Posted tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

Movie Review: Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!

January 17, 2015

Almost two years ago, I took one for the team and watched – and reviewed – the craptacular movie known as Eddie and the Cruisers, the 1983 film about a fictitious Jersey Shore band that was a complete rip-off of Mr. Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band. Though I was less than impressed with the movie and its dumb plot, it did capture the spirit of the Jersey Shore pretty well. And though I swore back then that I’d never watch it again, I did feel compelled to watch its sequel, 1989’s Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! – admittedly for no other reason than to have something to blog about.

To understand this film, I’ll first give a brief recap of its predecessor. Back in 1963, we’re introduced to singer/guitarist Eddie Wilson and his band, the Cruisers. They play the Jersey Shore bar scene, make an album, and get popular. Then they make a second album, but the record label didn’t like it, so the overly sensitive Eddie freaks out and steals the tapes, hides them, and kills himself. After an excessively long and drawn out plot, which hints that Eddie could have possibly faked his own death, his former bandmates find the lost tapes and sell them to the record label.

Fast-forward 20 years to when Eddie and the Cruisers II: Cruise Control takes place, and the band’s music is more popular than ever. That makes things weird for a particular construction worker in Canada who – spoiler alert – is really Eddie! Turns out he didn’t kill himself and just wanted to escape the spotlight by taking a blue-collar job in some alternate version of Montreal where no one speaks French and everyone has an American accent. To blend in, all Eddie has to do is grow out a pornstache and change his name to Joe West, and no one has a clue about his former identity.

Eddie looking just like a porn star...or gym teacher

Eddie looking just like a porn star…or gym teacher

However, his little secret is getting harder to keep. Not only did the record label release the album that they originally hated, but they also released the super secret tapes that Eddie recorded without his Cruisers. So, now that his music is all over the radio (and discussed on TV by special guest stars Martha Quinn of MTV fame and a rather spry 1989 version of Larry King), Eddie’s tough exterior is starting to crack. He even confides in his new love interest, Diane, about his real self. (more…)

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Who Would You Kick Out of New Jersey?

July 10, 2011

As much as I love New Jersey, even I’ll admit that there are a lot of assholes in this state.  The Armpit of America would definitely be a lot less stinky if certain people were to leave and never come back.  Any reader of this blog shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring out who I would like to kick out of New Jersey forever.  (HINT: His name rhymes with Miss Misty.)  But I want to know who you’d like to banish.

Below you’ll find some of the Garden State’s most famous and polarizing characters.    So let me know your thoughts by choosing who you would want to get rid of.  If your choice isn’t listed here, share your choice by leaving me a comment.

Book Review: Good Night New Jersey

January 25, 2011

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs, rabid racoons, or guidos bite!

When I first heard of the book Good Night New Jersey, I assumed it was a depressing tale of some downtrodden loser aching for his chance to get out of New Jersey and say good night to this state once and for all. After borrowing Good Night New Jersey from my four-month-old niece, I found out that the book is nothing of the sort.

Rather than being some dark story of someone trying to get out, the book celebrates all things New Jersey. It presents a whirlwind tour of the Armpit of America, from morning to night, culminating in the climactic, if rather predictable, “Good Night, New Jersey” ending.

But before that, we say good morning, hello, greetings, good afternoon, and good evening to a variety of attractions throughout the state. The beach, a blueberry farm, Lucy the Elephant, Adventure Aquarium, and Asbury Park (with requisite Springsteen reference) are all visited. The book also pays tribute to the Lakota Wolf Preserve – something I didn’t even know existed.

Good Night New Jersey is a quick, easy, and fun read. The pictures are very colorful and accurately portray the various New Jersey attractions. I think the book is a great vehicle for New Jersey’s youngest residents to take pride in their state. And it can be used to teach those mini haters from other states just how good New Jersey really is. (more…)

The Wild, The Inebriated, and The E Street Shuffle

October 5, 2010

 

One of my souveniers from the night...the other was a hangover.

 

I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of my birthday.  Well, aside from my epic 21st birthday weekend (My birthday was on a Friday that year, so we went to the bars at midnight on Thursday, went to the Breakfast Club Friday, and had a house party Saturday), that’s mostly true.

This year, things were a little different.  Now that I have a beautiful apartment in Belmar, along with plenty of bars within walking distance, why not go all out?  So I invited a bunch of people over to check out the place and then hang out at a bar.  Even though my birthday was once again on a Friday this year, I limited the celebrating to only one night.

After the guests started arriving, I tried to order a couple monster pizzas from 3 Brothers.  Alas, they never answered the phone.  After calling a dozen times, and after a few other people tried to no avail, I ordered pizza from some other place.  Though perfectly adequate, this regular pizza is nothing compared to giant 3 Brothers pizza.

