The Blues Brothers
Today’s Saturday Replay is another all-time classic. Honestly, if you’ve never seen The Blues Brothers, do yourself a favor and just go ahead and see it.
I myself had never seen the movie until some time when I was in college, far too late really, the film really is something special. One of only two Saturday Night Live spin-off movies to actually succeed at the box office, (the other being Wayne’s World) the film succeeds because it throws so many incredible things at the viewer, that something’s going to appeal to everyone.
The film is a first rate comedy, it’s packed full of some of the greatest most over-the-top car chases ever filmed, and it features an utterly fantastic soundtrack. It’s madcap fun, it’s a story of redemption, and it’s a celebration of a fantastic musical genre.
John Belushi stars as recently parolee “Joliet” Jake Blues who along with his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) embark on a “mission from God” to raise enough money to save the orphanage they were raised in from being sold to cover a county tax assessment. They set out to do so the only way they know how, by getting their band back together. Along the way they run afoul of a mysterious (and incredibly violent) woman (Carrie Fisher), local law enforcement, a redneck country-western band, and Illinois Nazis. Of course, as was the case with yesterday’s movie, the plot really just serves as a frame on which the brothers can hang their comedy bits and musical interludes. Fortunately the comedy is clever and hits far more often than it misses, while the musical interludes are absolutely incredible.
I’ve probably seen this movie at least a dozen times at this point, and it seems like every time I watch it I find something else to enjoy. (I’m probably helped in this respect in that I’ve lived in Cook County, Illinois for the better part of a decade now and I’ve become increasingly familiar with some of the landmarks the Blues race pass through.) However, this movie isn’t about subtly, it’s a broad and bawdy comedy, it’s a bold and unabashed musical, and it also for years held the record for the most cars destroyed in a motion picture, (until the record was deliberately broken by the sequel).
The Blues Brothers is a fantastic example of Director John Landis at the height of his career, and is a true instance of what can be achieved when a bunch of very talented, creative people, put their mind into creating something special. From the incredible script by Landis and Aykroyd, to Belushi’s show-stealing performance, to the legendary session musicians assembled to form the Blues Brothers Band, to the all-star lineup of blues and R&B legends in cameo roles, the film is simply fantastic. It’s an absolute Must See.