Yesterday evening I was browsing through the Netflix assortment for a good movie and stumbled upon The Blues Brothers. It was a movie I wanted to show my kids for a long, long time. I’m not sure for how long this movie will be available, but I suggest you watch it while it’s there!
The Blues Brothers
This musical comedy is from 1980, nearly forty years old, and a classic. It brought back good memories of my teenage time. I was amazed at how I still could sing every song along 🙂
The cast in this movie is outstanding. Next to John Belushi as Jake ‘Joliet’ Blues and Dan Ayckroyd as Elwood Blues, there’s a whole list of music greats such as singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, musicians Steve “the Colonel” Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Murphy “Murph” Dunne, Willie “Too Big” Hall, Tom “Bones” Malone, “Blue Lou” Marini, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, and “Mr. Fabulous” Alan Rubin. There are guest roles of actors Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, John Candy, and model Twiggy.
When Jake Blues comes out of a three-year stint in prison, he finds out that the ‘Penguin,’ i.e. the nun who runs the orphanage where Jake and Elwood grew up, owes $5000 in taxes. When they visit the church (where James Brown delivering the gospel), Jake is enlightened, and they decide to ‘put the band back together’ to raise the money to save the orphanage. Unfortunately, in the past three years, the band has been dissolved and Jake and Elwood have to convince their ex-band members to leave their current jobs to join the band again.
What I liked about The Blues Brothers
This movie is extremely funny and just rocks! It’s not a true musical where dialogue is sung. This is rather a show of great songs with some (dubious) acting around it. Most of the songs texts have some link to what is happening, but mostly it’s about the music itself. The plot is fun, slapstick like, the dialogue full of funny one-liners (see image above), and the car chases unbelievable (making it one of the most expensive comedies according to Wikipedia).
Another thing I liked about this movie is its unpretentiousness. Even though the movie was made in 1980, there is no hint of any form of discrimination (leaving out the far right extremists in this remark, of course 😀 ). Yes, there is a scene where Aretha Franklin is left by her ‘man’ (so he can join the band) after her pleading him not to go, but she is the owner of the shop; a very independent woman. There are no remarks about looks or disabilities, and people of all shapes and races sing and dance together without putting emphasis on the fact. What I’m trying to say it that I like that people are in it for their abilities, not for what they look like.
What I didn’t like about The Blues Brothers
Don’t expect to see great acting. They must have been time-deprived when filming John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd tiptoeing to the music as any five-year-old would be able to do it better 😀 . It’s a fact that John Belushi’s drug problem made filming take longer and more expensive, but this didn’t make his acting better. Their singing is also not of the best quality and is better left to the professionals 😀
Even though John Landis edited Dan Aykroyd’s script, the dialogue is still quite stinted most of the time.
The Blues Brothers is a fun movie with great music that needs to be watched at least once in your lifetime.
The Blues Brothers is available on Amazon.