- Movie Rating -

Crossover Dreams (1985)

| August 16, 1985

I love it when a talented performer can take a shopworn, tired old genre and, just through the power of their own engaging personality can make it seem new again.  That’s what actor/musician Ruben Blades is able to do in Crossover Dreams which has a story that is as old as the hills – a struggling musician wants to make it big, does it, and then finds himself falling apart under the pressure.

That’s the ancient part.  What is new is the sound; this is a movie filled with the rhythms of a lot of Latino music, with a lot of drums and trumpets and music that is filled with great energy.  That rhythm alone pulls the movie out the doldrums and makes it feel like it comes from a very specific place and gives it a very specific identity.  We’re dealing with a story that is not about generic white people.

Blades plays Rudy Veloz, a musician who has passion in his soul and night after night plays one nightclub after another with a band made up of friends from the neighborhood.  He doesn’t simply want to limit his music to the Latino market.  He has bigger dreams, of moving his music up to the national level, to the bigger world of television and concerts.

Rudy almost makes it, after failing to make it with a Broadway producer, he then peaks the interest of a record producer who briefly – all too briefly – gives him the spotlight before he is suddenly back in the world of obscurity.  The scenes after this are essentially Rudy trying to pick up his pride and move forward – tail between his legs going back to the neighborhood and struggling all over again.

You can see the pain in Rudy’s eyes after his brief moment of success but I wish the movie had explored that a bit more.  There is something stunted about the scenes after he comes back home, maybe Blades didn’t want to be too hard on his character.  I don’t know, the movie comes up short in those scenes, there needed to be an extra beat.

That aside, Crossover Dreams is a very good movie with a lot of good music, good energy and a very good performance by Blades.  This is the kind of movie that gets lost among the blockbusters but is often cherished by those who find it.  It’s a good movie, and I liked it.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Drama