Cult Roles

Tom Cody – Streets of Fire

streetsoffire252In an unnamed city, Ellen Aim (Lane), lead singer of Ellen Aim and The Attackers, has returned home to give a concert. The Bombers, a biker gang, led by Raven Shaddock (Dafoe), enter the auditorium and kidnap her.

Witnessing all of this is Reva Cody (Van Valkenburgh), who wires her brother Tom Cody (Paré), an ex-soldier and Ellen’s ex-boyfriend, to rescue her. Tom returns and, after taking Reva home, checks out the local tavern, the Blackhawk, where Clyde (Paxton) tends bar. He is annoyed by a tomboyish ex-soldier named McCoy (Madigan), a mechanic who „could drive anything” and who is good with her fists, as evidenced when she knocks out Clyde. They leave the bar and McCoy asks Tom for a place to stay for the night. That night, Tom and Reva plan to rescue Ellen; Reva is to contact Billy Fish (Moranis), Ellen’s manager and current boyfriend, to meet at the diner in the morning.

While Reva and McCoy go to the diner to wait for Billy, Tom acquires a cache of weapons, including a pump action shotgun, a revolver, and a lever action rifle. Tom and Billy meet at the diner and Tom agrees to the rescue for $10,000, and that Billy goes with Tom back into „the Battery” to get Ellen. Tom hires McCoy to drive.

In the Battery, they visit Torchie’s, where Billy used to book bands. They wait until nightfall under an overpass, watching bikers come and go. Raven has Ellen tied up in an upstairs bedroom. As Tom, Billy, and McCoy approach, Tom directs Billy to get the car and be out front in fifteen minutes.

McCoy enters and is stopped by one of the Bombers. McCoy, pretending to like him, follows him to his special „party room,” close to where Raven is playing poker. McCoy knocks out the biker. Tom finds a window in the building across from the bar directly across from Ellen’s window and, for a distraction, starts shooting the gas tanks on the motorcycles; he then reaches Ellen’s room, cuts her free and, with McCoy’s help, escapes just as Billy arrives at the front door.

As the others jump into the convertible, Tom sends them off to meet at the Grant Street Overpass, then blows up the gas pumps outside the bar. Raven appears out of the flames and chaos to confront Tom. After learning who he is, Raven warns he will be back for Ellen and for him, too. Tom escapes on the one intact motorcycle. Billy is persuading Ellen the only reason her ex-boyfriend rescued her was for money. Tom returns as McCoy explains to Billy that Tom used to be Ellen’s boyfriend.

Ditching the street rod in a parking garage, Ellen follows Tom up the stairs while Billy and McCoy take the elevator. Ellen and Tom fight as Billy and McCoy go back and forth once again about Tom and Ellen’s love affair. When they all meet up on the street, they are in the Battery. They return Ellen safely home where she initially rejects her home town as well as Tom. Later, he goes to the hotel where Ellen and Billy are staying to collect his reward. He only takes McCoy’s cut and throws the rest in Billy’s face. He then tells Ellen that there was a time he would’ve done anything for her but no more. As Tom storms out, Ellen follows and the two embrace in the rain.

Meanwhile, Raven informs Officer Ed Price (Lawson), the head of the police department, that he wants Tom to meet him alone. If he agrees he will leave the Richmond alone. Price tells Tom to get out of town. Tom, Ellen, and McCoy leave on a train. He knocks out Ellen and returns to town for a climactic battle with Raven. Tom defeats Raven and the defeated gang carries their leader away. Later that night, Tom says a final goodbye to Ellen and rides off with McCoy.

Eddie Wilson – Eddie & The Cruisers 1&2

bscap0056

The film is about two different stories, one told in real time, and one told in flashbacks: the present day story concerns a television reporter named Maggie Foley (Ellen Barkin) investigating the mysterious death of musician Eddie Wilson (Michael Paré) and the search for his band’s second album, which disappeared from the vaults of Satin Records the day after Eddie’s alleged death.

