The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers. Universal Pictures 1980.

Before watching the movie:

Somehow, this movie started as a Saturday Night Live routine. Now it’s a cult classic slightly more mainstream than Wayne’s World. Why? I haven’t a clue. That’s why I watch these movies.

It has Dan Akroyd and John Belushi (or as I know him, Jim Belushi’s father). Apparently they wear cool suits, and they play Blues, though their family name actually is Blues. This routine lasts two and a half hours (though apparently I have the extended version).

During/After watching the movie:

Jake and Elwood Blues are released from prison and swiftly learn that the church they grew up in will be foreclosed upon in a few days if they don’t make up the back tax money. In order to save the church, the boys decide to reunite their band and hold a concert to raise the money. In the process of making it happen, they accumulate not only a large cast of guest stars, but a large crowd of enemies all out to get them.

A large part of this movie is episodic. Each individual band member has to be collected, and there’s something that happens for each one. Then they have to get instruments and a venue, and so forth. All while evading the police. Additionally, there’s a ton of musical numbers, most of which are part of shows of some kind, making this also a musical revue I guess.

To be honest, a large part of this movie bored me. The occasional joke seemed lost amid a sequence of dull events. Maybe it would have been funnier if I were familiar with the original Blues Brothers Saturday Night Live routine. I guess I should have expected it to be structured as a musical, but when Aretha Franklin started singing without a story reason to do so, it took me completely by surprise.

Jake and Elwood just kind of Are. I can’t get a feel on who they are and why they do what they do. A lot of the non-SNL guest stars I didn’t recognize, but I enjoyed Ray Charles’s bit.

Once the story started to matter again, it was a little hard to follow, yet stupidly simple. It also seemed like the plot was completely grafted on top of a bit that had no story whatsoever, which is all I’ve seen of the Blues Brothers on TV. The whole thing just happens, without much reason.

Watch this movie: because God has compelled you

Don’t watch this movie: if every armed public servant is out to kill you.

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