Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (1989) (part 9 of 12)

Hey, look, they paid Larry King for two scenes! He’s now interviewing Dennis Miller Guy, who says Satin Records is now offering a quarter million for proof Eddie Wilson lives. Larry, sharp guy that he is, tells Dennis this sounds like a publicity stunt, but Dennis denies this. I’m sure if we pan down, we’ll see his fingers are crossed, too.

Cut to the two vans pulling up at a college somewhere. Over at the orange van, Charlie AKA Shirtless Drummer kicks the passenger door open with both feet [!] and then apologizes to it [?]. The young band members flirt with passing college girls, while Eddie and Diane stand around looking chaperonish. The gig they’re performing at is called “Spring Break Blowout”, which sounds like a glorified prom (but hey, even Marvin Berry did proms).

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Rock Solid (hahahaha, still funny) is doing a vaguely ’60s number called “Some Like It Hot” (and there’s now a giant sign that says “Mount Richmond College Presents Sounds of the Sixties”), and everyone in this crowd is doing complicated dance moves like they’re auditioning for the touring company of Hairspray. One of the chorus members—sorry, I mean a regular old college student—spots Diane sitting on the sidelines and asks her to dance with him, and she doesn’t put up much resistance. They start hip-bumping in rotating configurations (are we watching dancing or aerobics?). Eddie catches sight of this, since, hello, they’re doing it right in front of him, and he gets this flinty look in his eyes like he finally understands about wife-beating.

Caption contributed by Mark

“She’s—dancing! That bitch!

Dancing Boy gets more inventive, and by the final notes of the song he’s mopping the floor with her, and as everyone claps she collapses into his arms and he looks sated. It’s Extra-Strength Metaphor, now with retsin! Eddie, meanwhile, is fuming, and I’m grinding my teeth, because the plot of this movie has degenerated into each character taking turns doing things that are guaranteed to piss Eddie off.

Our hero walks off stage, forcing an incredulous Hilton to launch into a sax instrumental. Did they arrange an in-case-Eddie- flips-his-lid backup number? Good call! Eddie marches Diane off the dance floor, and the world’s most banal lovers’ quarrel ensues. It’s not improved by the interjections of Rick Diesel, who frantically tags along.

Caption contributed by Mark

It’s a floor mop! It’s a moronic girlfriend! Wait, you’re both right!

Basically, Eddie tells her to go to her room, and Diane tells him to go someplace else. Amazingly, this causes Eddie to back down and apologize, to which she responds, “You have the band to kick around. What do you need me for?” Rick, listening to this, seems to agree. But then, we know Rick likes Eddie abusing him, so it seems like the ideal relationship for all concerned. Anyway, they kiss and make up (Eddie and Diane, I mean), tender moment, tender moment, blah blah blah.

Wow, they paid Martha Quinn for two scenes, too! Diane is drawing in bed in a hotel room somewhere, and watching MQ interview Sal, who’s still claiming that the mystery tape can’t be Eddie. If Eddie were alive today, he says, Sal would be right there with him. Martha practically bitch-slaps him, saying lots of people disagree and showing video of “another” Satin Records-sponsored Eddie Lives party somewhere. Why does she care so much, anyway? You know, I’ll bet she’s got a bedroom full of Eddie Wilson lunchboxes and posters showing him in blue satin shirts open to the navel.

Caption contributed by Mark

“Look, Martha, Duet was an okay show, really.” “Well, lots of people disagree.”

Anyway, Diane hurriedly clicks off the TV as Eddie emerges from the shower. He asks what she was watching, and to distract him she asks to hear “New York City Song”. What, again? Not only are we getting all these songs played all the way through, but there’s reruns as well? At least here it’s more appropriate, since Eddie’s got his ambition back. But still, we heard this one already! Sheesh.

So this is “New York City Song” performed in a towel, as advertised, so Paré can show off his jailhouse physique. But we soon cut away from our heaping helping of gateau de boeuf à la Paré to another montage of outtakes or whatever.

Caption contributed by Mark

“Whooaa, I’m on fire. Mainly ’cause I benched 300 today, check it out.”

