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MICHAEL PARE WITH TOM BERENGER IN 'EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS'

Year: 1982 Grade: C+

Director Martin Davidson wanted EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS to be like Orson Welles' CITIZEN KANE in that half the film takes place in the present, where an interviewer (Ellen Barkin) is asking questions and getting answers from characters we also experience in random flashbacks centering on, in this case, a supposedly long-dead rocker the likes of Jim Morrison of The Doors; providing the haunting question of what if Morrison... in this case Eddie Wilson... were still alive? And also, what would be the status of his former friends and band-mates decades later? These include buried lead Tom Berenger, a comparably conservative classics-loving pianist and literature-based lyricist who had befriended Michael Pare's muscular, New Jersey rocker on the beach, straight out of how Doors keyboardist Ray Manzerek met poet and future counter-culture crooner Morrison in Venice,  California...

And there's a lot of potential in the overall backstory since Pare looks beyond game for his own rock n roll fable (which he'd get in STREETS OF FIRE)... And although his songs sound more 1980's semi-throwback Bruce Springsteen than anything brand new from 1962, his rough-and-tumble looks fit perfectly with actual singer John Caffterty's urgent blue collar voice, making the songs really seem like Eddie's own: It's just an era problem that makes it almost impossible to believe in the music and the legacy it garnered... And as a two-tier story there's simply not enough time spent on the mystery aspect of the present (if Eddie's not only alive but desperately trying to locate his missing album) for that to provide enough tension and suspense... while the nightclub-blaring small-time-band's backstory consists of scenes so quickly played-out, they never feel beyond what they are... someone's plot-important recollection... And god knows that Pare, Berenger and beautiful ingenue/background-singer Helen Schneider deserved far more than being a mere collection of memories.

Tom Berenger in EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS with Michael Pare

Tom Berenger in EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS


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