The Blues Brothers (1980)


I’ll start by saying it’s a sad day for film today with the passing of Roger Ebert.  I’ve always found his reviews refreshingly honest.  Whenever I’ve looked to professional critics for more information or analysis for a film, Ebert has been at the top of the list.  Now, on with the review.



This is my second time watching this movie.  After watching this the first time I knew I had to own it.  While I don’t consider myself an expert of film, music, and the sort, I thoroughly enjoy good (and at times bad) films and music.  You could say I’m an appreciator of the arts.

What started as an Saturday Night Live skit in the late 70s became one of the only SNL skits-turned-films that should have been made.  Most of the rest of them are a joke, this one is great.  I haven’t taken the time to watch the original sketches or do a whole lot of background information, and perhaps that’d help me appreciate and understand this movie better and on more levels.   However, I enjoy the music, comedy, and acting chemistry between John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.

My only complaints about this film have to do with a couple of scenes that I felt dragged on a little too long.  The church scene with James Brown and the first car chase scene through the mall could have been shorted up a bit in my opinion.  I was watching the extended version, so that may have played a part in it.

While this film was a little over the top throughout: the growing group of people chasing the Blues Brothers specifically.  But it’s a sketch-comedy skit turned movie, so over the top works here.

Belushi and Aykroyd work well together.  One of my favorite lines was at the beginning of the film when Elwood (Aykroyd) tells Jake (Belushi) he traded their old car for a microphone.  Jake, under the impression that Elwood had traded their old car for the current police cruiser, more or less has a “that makes sense” moment and he’s not mad at his brother about it.

There is a tremendous string of cameos and major musical artists in The Blues Brothers: Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Charles Napier, Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg to name a few.

This time around Carrie Fisher’s character was a little less of a surprise since I know she’s Jake’s estranged ex-fiance.  She adds a “What in the world” element to the movie, another person keeping the Blues brothers on their toes.

The Blues Brothers is a movie that works for those who like good blues music and comedy.  John Landis has a slam dunk in this story of redemption, and I’d recommend seeing at least once.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.


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