The Blues Brothers

January 7, 2014
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“They're on a mission from God.” Straight out of prison, the Blues Brothers drive into a madcap race to reunite their band, avoid the cops, and raise money to save their orphanage. On their holy mission, they pop in to visit the Great African American singers masquerading as Band members, sandwich shop owners, music store managers, and janitors.

After his monumentally successful Animal House, Director John Landis strode into Hollywood like General Jackson after the Battle of New Orleans. Promising every resource available if only he would triumph over the box office again, Hollywood awarded John Landis free creative liberty and free access to all the money anybody would ever need. The director chose to transform the Blues Brothers, a five minute Saturday Night Live skit by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, into a ninety minute major motion picture.

The result may be summarized in three words: money, style, and soul. The film sets up shop on several nondescript urban settings; a gas station, a restaurant, and a mall. Then the movie spends lot's of money, bathtubs of money, semi-trucks jammed packed with money, on total demolition and mayhem. They decimate everything from ghetto apartment buildings to shopping malls. Money. Then the Blues Brothers in their black suits, and their black ties, and their black sunglasses, brush off the ash, and the glass, and the shattered concrete bricks, and move on. Style. Every other scene they are jamming with the great African American musical geniuses. We're talking everyone from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin. Soul.

The Blues Brothers is not a comedy in the strictest sense. Neither “Brother” has a natural wit, or a distinct personality. Specializing in small talk, and not charisma, they do not ad lib or invent a single line. The director simply prefabbed the whole show and inserted Belushi and Aykroyd. With sub par acting, they are cool in every sense of the word, and that's about it. Instead of comedic masterpiece, the Blue's Brothers is just absurd.

For a movie starring two individuals with limited talent, absurdity fits the bill perfectly. The juxtaposition between their suave small talk and a high speed chase through a shopping mall, literally through a shopping mall, has plenty of irony for a laugh. The slapstick shine of a police car bowling over a hundred canisters of paint will tip the scale and unleash a torrent of loud guffaw's.





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