We see the four younger members of the band playing like puppies, enjoying a snowball fight in the woods. Meanwhile, big dogs Eddie and Diane walk past and curl up on a rock by a waterfall. There’s dialogue here, but at first we can’t hear it, because Eddie is still singing in the hotel room, so I’ll assume it’s not of the plot-advancing variety. [Is any of it? —Albert] Finally, Singing Eddie fades out to let us listen in, and it turns out I was right.

Diane is supposing Eddie really enjoys life on the road, but Eddie says he still misses Jersey. Diane is understandably skeptical, prompting this amazing lionization:

Eddie: Baby, there’s nowhere else in the world like the Garden State! You got miles of swamps and mountains of dumps… different colored rivers… automobile graveyards, breweries, factories, ballparks, all mixed up together. It’s the best place to live.
Diane: Uh huh. Then why does the Statue of Liberty face the other way?

As someone who lived in Jersey for many, many years, I can testify to all of this, except the “best place to live” part. Suddenly, they notice someone’s playing saxophone. Eddie points and we pan up to Hilton blowing away on top of a cliff [?] like he’s the Greek god of waterfalls or something. Are we done killing time yet? Will we ever be?

Well, Diane had her fun at the dance, so now it’s Rick’s turn to provoke Eddie into apoplexy. They’re in a hunting lodge mess hall somewhere, and Rick gets off a pay phone and announces that Lindsay Caputo, she of the “Montreal Spring Music Festival”, is coming to their gig next week. And he’s got this huge grin on his face, like he has no idea Eddie is about to explode like a Christmas present from Ted Kaczynski.

Now, it’s true that thanks to Eddie’s unbelievable truculence, this plot would not budge an inch if it weren’t for him constantly being backed into corners. So I get that Rick has to perform this function and do the backing (failing, of course, the hiring of more talented screenwriters). But the problem is that every segment of the film has Rick blindly doing something that, in effect, kicks Eddie that much further down the plotline. This bullheadedness on Rick’s part has the unfortunate side effect of making him look aggressively stupid: he’s just as stubborn as Eddie, because he refuses to learn the tiniest lesson from his ongoing life with the world’s most unwilling rock star. End result: Rick is becoming even more irritating than the mere sum of his personality flaws.

Caption contributed by Mark

“Guess what, guys, I figured out a new way to make Joe blow his top! Watch this!”

So it’s another round of Eddie shouting (“The festival is my call!”) and the band looking sullen. Hey, it’s not all snowball fights and flirting when you’re in Rock Solid (hee hee hee). Rick says he wants to hit the big time, and this totally sets Eddie off. “It’s about the music!” Um, chill, dude. You’re lip-syncing the rock equivalent of spray cheese. I really don’t think you should be acting like your Grammy is in the mail. Anyway, shouldn’t being in a rock band be at least a little about having fun and the fame and the money? Rick says the whole group wants to play the festival, and Eddie starts edging into psychotic: “You’re all in on this?!” Whoa, dude, no frothing in the cafeteria.

Eddie’s ready to storm out, but Hilton stops him and makes a little speech about how every once in a long while a band comes along that’s worth saving. True, and let me know when you find one, okay? He tells Eddie it’s up to him, and the whole band stares at Eddie while he looks tortured, and I’m totally hearing the Jeopardy! theme music in my head. What will Eddie decide? I’m rooting for “no”, because that way we’re done here. At this point, the next thing I want to see is the words “Cast in order of appearance.”

Caption contributed by Mark

A scene from Soultaker II: Son of Z’Dar.

Alas, the journey is far from over. Eddie announces his decision: They’ll find someplace isolated and practice until Eddie thinks they’re ready to audition. So now they’re in some rented cabin in the woods that looks like it plays host to a lot of large family reunions. (Who’s paying for all this, anyway?) The group is deep in rehearsals, and Eddie is PMSing worse than ever. Once again, he demands that they get in “the pocket”. I wonder if he would especially like them to get in “the hot pocket”. Hot Pockets! Man, I could use a Hot Pocket right about now.

Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (1989)

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