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The Ultimate Comedy

Posted : 4 years, 7 months ago on 7 January 2015 02:07

To date, The Blues Brothers remain the only instance in which after watching a movie for the first time, I watched it again the very next day. Several viewings later I’ve come to the decision that The Blues Brothers is my favourite film comedy.


The Blues Brothers is some of the most fun you’ll ever have with a motion picture. Just one incredibly fun set piece after another whether a car chase, a musical number or comedic showcase. Choosing a favourite moment? Now that’s difficult. The portion of the film which has me in the most hysterical fit is the sequence at Bob’s Country Bunker. Having a blues band with two lead singers who are as urban as it gets at a redneck bar in which everyone thinks they’re the night’s country music act has me laughing just thinking about it, not to mention quite a stab at country music. In regards to the film’s musical numbers, let’s just say I bought the two-disc movie soundtrack very soon after watching the film, which gave me a solid twelve months of continuous music listening pleasure.


Does there exist a movie which has more reverence for its location? The only other movie which instantly pops into my mind is Rocky. For the best moment in the movie which captures the grit and grime of the city of Chicago is the scene on Maxwell street with John Lee Hooker playing cut to shots of stalls selling music and other artefacts; such a beautiful sequence.


Then there’s the film’s final car chase. I haven’t seen every famous movie car chase but I would happily place a wager that there is no other car chase in the history of cinema better than this. I believe a truly great action sequence is one in which there’s a sense of danger that someone can get hurt or even killed. Here I’m not only fearing for the fictional characters but also the real-life cast and crew. The number of cars involved and carnage that ensues is unprecedented; Grand Theft Auto years before Grant Theft Auto existed. With so many action movies featuring gargantuan levels destruction which means nothing and has no impact, they should take note from The Blues Brothers on how to make action sequences in which you can actually feel the weight and heft of everything from the screech of every tire to the sirens of every police car whizzing past the screen.


The lack of logic in The Blues Brothers only adds to its enjoyment. For example, the very obvious plot hole in which The Good Ole Boys arrive hours late at the country bar with no explanation would likely downgrade most movies; here it just enhances the surreal world inhabited by the Blues Brothers. My favourite illogical moment is the Illinois Nazi’s demise on the unfinished freeway; it makes no sense in the most wonderful way. The 80’s was pretty much the decade for epic, large-scale comedies such as The Blues Brothers. Only then could a film like this even get made.

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A classic

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 30 October 2013 11:27

Somehow, it took me many years to watch this classic and, considering its impressive reputation, I had some rather high expectations. Eventually, even though I did enjoy it, I can’t say I was really blown away by the whole thing though. I guess, it is one of those cases that you keep hearing about a classic for many years but when you finally watch it, there is no way it will fulfill all your wild dreams. I mean, it is definitely a fun flick, no doubt about it, but somehow, I never really cared about the characters. It is like John Belushi, a guy who has become legend since then, when in fact he made only 7 movies before dying and only 2 of them (‘Animal House’ and this movie included) were actually good. Well, I don't think that ‘Animal House’ was really that great either so I don’t really get all the fuss about this guy. Anyway, in my opinion, even though this movie tries to be wild and all, basically, it is pure and simply a musical with some pretty cool music and some rather chaotic scenes but not much more than that, I’m afraid. I don’t know, maybe I was in the wrong mood when I watched it and maybe I should give it another shot at some point. Anyway, even though it didn’t really blow me away, it is still a pretty good flick, a classic, and it is definitely worth a look.

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Epic, flavoursome '80s action-adventure

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 6 June 2010 05:44

"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."

The first, and arguably the best feature to be inspired by characters born on Saturday Night Live, The Blues Brothers is one hell of a fun motion picture. Essentially, it is the Lawrence of Arabia of movies adapted from Saturday Night Live sketches - an epic yet intimate adventure infused with a wonderful blend of broad comedy and sly, understand wit. It more or less consists of one-third blues music, one-third character-based comedy, and one-third car chases. Yet, The Blues Brothers does not feel like a careless patchwork - it feels like an epic, flavoursome '80s action-adventure bound to erupt from the chaotic lives of the titular brothers. All these years on, the film retains a tremendous nostalgia kick, thanks predominantly to the easy rapport between Ackroyd and Belushi, a healthy smattering of witty humour, plenty of enjoyable car chases, and some iconic musical sequences.