The story told in flashbacks portrays a 1960s rock ‚n’ roll band called Eddie and the Cruisers. The band makes a name for itself while playing regularly at a Somers Point, New Jersey club called Tony Mart’s. It is there that they meet Frank Ridgeway (Tom Berenger), whom Eddie hires to be the band’s keyboard player and lyricist, and whom he nicknames „Wordman”. Band manager Doc Robbins (Joe Pantoliano) and bassist Sal Amato (Matthew Laurance) are skeptical of hiring Frank, who is not a trained musician or experienced songwriter, but Eddie believes that Frank is crucial to the band’s development. Rounding out the Cruisers is saxophonist Wendell Newton (Michael „Tunes” Antunes), background singer and Eddie’s girlfriend Joann Carlino (Helen Schneider), and drummer Kenny Hopkins (David Wilson).

With Ridgeway’s help, the band stops playing cover songs and releases an album of original material titled Tender Years that instantly becomes a hit, especially with the songs „On the Dark Side”, „Wild Summer Nights”, and the title track. The band members spend a year recording their next album A Season in Hell, during which Eddie’s artistic and creative talents often are buried beneath his arrogant and rebellious traits, leading to arguments between him and Robbins. At one point, Amato tells Eddie he doesn’t understand what he’s looking for, to which Eddie responds that he wants to be great. Sal replies „We ain’t great. We’re just some guys from Jersey.” Eddie makes it clear that if the band cannot be great, then there is no reason to ever play music again.

The band’s second album is a culmination of all that Eddie had ever hoped to do with music, different from anything that anyone else had ever done to that point, and he was satisfied with it. However, it is controversial and considered dark and strange by the record company, Satin Records, and is rejected, not to be released. In the early morning hours after Satin refuses to release the new albubscap0055m, Eddie’s car crashes through the railing going over the Stainton Memorial Causeway. Eddie is declared dead, but his body is never found.

Almost 20 years later, Satin re-releases the band’s first album, which becomes a surprise hit, climbing higher on the charts than it ever did originally. The producers of a television show decide to do a documentary on the band, with an attempt to bring light to the band’s second album, which disappeared from the vaults of Satin Records the day after Eddie’s alleged death. Though the namesake of the documentary is the band’s lead singer, it revolves around the other members of the Cruisers, especially Ridgeway and their memories of the band. All of the original Cruisers have moved on with their lives except Wendell Newton, who had died of an overdose in August 1963 at age 37 (His body had been found by Hopkins in a local motel). Only Sal Amato remained in the music business, leading a new lineup of Cruisers. Ridgeway is now working as a high school teacher in Vineland, Doc is a local radio disc jockey in Asbury Park, Joann is a stage choreographer in Wildwood, and Hopkins works in an Atlantic City casino.

Much of the story takes place in flashback, prompted by Foley’s interviews with the band members. Tensions building within the Cruisers during the flashback sequences coincide with Frank’s willingness to be more open with Maggie. Frank recalls, during the interview, that he suggested the band play at Benton College where Frank was a student, but Eddie felt uncomfortable there, stating that they would not fit in because it was not „their kind of place”. Although Eddie reluctantly agrees, he gets back at Frank by referring to him as „Toby Tyler” to the audience when naming off his band members in an attempt to make Frank look bad. When Frank tries to quit, Eddie realizes his error and reconciles with him, telling Frank that they need each other.

The story’s climax involves Joann, completing the one piece of the flashback puzzle that Frank could not: what happened the night that Satin refused to release the band’s second album. After storming from the studio, Eddie brought her to the Palace of Depression, a makeshift castle made of garbage and junk that he visited often as a child. She reveals it was in fact she who took the master tapes for the album from Satin Records, hiding them in the Palace of Depression, where she felt they belonged.

Frank and Joann go back to the Palace of Depression to retrieve the master tapes. After returning to Joann’s house, she receives a phone call she believes to be from Eddie, who has been missing for almost 20 years, and with whom she remains in love. Frank does not believe it to be Eddie who called her, and hides outside and watches as a blue 57 Chevy, identical to Eddie’s, arrives at the house, and a voice that sounds like Eddie’s calls to her. Before Joann can reach the car, Frank pulls the driver from behind the wheel, who turns out to be Doc, who was using the trickery to obtain possession of the master tapes. They nonetheless give him the tapes, which he promises to release under a deal that will benefit all of them.

