2 firemen in a burning building get a treasure map. Stolen gold church items are hidden in a closed down factory in St. Louis. Once there, they're trapped in by a black gang considering it their territory. Lots of shooting.
Eugene is an extraordinary talent in classic guitar, but he dreams of being a famous Blues guitarist. So he investigates to find a storied lost song. He asks the legendary Blues musician Willie Brown to help him, but Willie demands to free him from the old-people's prison first and to really learn the blues on the way to its origin: Mississippi Delta. Eugene doesn't know yet about Willie's deal with the devil, that he now wants to revoke.Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Though the blues guitar sounds aren't truly coming from Ralph Macchio's fingers, he plays the music of Steve Vai and Ry Cooder note for note. His fingering, slides and bends are precise until the "main" solo, which incorporates Niccolò Paganini's "5th Caprice", where he does not finger the correct locations on the guitar. He mostly uses the same pattern (scale on the top frets, then another one in the bottom frets). The scales shift and change sound, but his patterns remain the same. See more »
When Eugene duels with Steve Vai, the audience applauds his guitar skills in the background, without making a sound. See more »
I've seen CROSSROADS so many times I've lost count. And, it won't be the last time I'll watch it. The music alone would be reason enough. But, this film is far deeper. And no amount of exposition about it could ever *SPOIL* it for the virgin-viewer who has never seen it.
Eugene Martone, considered a prodigy on the classical guitar, is a young Long Island man attending the prestigious Julliard Music School. Problem? He prefers the blues over classical. And he's on a quest. He uncovers evidence that blues guitar legend, Robert Johnson, composed 30 songs. Since only 29 were ever recorded, he becomes obsessed at finding the 'lost' song number 30 (and being the first person to record it). And, after some sleuthing, he finds an old photograph and a news clipping -- pointing him toward the only living person who would know that song and who, fortunately, lives nearby. His name is Willie Brown (aka Blind Dog Fulton, aka Smokehouse Brown), a friend of Robert Johnson who traveled and performed with him (harmonica/vocals). Brown lives in a penal facility for old people (a criminal's nursing home). At first, Brown denies his true identity. But confronted with a photo of himself next to Robert Johnson, Brown finally admits the truth. And, he agrees to teach Martone the lost song -- but ONLY if Martone breaks him out of the facility and takes him back to Mississippi.
The catch? Martone knows that lore surrounding Robert Johnson says he sold his soul to the Devil. What he doesn't know is that it's fact, not lore ... and that Willie Brown did the same thing. And Martone doesn't know that Brown's reason for going back to Mississippi is to return to the 'crossroads' where he and Johnson sold their souls in hopes of getting the Devil to release him from his contract. This culminates in an eerie finale where Martone gambles his soul in a blues duel with the Devil's own guitarist, Jack Butler ... to save Brown from eternal damnation.
Director Walter Hill is masterful, combining music, drama, alternate history, fantasy, and horror into a single plot. Kudos must also be given to screenwriter John Fusco for giving Hill a masterful script to work from. But contrary to most people, my favorite scene isn't the blues duel. It's the scene where Martone wakes up to find out a girl he met in his travels with Brown (and had a romantic interest in) has unexpectedly left them to go her own way. And immediately after that, Brown admits he lied... that there never was a song number 30. At that moment, Martone, who'd been merely a good blues 'player' up to that point picks up his guitar and begins to play a sad blues song ... one certainly coming from his soul, not from his memory of what others have played. It is that momentary 'graduation' scene (the transition between blues 'player' and blues 'man') that sets the stage for the duel ... with film watchers knowing Martone is as ready for it as he can be.
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