For the uninitiated, the characters of the Blues Brothers were initially a warm-up act for Saturday Night Live before evolving into a musical group which people yearned for (since the late '70s witnessed a decline in popularity for disco). Soon enough, Dan Aykroyd penned a screenplay for the movie (which reportedly exceeded 300 pages, whereas an average movie script is 120 or 150 pages), and months later the feature-length The Blues Brothers hit multiplexes. The budget was an at-the-time gargantuan $27 million, which triggered fears that it may flop. To the fortune of the studio heads, though (and despite lukewarm reviews), movie-going audiences quickly realised the picture's pervasive charm and flocked to see it. The final domestic gross for its initial theatrical release exceeded $50 million, which was furthered in later years during re-release periods.

For such an exceedingly successful cult phenomenon that remains in the memory of every good film buff, the premise driving The Blues Brothers is exceedingly simple. The movie commences as Elwood Blues (Ackroyd) is collecting his brother Jake Blues (Belushi) from prison. Not long after this, they visit the Catholic orphanage where they were raised. They learn that the orphanage needs to pay $5,000 in taxes, or else it will be shut down. Following a chat with their old mentor (Calloway) and a sermon with Reverend Cleophus James (Brown), Jake sees the light, and the brothers become convinced that they are "on a mission from God" to get the cash. How will they do it? Reassemble their band, and play a few gigs.

As it turns out, Jake and Elwood are innate troublemakers and incredibly consistent chaos-magnets by their very nature. The task of rounding up their old pals and playing a few gigs transforms into an epic catastrophe, as the brothers manage to infuriate every law enforcement official they cross paths with, in addition to a group of Neo-Nazis, a country-western band, and a mysterious woman with a fondness for powerful firearms (Fisher). There's no point breaking down the story past this description, since The Blues Brothers is not a narrative-driven film; it's a vignette-laden film with little narrative cohesion. A string of set-pieces and excuses for celebrity cameos are scattered throughout the runtime that play host to gags, stunts and musical interludes. Whereas in most instances this sort of episodic filmmaking is a recipe for disaster, it works in this instance, with director John Landis at no point allowing the film's infectious energy to relent. Also, unlike other feature-length expansions of Saturday Night Live sketches, The Blues Brothers is clever.

Another of the myriad pleasures afforded by The Blues Brothers is the performances of John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, both of whom were in their prime when the cameras rolled for this film. Their deadpan delivery is a frequent source of laughs, while the moments when the material is over-played (such as the iconic restaurant scene) are equally hilarious. Although the show is mainly stolen by this pair, The Blues Brothers is loaded with little characters parts which were filled by a dazzling array of guest stars. John Candy, Frank Oz, Ray Charles (in one of the film's best scenes), James Brown, Cab Calloway, Kathleen Freeman, Carrie Fisher, Charles Napier, John Lee Hooker and even Steven Spielberg earn a few laughs in their respective cameo appearances.

Additionally, The Blues Brothers features some of the most spectacular and destructive car chases ever committed to celluloid. The film even held the record for the highest number of cars crashed in a motion picture at the time. Heck, the car chases rival those within The French Connection and Bullitt. This is dizzyingly high praise indeed. There's a three-vehicle demolition of an indoor shopping mall, a police car crashing into the side of a truck, up to twenty cars piling up at once, and even the "Bluesmobile" leaping across a drawbridge. Gary McLarty's stunt crew deserve a standing ovation for their efforts. When it comes to this movie, there is simply so much bang for your buck. Full of belly-laughs, contagious energy, toe-tappingly terrific tunes, hundreds of endlessly quotable one-liners, sharp suits and cool shades, The Blues Brothers deserves multiple viewings. No matter what appeals to you, this is a movie that can sustain your interest for 140 minutes. Personally, I cannot imagine anyone feeling dissatisfied after indulging in this marvellous movie.

"We're on a mission from God."

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The Blues Brothers (1980) review

Posted : 12 years, 3 months ago on 10 May 2007 08:44

i first saw this film when i was about 8 years old. my parents had a party and me and my sister needed entertaining. one of their friends brought this and animal house (both excellent choice for an 8 year old and a 5 year old to watch. i have loved both fims ever since.

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The Blues Brothers (1980) review

Posted : 12 years, 6 months ago on 11 February 2007 06:05

I was first exposed to this film when I was very young, but I still remember that experience to this day. What an amazing film!

My friend's dad actually paused the video whilst we were watching and told me to 'be prepared for the best car chase in cinema history!' and I can't believe how profound those words were! Straight from the off you have comedy genius mixed with energetic and rousing musical numbers. Seeing the amount of different groups the brothers manage to infuriate along the way is hilarious. Add Carrie Fisher's attempts to erase them both from existence and their completely dead pan way of dealing with these attempts on their life, and you've got one of the all time greats.

A splendid and thoroughly enjoyable masterpiece.

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