The film closes with Maggie’s story about the band, being viewed on televisions in a store window and watched by a crowd outside. The credits roll as a song from A Season in Hell is played for the first time, and as the lights from the television dim, the crowd walks away, leaving only one person standing at the window. The reflection appears in the store window, revealing it to be a much-older and long-lost Eddie Wilson. He smiles serenely, proud to know that his work, misunderstood all those years ago, is finally being heard, and he disappears into the night.

bscap0118In 2 movie Satin Records, who twenty years prior had rejected Eddie and the Cruisers last album A Season in Hell, launches an „Eddie Lives!” campaign to make more money from his image in a publicity stunt, despite them not believing he is alive. The record label re-releases the band’s first album, which becomes an even bigger hit than it had on its first release. As seen in the first film, the „lost recordings” from Season in Hell are released and become yet another hit album. In fact, Eddie Wilson is living, and had simply slipped away following the car crash in which he was believed killed. By that stage in his life, he simply wanted to leave music behind him. The newly generated constant spotlight surrounding his supposed death angers the reclusive rocker, by now living in Canada as a construction worker under the name Joe West.

But, when he gets involved in a struggling street band, it’s not long before his passion for music – not to mention his desperate anger – resurfaces, and a decision must be made to determine Eddie’s fate once and for all. After unrelenting attempts by local guitarist Rick Diesel, Eddie finally begins to play again. The two go about Montreal hand-picking musicians for a new band, Rock Solid. Despite Eddie fighting the progress of the band every step of the way, Rock Solid begins to tour and wows audiences everywhere. Their popularity closely mirrors Eddie’s former success with Eddie and the Cruisers, and he begins to see the similarities.

During the tour Eddie, still only known to his band as Joe, starts to have more frequent flashbacks to his former life. His anger, and his hubris, comes to a head when lead guitarist Rick Diesel calls a woman whom they had met at gig. She wants the band to audition for the Montreal Music Festival that spring. Eddie’s anger, for a second time, is soothed by sax player Hilton Overstreet’s cool demeanor, and Rick’s fast talking. Eddie caves into the band’s desire to do the largely public venue that Eddie fears gravely. Eddie, as usual, agrees under the condition that they lock themselves away in a cabin, where there are „no distractions” so that they can get back to the music. The band is beginning to peter out, and Eddie’s wrath is at its peak. After breaking his guitar into pieces and storming off, Eddie is confronted again by Hilton, except this time Eddie is called out by his real name. In what is probably one of the movie’s defining moments, Hilton says, „I knew who you were from the moment I heard you play. The way a man plays – he’s born with it; like fingerprints,” suggesting that Eddie has no choice but to be the musician, Eddie Wilson, and not Joe West the construction worker.

All the while, Satin Records has been upping the ante for anyone who can provide proof that Eddie lives. An expert, a few scenes before, had proved that the legendary Bo Diddley had played on the mystery tapes before the death of Cruisers sax player Wendell Newton, as well as Eddie’s unfortunate meeting with the river. However, having been in seclusion for over a month, Rick does not know about the mounting tension surrounding the mystery of Eddie’s whereabouts, and decides to send a tape to Satin Records along with a note that contains the line, „I have a band and my singer sure sounds a lot like Eddie Wilson.”

After successfully auditioning for the Music Festival, Eddie suddenly has doubts. His life, his face, is about to be made very public. In desperation, he turns to his longtime friend and confidant Sal Amato. On a beach in Jersey, Sal and Eddie quickly, and angrily, hash out twenty years of grief. Sal, being the type of man who he is, just has to know where these „so-called-mystery tapes were recorded”. Eddie takes Sal back to the old abandoned church where in 1963, he and former sax player Wendell Newton had a jam session with a large group of black musicians. Bo Diddley being the most well known name among them. Eddie confesses that the whole affair made him feel inadequate due to what appeared to be a luke warm reaction from the people whom Eddie had aspired to be like. Sal, in one of his deeper moments, reveals a simple truth to Eddie: in short, it’s not about setting the world on fire, it’s about playing the music. Armed with that sentiment in mind, Eddie returns to Montreal, primed, shaved and ready to go.

