“I say we give the Blues Brothers one more chance.”
While gathering their old band members together for a fundraising concert, ex-con Jake Blues (John Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) must dodge the police, an angry country-and-western band, and Jake’s jilted fiancee (Carrie Fisher).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Dan Aykroyd Films
- John Landis Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this popular “Saturday Night Live” spinoff suffers from a “slim” storyline, one-dimensional lead characters (“their dress is more interesting than their personalities”), and a lack of “good verbal wit”. Indeed, as a comedy, it falls flat nine out of ten times: even supposedly hilarious sequences — such as the Blues Brothers’ former Catholic schoolteacher (Kathleen Freeman) giving the grown siblings grief for their foul language:
— come across as cheap and unoriginal. As a musical, however, the movie benefits enormously from the talents of renowned blues artists James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and others; their appearances mark the indisputable highlights of the film.
Cameos by Carrie Fisher, John Candy, and others are wasted in this inexplicable cult favorite.
Note: The Blues Brothers was “renowned” as the most vehicularly destructive film made to date — but a little of this goes a long way.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- James Brown leading his active congregation in a rip-roaring hymn
- Belushi[‘s double] doing a series of excited flips down the aisle of Brown’s church
- Aretha Franklin’s sassy waitress singing a song while dissing her husband
- The Blues Brothers performing at a country-and-western club behind a protective fence
No, but it’s worth a one-time look simply for its status as a cult favorite.
One thought on “Blues Brothers, The (1980)”
Not a must.
“Inexplicable cult favorite” is right! Yet, this extended SNL skit is the kind of one-note dunderheadedness that was destined to be a crowd pleaser! Here is a prime example of the kind of movie you can pretty much see the finish of in the first 10-15 minutes (in which the thin plot is revealed; tho it’s not really a plot – it’s a gameboard goal).
There’s the argument that this is more of a ‘guy movie’ – the finish bears that out; guys do love to see things smashing together – but, generally speaking, if you have to be a guy to get it…this is your encouragement to meet other guys.
Though there are several music legends on board here, the o-n-l-y time one of them makes this film come alive – as a film – is when Aretha sings ‘Think’. It’s basically the only electric 5 minutes the movie has going for it. (Fast-forward about an hour in.)
Much of the film is so self-important, and the pacing is often so off, that one is fighting tedium.
Note two of the rich ‘gay’ moments, though: when Belushi and Aykroyd sing lead vocals for ‘Stand By Your Man’; and, late in the film, when a Nazi reveals to his Nazi superior, “I’ve always loved you.” (~a rare moment of real wit)