After hanging out at the apartment for a while and getting sauced up, we headed out for the Boathouse.  As luck would have it, there was a live band there that night.  Even luckier, it was The E Street Shuffle, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band!  Though I never heard of them before that night, I was impressed.  They did a great job, playing both the hits and the lesser known songs. (more…)

Belmar: The First 48 Hours

September 6, 2010

Two days ago, I moved out of New Brunswick and into a beautiful oceanfront apartment in Belmar. Though New Brunswick will always have a special place in my heart, having lived there for five years, I’m happy to leave that city behind. One can only take so much dirt and crime and shady people. While the Armpit of America has more than its fair share of these things (hence the nickname), Belmar is a safe haven from such deviance. Or at least it’s relatively safe compared to elsewhere in the state.

Saturday afternoon, I rented a U-Haul and the woman and I brought all my stuff to the new place. After spending a couple hours unloading (somehow the two of us were able to carry two couches up a flight of stairs), we drove back to return the truck. We didn’t get back to Belmar until 10:30, at which point my roommate, his girlfriend, and three of our friends showed up. We ordered a giant pizza from 3 Brothers Pizza and spent the next couple hours setting up. Since we didn’t have cable, and still don’t as of right now, we tapped into my DVD collection. The Robot Chicken Star Wars episode and Yellow Submarine were the DVDS of choice. Though we talked about hitting up the bars, everyone was too tired and sweaty from moving to go out, so we just hung around until 2:00 before going to bed.

Sunday was spent shopping around at the saddest little Shop Rite (hard to explain but it’s just depressing) and K-Mart and finishing unpacking and everything else. When it was dinner time, we decided to try something different and went to Kaya’s Kitchen, a completely vegetarian restaurant run by hippies. (more…)

Top 5 Bruce Songs About New Jersey

March 9, 2010
I wish my Jew-fro looked half as good as that...

Are we sure he's not Jewish?

A few weeks ago, I created a list of what I consider the top 5 songs about the Armpit of America. Noticeably absent from that list were songs by Bruce Springsteen. Since the patron saint of New Jersey has written so many songs about the state, it would be impossible to pick just one. So I made this list of the top 5 Bruce Springsteen songs about New Jersey.

1. Born to Run – Perhaps the most famous of all Bruce’s songs, Born to Run takes us into a world of motorcycle-riding punks looking for love and a way to escape from this horrible state. Now you may be wondering why I would include a song that is so obviously about getting the fuck out of New Jersey (especially with lines like “Baby this town rips the bones from your back / It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap / We gotta get out while we’re young / ‘Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run“). But, as anyone who has ever lived in this state knows, wanting to get the hell out of here is part of the whole Jersey experience.

2. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – In this fun little song, Bruce sings about the trouble a guy has trying to get the girl of his desire to go out with him. Though he pleads and pleads to get her to come out (to meet up with characters like Jack the Rabbit, Weak Knees Willie, and Sloppy Sue) Rosalita refuses, since her parents don’t approve of her rock-n-rolling suitor. Our hero refuses to give up, though, and explains to the girl that a record company just gave him “a big advaaaancceeee!!!” At this point, the narrator forgets about convincing Rosie to hang out with local hooligans and, instead, he’s dead set on getting the fuck out of New Jersey. Especially since someone slashed his tires, rendering his car “a dud, stuck in the mud, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.” Though we don’t know if he was successful in ever getting Rosalita out of her room, it sure is fun watching him try. (more…)

Top 5 Songs About New Jersey

February 2, 2010

Is this Jon Bon Jovi or a Jersey girl? I sure can't tell...

When I first decided to create this list of the top songs about the Armpit of America, I thought it would be pretty easy. However, as I began assembling the list, it became more difficult. There are plenty of songs that mention New Jersey, but I didn’t think that a mere shout-out was enough to put a song on this list. Instead, I wanted to include songs that represent the true spirit of living in this state. I could have included a couple Bruce Springsteen songs, but that would have been too easy. (Though you can look forward to a future Top 5 list of Bruce’s best songs about New Jersey.)

Anyway, I did manage to create a list. I’m sure there are plenty of songs I’ve overlooked. I’m sure people will disagree with the ones I did list. Agree or not, these are the songs I came up with:

1. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

Poor Jon Bon Jovi. As big as he and his conceitedly named band were, are, or will be, he’ll never grow out of his status as New Jersey’s second favorite son. But don’t feel too bad for him, his song goes first on my list! Though the lyrics don’t mention New Jersey by name, it is clear that his story about Tommy and Gina takes place right here. With references to the docks at Bayonne and the ubiquitous Jersey diner, the story can’t take place anywhere else.

Our protagonists might not have much, and it apparently doesn’t make a difference if they make it or not. However, they have each other, you see, and that’s a lot for love. So they decide to give it a shot. Though things may be rough for Tommy and Gina, they show the true grit and toughness New Jerseyans are known for. On top of that, this song is pretty much the unofficial anthem of New Jersey. You can’t go to any bar or club in the Garden State without hearing it. At least that’s one thing Bon Jovi can wave in Bruce’s face. (more…)