In 1978 during SNL’s early years, Dan Aykroyd & the late John Belushi came up with a musical sketch called, “The Blues Brothers.” The pair play blues musicians Elwood & Jake Blues donning black suits, hats and sunglasses singing and performing over-the-top dance moves. The sketch became an instant hit encouraging Dan & John to perform concerts in front of fans until the latter’s tragic death in 1982 from a drug overdose. Two Years prior to John’s untimely passing, a film adaptation of The Blues Brothers became a reality with Dan & John reprising their roles alongside an ensemble cast of non-SNL performers.
The Blues Brothers was officially released in 1980. (same year Airplane! came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. Plus, it made a lot of money at the box office. After its release, the film garnered a cult following. The film was selected by the National Film Registry and Liberty of Congress to preserve its cultural impact as a timeless classic. In 1998, a sequel titled, “Blues Brothers 2000” was critically panned and tanked at the box office.
This review contains no crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. I’m giving some of you a chance to see this classic gem. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Right & Wrong Aspects
Right: John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd both did an excellent job for their respective performances as the titular duo.
Numerous famous faces such as James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Chaka Khan, Frank Oz, Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, Steven Spielberg & John Candy make prominent appearances. By the way, a then-unknown Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) makes a small appearance.
John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places, Coming to America) did a decent job directing the film. He also co-wrote the script with Dan. The Blues Brothers is one of the most quotable movies. My favorite line is… “I want four fried chickens and a Coke.”
Humor contains elements of memorable dialogue, surreal moments, over-the-top dancing and visual gags.
Musical Numbers are unforgettable. The first one officially establishes what you’re about to see, indicates you’re gonna laugh so hard. My favorite part is the duo dancing to Ray Charles’ “Shake a Tail Feather.” I’m giving this number Bonus Points.
Action Sequences are filled with explosives and car chases that doesn’t destroy the laws of physics like “The Fast and the Furious” movies.
Practical Effects were involved. Most notably the climatic chase scene with the Bluesmobile. This is before C.G.I. existed.
Cinematography was shot flawlessly without suffering from any technical issues. This isn’t your standard comedy, it’s a wide epic comedy.
Pacing never felt slow or fast. I was hooked from the beginning.
Chemistry between Jake & Elwood serves as the main highlight. “They’re on a mission from God” to bring their fellow band members back so they can perform a few gigs and raise money to pay off an orphanage’s property tax bill. The exact same orphanage growing up.
As the film progresses, Jake & Elwood encounter various obstacles in their way such as a gun-toting crazy lady, Neo-Nazis, a parole officer, countless cops and a country band.
Story primarily takes place in Chicago, Illinois. Christopher Nolan’s hometown besides London, England.
At one point, Elwood questions Jake saying these four words… “Who you gonna call?” Four Years Later, “Ghostbusters” made an ultimate reply. Before Belushi died, he was gonna play Peter Venkman. Then, Bill Murray took over and the rest is history.
The End Credits also shows most of the Cast and Crew singing. They must’ve had a great time making this film.
Wrong: I couldn’t find anything wrong. I’m giving the Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless epic musical comedy as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
The Blues Brothers is arguably the best SNL-based film besides “Wayne’s World.” Judd Apatow if you’re reading this, this is how you make a two-hour plus epic comedy. It’s a golly darn shame they don’t make musical comedies like that anymore. All we have is the live action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” series, “Mamma Mia,” the “Pitch Perfect Trilogy” & “Jem and the Holograms.” Sorry folks, I dislike Mamma Mia and Pitch Perfect. Anyway, I strongly recommend The Blues Brothers. It’s definitely a must-see.