Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! Movie Poster Image
Unnecessary sequel features bad hair, ridiculous story.
  • PG
  • 1989
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

While not exactly realistic in its representation of what it's like to be in a band, the amount of practice, time, and effort required is shown.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the ludicrous storyline, Eddie doesn't settle for "good enough" but centers everything on the music and making it as good as it can possibly be. 

Violence

One character punches out another. In a fit of rage, Eddie smashes his guitar in a practice cabin. 

Sex

A sex scene, no nudity. Kissing. 

Language

Occasional profanity: "son of a bitch," "goddamn," "s--t," "bulls--t," "crap." 

Consumerism

Miller Genuine Draft products and signage throughout. Pepsi cups plainly visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Beer drinking. Reference to the overdose of one of the characters in the original movie. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! is a 1989 movie in which the rock icon/hero of the original Eddie and the Cruisers reemerges after faking his own death 25 years before. He is now a Montreal construction worker but ready to "rise from the dead" and make a comeback since his music continues to be popular and relevant. There is one sex scene, a montage with no nudity. Some mild profanity throughout, including "son of a bitch," "goddamn," "s--t," "bulls--t," and "crap." Expect beer drinking and cigarette smoking. Perhaps the only positive thing to say about this movie is that it does attempt to convey the amount of time, effort, and practice that goes into writing and performing songs. Aside from that, this movie firmly belongs in the "unnecessary sequel that is nowhere near as good as the original" file. 

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What's the story?

Joe West (Michael Pare) is a Montreal construction worker with a secret past. That past continues to haunt him, and it won't leave him alone. On bar televisions and construction site radios, Joe must continually be reminded that he used to be a rock star named Eddie Wilson, the leader of Eddie and the Cruisers, until he faked his own death 25 years ago after his record label hated the music he was trying to make at the time, music that is now seen as groundbreaking. The continued popularity of his old band, coupled with a fateful jam session in a local watering hole, compel Joe/Eddie to lead a band again. As they start to play shows, Eddie's past finally catches up to him, and he must confront his past, "rise from the dead," and prove to the world and himself that he can still make great music. 

Is it any good?

This is a ludicrous and unnecessary sequel. When there are only two characters from the original movie who agree to be in the sequel, you know you're in trouble. This movie takes a questionable premise at best and makes it even more so; for instance, the gung-ho guitarist of Eddie's new band -- a band of scrappy, mostly '80s glam metal rockers who are rough around the edges and seem to be there to ensure that all the bad haircuts of the era are present and accounted for -- books a tour without telling anyone else in the band. The band -- including construction worker Eddie and his new girlfriend -- somehow manage to go and immediately play packed houses on every stop. Furthermore, whereas Eddie in the original movie came off as a kind of tortured artist with Olympian ambitions of making timeless music, the Eddie in this movie comes off as a bully and a tyrant in his dealings and behavior with his new band -- a band that doesn't have a name, by the way, even as they're booking shows left and right.

The music itself is so embarrassingly dated that one can't help but wish that Eddie had not "risen from the dead." The music pads the movie with montage after montage after montage. Suspension of disbelief is put into serious question in nearly every scene. For example, the scene where Eddie reunites with Sal, the former bassist of the Cruisers, by approaching him out of the blue on the beach 25 years after faking his own death, is an incredible monument to preposterous dialogue and bad acting and characterizes the ineptitude that defines this movie as a whole. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sequels. Why do they get made? Why is it that most sequels are never as good as the original movie? 

  • Do you think this movie was an accurate reflection of what it's like to be in a band? Why, or why not? 

  • What are some of the ways in which movies or TV shows appear dated, a product of the era in which they were released? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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