Posted tagged ‘reviews’

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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Movie Review: “Jersey Shore Shark Attack”

July 13, 2014

Two years ago, the Syfy network, purveyors of such cinematic classics as Sharktopus, Dinocroc vs. Supergator, and Mongolian Death Worm, premiered its newest masterpiece, Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Somehow, I didn’t see this gem until last night. In all honestly, it was as bad as you would probably expect, but I did the dirty work of watching this literal horror show so you don’t have to.

The movie follows the wacky hijinks of a group of overtanned, oversexed 20-somethings living together in a house in Seaside Heights. If it sounds like MTV’s Jersey Shore, that was intentional – the main characters are directly inspired by the cast of that show: you have The Complication (The Situation), Nooki (Snooki), J-MONI (JWoww), Donnie (Ronnie), etc. And just like the show, they’re obsessed with drinking, fighting, sexing and creating their own stupid abbreviations; rather than GTL, the guys proclaim how they are going to go out for some ASS – Alcohol, Sun, and Sex.

And while our gang is just trying to have fun, there are some significant wrenches thrown into what is supposed to be a carefree summer at the Jersey Shore. Some real estate developer wants to create a luxury country club and displace the guido population, they get into some brawls with preppy rich kids, and, worst of all, there is a school of rabid albino sharks prowling the water. And that’s pretty much the entire plot. Oh yeah – I forgot about another aspect of the movie – everyone’s looking forward to the “big” 4th of July concert by former *NSYNCer Joey Fatone, who plays himself in the film. Don’t know how they dug him up – I guess JC Chasez must have been busy that day.

Anyway, the whole movie is like a bad combination of Jersey Shore and Jaws. Some scenes are even almost exact replications of scenes from the latter. Like when local fishermen catch a shark, though not necessarily the shark, and everyone thinks it’s safe to be in the water. Or when the police chief desperately tries to convince the mayor to close the beach on the 4th of July. But as Jaws itself was based on real New Jersey shark attacks (that occured in my hometown), I guess that can be forgiven. There are also elements of dumb high school shows like 90210 or Saved By the Bell; you have the rivalry with the preppy kids, the local hangout of Captain Sallie’s bar (akin to the Peach Pit or the Max) and Captain Sallie himself who serves as a mentor to the gang (just like Nat or Mr. Belding).

And then there are the effects, which I refuse to call special. These supposed blood-thirsty sharks are rendered as crappy CGI fish with faces that look like the cave trolls from Lord of the Rings. They even make the fake shark from Jaws look real. Moreover, the characters constantly refer to the sharks having red eyes – but the effects people obviously missed this detail. Also consider how our gang tries to kill the sharks by throwing fireworks at them – fireworks that somehow remain lit under water in some weird SpongeBob SquarePants type of logic.

No wonder the effects sucked; half the budget went to fake tanner and earrings.

When all this is combined with a cast of bad actors with over the top New York accents, a few too many Italian stereotype jokes and a cameo by Jersey Shore’s Vinnie (playing a news reporter as unconvincingly as you might expect), this movie just sucks. And no, not in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way. It sucks in that you find yourself rooting for the ugly CGI sharks to just eat the entire cast already. Unfortunately you have to wait two hours to see that they all survive.

Like this review? Check out my other movie reviews for Eddie and the Cruisers and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, or my recap of the classic Jersey Shore episode of South Park!