However, as fate would have it, Rick’s earlier moment of vanity has paid off, and the two top dogs of Satin Records appears just before Rock Solid is about to take the stage. Being confronted by the one of the two men who once told Eddie his music was not fit to be released, sends Eddie into a momentary lapse of judgement where he goes looking for another bridge to drive off of. His girlfriend, Diane, confronts him and convinces him that even though the world will know who Joe West really is tomorrow, Eddie still has today all to himself. Eddie decides to take the stage once again, and after getting pumped up by the first song, „Running Through the Fire”, Eddie introduces his band once more, except this time, Eddie willingly proclaims, „and me. I’m Eddie Wilson.”

Felix Stone – Moon 44

bscap0012By the year 2038 all of Earth’s natural resources have been depleted. Multinational corporations have taken control of the galaxy and rival companies battle each other for access to mining planets. A major battle is for Moon 44, a fuel mining operation in the Outer Zone. It is the only installation still controlled by the Galactic Mining corporation. Moons 46, 47 and 51 have recently been overtaken by the Pyrite Defense Company’s battle robots. Galactic Mining had its own defence system, helicopters capable of operating in the violent atmospheres of the moons, but it was cancelled as too many pilots died while in training. The company sends new navigators to Moon 44 to assist the pilots. However, there is still a shortage of pilots, so the company is forced to use prisoners. Galactic Mining regards its fleet of mining shuttles as even more important, so if the base is attacked, the shuttles are ordered to leave the crews behind.

Galactic Mining hires Felix Stone (Michael Paré), an undercover agent, to investigate the disappearance of two shuttles that went missing under mysterious circumstances. Stone travels to Moon 44 and meets chief navigator Tyler (Dean Devlin) who suspects the shuttles were stolen by somebody after they modified the flight computers. The mining operation’s defence director, Major Lee (Malcolm McDowell) and his assistant, Master Sergeant Sykes (Leon Rippy) are the prime suspects. Stone later catches Sykes reprogramming a mining shuttle shortly before its departure. Sykes attacks Stone with an axe but is quickly gunned down by Lee, who then refuses to hand over the modified computer to Stone, citing „company orders”.

Having concluded his investigation, Stone prepares to leave, but the mining operation is attacked by a Pyrite „Medusa”-class battle cruiser. Major Lee sabotaged the alarm systems and then orders all of the mining shuttles to return to Earth. Stone manages to singlehandedly shoot down the entire first wave of enemy attack drones, while prisoner O’Neal (Brian Thompson) stays behind to destroy the remaining drones as Lee’s actions at the base are discovered.

Lee tries to sabotage the last remaining mining shuttle, but he is trapped in an elevator by Stone and blown up by his own bomb. The others return safely to Earth, where Stone informs the Galactic Mining Chairman (Roscoe Lee Browne) that Lee was bribed by Pyrite to redirect the mining shuttles to a planet in the Outer Zone.

Joey LaFiamma – Houston Knights

SYxLf77U7Q93hyBHouston Knights is an American crime drama set in Houston, Texas. The show ran on CBS from 1987 to 1988 and had 31 episodes. The core of the show was the partnership between two very different cops from two different cultures. Chicago cop Joey LaFiamma, played by Michael Paré, is transferred to Houston after he kills a mobster from a powerful Mafia family and a contract is put out on him. Once there, he is partnered with Levon Lundy, played by Michael Beck, the grandson of a Texas Ranger.

Although as different as night and day, and after a rocky beginning (the two engage in a fist-fight) they form a successful partnership and become friends. This is aided to a certain extent by an event where a hitman from Chicago who holds the contract to shoot La Fiamma arrives in Houston and is ultimately killed by Lundy.

During the series, it is revealed that both La Fiamma and Lundy have their own personal demons; La Fiamma’s Chicago police partner had been killed when he went ahead while La Fiamma had waited for backup to arrive. Lundy’s wife had been killed by an explosion that was intended to kill him.

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