrily pushed out of the elevator (but alas, not down the shaft). Once they’re alone, Dennis Miller asks Mafia Used Car Guy the same question. The response? “As long as we’ve got records to sell!” Bwhahaha!
And now it’s time for the gallery opening. Eddie saunters in wearing jeans and a leather jacket, earning him reproachful looks from the cream of Montreal society. Ha ha, the juxtaposition of the working class and the well-to-do is so funny! And the best part is, it’s never been done before!
A spry dowager in a red dress saunters up to him. “Do you paint?” she asks. Eddie nods. “Buildings.” Okay, I concede that was worth half a snicker. And not that this has anything to do with anything, but I’ve just now realized we’re in some kind of alternate universe Montreal where no one speaks French. Weird. We also notice during this section that Diane’s oeuvre seems to consist entirely of color-tinted horses’ heads [?].
Eddie now discovers a portrait of himself painted by Diane. I guess she’s trying to branch out into other portions of equine anatomy. Of course, the existence of the painting and Eddie’s discovery of it at this point were both stultifyingly predictable. But what I didn’t expect is that the painting, which is in all bloody reds and blacks, perfectly captures the style and tone of the painting of the Master in “Manos” the Hands of Fate. Seriously, all that’s missing is a demonic Doberman.
Nonetheless, Eddie, who never passes up a chance to be self-obsessive, is immediately captivated. He removes it from its easel and takes it to go find Diane. When he sees her, she’s being berated by a Kevin Nealon-looking guy, who’s the curator (I guess), because she’s only sold two paintings in the half hour or whatever her show has been going on. That’s right, this is a volume business! Push ’em out the door! Quantity discount if you buy ten or more! And if you guessed Eddie booms out “Make dat tree!” you get a cookie. (Eddie’s Jersey accent gets thicker around fancy people, I think.) Diane, by the way, has scored an interesting double-play in this scene: both her outfit and her new hairdo can best be characterized by the word “meringue”.
Now here’s where things take a turn for the creepy, and I mean decidedly creepier than Eddie’s unmotivated memorization of the beverage preferences of saxophone players. So. Already we’ve had both Rick and Diane become so fascinated with Eddie, after barely meeting him, that they track him down at his workplace and favorite bar, respectively. Okay, I’ll buy that; to have become a rock star, Eddie would have to be pretty charismatic. Not that we’ve seen any real evidence of this, but I’m at least willing to accept it as an Informed Attribute.
But now, as Diane runs out of the gallery, with Eddie trotting behind her still carrying his Early Manos Style painting, we see that Rick has pulled up across the street in his van and he’s just sitting there, staring at Eddie [!!]. (He looks five years older, too, because his previously spikey hair is now brushed back. So it feels like he’s Future Rick come back to change history and destroy Eddie Wilson before it’s too late. Having seen the band perform later in the film, I can confirm that this is a plausible storyline.)
Now think about what’s brought Rick to this moment. He inserted himself into Eddie’s life at the bar and totally got reamed. He showed up at Eddie’s job and got a jam session out of it, during which Eddie displayed utter contempt for his approach to playing guitar. So now, Rick has taken to following Eddie around because he’s desperate, one assumes, for Round Three.
He’s had no contact with Eddie since the jam session, and I guarantee you Eddie’s not the type to chitchat about his upcoming dates, which must mean Rick has been following Eddie since he left work that day. Except that doesn’t make sense, because Rick actually pulled up outside the gallery and switched off his engine just before Eddie walked out—which is clearly some time after Eddie got there. So either (a) Rick didn’t follow him there, but nonetheless had some kind of inside knowledge of Eddie’s plans and movements (maybe he had Eddie Lo-Jacked?), or (b) he followed him to the gallery, figured he’d be a while, drove down to the 7-Eleven for a Slurpee or something, and then came back. Either way, I’m thinking Rick has passed beyond “Hey, you play great guitar, I want you in my band.” I think Rick is starting to reveal the kind of obsessive personality about which Hannibal Lecter would have been able to give Clarisse a great deal of helpful advice.
Meanwhile, Diane says her career is ruined because her first show bombed (the fact that her paintings suck should also put a crimp in things). Eddie charms her into his blahmobile and soon they’re pulling up outside a roller rink [!]. Diane demands to know why he hasn’t taken her home, and Eddie’s like, “Don’t you want to go roller skating?” She says she doesn’t know how to roller skate. Eddie admits that he doesn’t, either, and by this process, they agree to go roller skating.
Naturally, before they’ve gotten ten feet onto the rink she’s fallen on her ass, dragging him down with her, and I’m trying really hard not to read anything prophetic into that. A little girl literally runs rings around them making nyaah-nyaah motions with her hands, and Eddie gallantly offers to beat her up. Charming. Anyway, they clamber awkwardly to their feet, Diane claiming that she’ll never be able to skate properly, to which Eddie replies, “Just follow the flow of my legs, dear.” [?] Eddie says this in a stilted way, as if it’s got quote marks around it, but if it’s a reference to some other movie, I’m stumped. Wait, didn’t Bette Davis say that in Beyond the Forest?
Well, Eddie and Diane are discovering what countless movie couples already know, which is that Cheap Dates Work. Roller rinks are number three on the list of Most Successful Cheap Dates, after hot-dog stands and walks on the beach.
But because it’s been all of five minutes since Eddie has been reminded that he can’t escape his past (or rather, the machinations of this retarded plot), we cut to the roller rink’s deejay. He takes a moment to rub the head of one of his technicians [?] before telling the skaters he’s got “some exciting music” for them. Yes, “right here at Bobby’s Rink” there’s going to be a preview of the Mystery Tape from the great Eddie Wilson. Wow, I can just picture the strategy meeting at Satin Records. “Where should we premiere the Mystery Tape, Lew?” “I know—roller rinks! Canadian roller rinks!”
When Eddie hears this, of course, his face falls like a soufflé. Meanwhile I’m thinking, here’s a new low for the Hey! Turn on the TV! Rule: Not only is everything on TV about you, and everything on the radio about you, and even the paintings at the local art gallery for Pete’s sake, but in this movie, everything at the roller rink is about you, too. What’s next, Eddie goes to the UN, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick makes a speech about him? Eddie goes to the grocery store to pick up a six-pack of Genesee, only to find they’re coming out with Eddie Wilson Can’t Escape His Past Frozen Mozzarella Sticks? I can just imagine Eddie standing in the middle of the freezer section, shaking his fist at the gods responsible for poignant finger food.
Diane perceptively notices Eddie’s change of mood once he’s dragged her off the floor and started hauling his boots back on. But when she questions him, he turns into Instant Jerk and tells her to get her skates off.
Rick picks this moment, of all moments, to again teleport into Eddie’s personal space and start gushing about how Eddie was right about Rick’s music missing something (try “aptitude”), and how Eddie’s gotta hear the tape he made of their jam session.
Eddie yanks him aside by the lapels and tells him to get off his back, but Diane separates them before Eddie can pound the twerp’s head in (booo!). Jilted lover—er, sorry, jilted guitar-playing companion Rick moans pathetically that he “just wanted to jam with you, man.” And stalk you! I just wanted to jam with you and stalk you, man!