Oct 9, 2009

[Movies] The Blues Brothers (1980)

The Blues BrothersI got into Saturday Night Live at an early age because of my father. Sure, the jokes were probably inappropriate for my age at the time, but then I was also watching Monty Python and Benny Hill at the time, so go figure. And thus I've grown up with a lot of those classic sketches forever burned into my memory like The Coneheads, The Church Lady and Hans and Franz.

Yeah, I had a pretty interesting childhood.

Of course when Saturday Night Live started translating some of its sketches into feature-length movies, I doubt that people were all that excited about it. Even fans of the show would have a hard time accepting the possibility that these short sketches could be somehow expanded to cover at least 90 minutes worth of screen time, but surprisingly it did happen time and time again. Sure, they may not be the greatest movies by conventional standards, but that doesn't make them any less funny.

The Blues Brothers movie is all about the very same characters that John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd created as a gag for musical numbers for Saturday Night Live. In the movie, Jake "Joliet" Blues (Belushi) has just been released from prison after serving time for armed robbery. He's picked up by his brother Elwood Blues (Aykroyd) and together the two visit their old orphanage as promised to "The Penguin" Sister Mary Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman). They learn that the orphanage will be closed unless they come up with the money to pay their property taxes and thus the pair go on to try and find a way to make the money.

The rest of the movie follows their adventures to bring the band back together and to avoid several adversaries including the Illinois State Police, a mystery woman armed with a bazooka (Carrie Fisher), a Nazi organization, a country band known as the Good Old Boys and many others. This inevitably leads to massive car chase scenes, even larger car crash scenes and lots of sequences involving hordes of law enforcement officials chasing the Blues Brothers.

Sure, the movie had a pretty weak plot, but the real point of the film was to embrace the humours aspect of things and to feature as many musical numbers as possible. The movie managed to squeeze in some pretty amazing musical cameos like Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, James Brown and even had some other notable appearances by the likes of Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg and even Twiggy!

The movie is not meant to be taken all that seriously and it's really just the kind of lighter entertainment that one might want to get into after a long day of heavy number-crunching at the office or something. Plus if you're a fan of good music (blues or otherwise), then this is really a great movie for you.

No, they don't make musical comedies like this anymore. John Belushi, you are certainly missed.

The Blues Brothers gets 4 crashed squad cars out of a possible 5.


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