Monthly Archives: September 2013

Late to the mission from God! A review of Blues Brothers

Prologue by Ryan Stites:

Mrs. Tarantino: “Are you the police?”

Elwood: “No, ma’am. We’re musicians. “

This blog is all about Laura and her quest to right the cinematic wrongs in her life, but let’s talk about me first real quick. The Blues Brothers is probably my favorite movie of all time (Jaws being #1a, thankfully, she’s seen that one). I only bring this up because I wonder how this movie comes across to someone that has never seen it and only knows the movie/characters post-John Belushi. Bless Dan Aykroyd for his work on SNL and writing this movie, but the man has done everything but dig up Belushi’s corpse and have it hock House of Blues merchandise (he also should be deported back to Canada for allowing Jim Belushi to appear as a Blues brother). I’m a little worried that Laura’s frame of reference will be clouded by what has happened since the movie*, but a lot of that is probably my own baggage. The Blues Brothers themselves have aged poorly as a property, but the movie is timeless.

The movie hits a lot of personal wheelhouses; growing up Catholic, a giant SNL dork, Chicago (fun fact no one cares about: Car 55 flying into a truck was filmed in my hometown!), car chases, fantastic music. Hell, even Steven Spielberg is in it. Personal business aside, I think Laura will discover multiple things she missed pop culturally, love that lit-rally everyone is in it and like this movie a lot for similar reasons…maybe not so much the Catholic stuff, but just go with it. If she doesn’t our friendship is probably over.

*A quick note on the sequel that never, never, ever should have happened: If you fast forward to the music numbers, it becomes tolerable. Even then, you feel bad for everyone involved and it is best to pretend it didn’t happen.

On a “WHAT? You haven’t seen _____?!?” scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest level of shock, disappointment and sad) I’m going to assign an 7.5 to this just because there was a period of time between roughly 1993-1997 where this movie was on TBS roughly three times a day and I’m not sure how Laura didn’t at least come across it in passing. Also, it is pretty much a musical and she loves musicals.


LTTM Review:

Elwood: They’re not gonna catch us. We’re on a mission from God.

Soooooo, I never saw The Blues Brothers on SNL. Is that bad? I’m definitely curious to go through and watch some reruns to see how this worked as a sketch.

Blues Brothers movie poster

Blues Brothers (1980)

Like Ryan mentioned this movie is pretty much a musical. But not just any musical! A musical where Aretha Franklin makes an appearance teaching her man a thing or two (unsuccessfully), Ray Charles shoots a gun, James Brown sweats a lot, Chaka Khan is a BACKGROUND singer. [And all of the cameos are not just singers. Twiggy makes a small appearance, Carrie Fisher shows up several times with several different incendiary devices, and Steven Spielberg has an incredible performance as the tax man towards the end of the movie.] It’s the only “musical” that Kevin will ever enjoy, so Blues Brothers gets major kudos for that.

Another item of note: while living in Chicago I never once had the chance to drive on Lower Wacker. Based on the Blues Brothers and Batman scenes that take place on Lower Wacker, I assume there is a car chase down there every hour during the day.

While I enjoyed this movie a ton, I don’t think it hits anywhere near my top list of movies I’ve ever seen, or even seen as a part of this project. It’s funny and I really had a good time watching it, don’t get me wrong. But I think Ryan’s Chicago homerism might be getting the best of him (Jaws is INFINITELY better, plus there are sharks). This isn’t even my favorite Dan Aykroyd movie (Ghostbusters II) or my favorite John Belushi movie (Animal House). It’s also not my favorite SNL sketch-turned-movie (Wayne’s World or *cough* Coneheads). That said, Angels in the Outfield is one of my favorite movies so I can understand letting weird quirks  and sentimentality get the best of you. [Or maybe it’s a Catholic guilt thing.]

If you love music, if you love car chases, and if you hate Illinois Nazis, I think you’ll really enjoy this movie. If you’re late to every movie like I am, I’d prioritize lower than some of the other movies I’ve watched so far, but I do recommend that everyone watch it.

Face palm moment: 

I can’t get into details but the community computers at my agency all use the same password. After seeing this movie, I realized that the password is a Blues Brothers reference. I’m a dweeb.

Favorite part: 

As a former Chicago resident, I just really liked seeing different aspects of Chicago that I recognized. I got so excited when I saw a Jewel, you have no idea. Related: I am a dweeb.

The “I missed that in pop culture trivia” moment: 

I honestly can’t think of anything in particular that I was really missing from the movie. I’m not sure this movie is quite as quotable as some of the others I’ve seen.

Regrettable tardiness scale (out of 10): Don’t kill me Ryan. It’s not at the top of my list as far as regrettability, simply because there are so many other movies that I had missed out on and prioritized higher. I’ll give it a six or so here. BUT YOU SHOULD STILL WATCH.

Advertisements

The Late List, Round Two

With your help, I’ve put together my second list of late movies. Drumroll please…
1. Matrix
2. Robocop
3. The Natural
4. Kingpin
5. Aliens
6. High Noon
7. Dr. Strangelove
8. Blade Runner
9. Trading Places
10. Usual Suspects
11. When Harry Met Sally
12. Gold Finger
13. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
14. Fletch
15. Patton
16. Clerks
17. The Graduate
18. The Notebook
19. Hunt for Red October
20. Roadhouse
21. Lethal Weapon
22. Major League
23. Thelma and Louise
24. Bev. Hills Cop
25. Blazing Saddles
My thoughts?
Dis Gon B Gud gif
[As a reminder, you can see the first late list here.]