Oct 23, 2009

[Movies] Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)

Blues Brothers 2000My budding love of the Blues as a genre of music combined with my appreciation for the various incarnations of Saturday Night Live over the years inevitably lead to me enjoying the Blue Brothers. From their zany sketches to their first major motion picture, I totally loved the comedic duo no matter how absurd the situations they found themselves in happened to be.

Now such movies from the world of Saturday Night tend to remain as one-shots with little potential for advancement. Sure, they're funny but they tend to be just an "okay" level of funny and rarely generate the kind of income needed to warrant a sequel of any kind. So it's rare when such movies manage to reach the point of a sequel such as the Wayne's World movies.

Then there's this movie, which continued the grand tradition set by its predecessor - the need to enjoy good music while still laughing at itself and the absurdity of it all.

Blues Brothers 2000 is the sequel to the original 1980 movie that no one thought ever could be made. The main reason was the tragic death of John Belushi, who originally played Jake and helped create the duo. This had happened only in 1982 and thus the notion of returning to this franchise seemed unrealistic to say the least.

And yet it still happened.

It's now 18 years after the events in the original movie and lone Blues Brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) is released from prison only to find his brother Jake (Belushi) and his mentor Curtis (Cab Calloway) dead. He eventually discovers that Curtis had an illegitimate son, Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain (Joe Morton), who had no idea about his birth father. Elwood then takes it upon himself to find the last vestiges of "family" that he has left in the world in the form of Cab, and along the way ends up reuniting the band and finding new additions in the form of a bartender named Mighty Mack McTeer (John Goodman) and an orphan named Buster (J. Evan Bonifant), who behaves eerily similar to Elwood.

This sequel doesn't pretend that the original movie doesn't happen. In fact, it blatantly tries to practically copy all the major elements of the first film in a campy celebration of what made that movie so memorable (but not necessarily great). This means massive car chases (and the eventual car wrecks and pile-ups), surprise musical cameos by great musicians and some very low brow humor. Ah yes, this was certainly the good stuff.

I know, the movie ends up being really stupid, but then it never pretended to be anything beyond that. It's pretty much just a silly excuse to get all these kings and queens of the blues in a single movie to perform under ridiculous pretenses. I mean seriously - you have B.B. King as a used car salesman, Jonny Lang as a janitor and Erykah Badu as a voodoo witch queen? This movie is not at all meant to be taken seriously.

But if you enjoy the blues or good music in general and you don't mind dealing with the ridiculous and absurd for about two hours, then this movie will certainly hit the spot after a long and stressful day. Oh, and try and name as many musical celebrities and cameos as you can!

Blues Brothers 2000 gets 3.5 reused cliches out of 5.

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