Back in 1986 there was a quiet movie that came and went and I don’t think that it really made a blip on most people’s radar, but the critics liked it and it stuck with me. That movie was Crossroads with Ralph Macchio, Joe Seneca and Jami Gertz. It was, in my opinion, the ideal movie to show someone if they are beginning to get a taste for the blues and want to understand the culture that surrounds it. This was at a time when blues was kinda starting to seep its way into pop music. Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Jeff Healey and the Fabulous Thunderbirds were all on the Top 40 chart at or around this time, so the blues did have a familiar sound for people who thought that they were uninitiated.
This movie has the classic hero’s journey and the redemption story all seamlessly interwoven into what, in my opinion, is a timeless tale, including the music. Macchio does end up playing a Daniel LaRusso type of character, but he does a great job of making it his own. He also doesn’t do the annoying whining that so many “stranger in a strange land” characters do. It is made rather plain that he has a lot to learn if he wants to live the life of a bluesman and some of those lessons come hard, but he takes it all in stride.
In my opinion, this movie, if it were made today, would not do well. It does not hand everything to you and it makes no apologies for being a blues movie. It has this “if you don’t get it, try again next time or forget it” attitude that I found to be refreshing. But, that’s the blues for ya, too, right? If you can find this movie, do yourself a favor and watch it… oh, and make sure that you have your favorite alcohol with you, too… none of that beer crap either!