The Blues Brothers (1980)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Blues Brothers</strong> (1980)

(Third or fourth viewing, On Blu Ray, September 2018) There are good movies, great movies and special movies. The Blues Brothers is one of those special movies, capturing something that deserves to be passed on to new audiences a few decades later. It’s a comedy and a really good one at times (especially when it fully embraces its absurdity and unapologetically give more weight to laughs than believability), but its greatest strength remains the music and the musicians it captures. As a musical comedy, there isn’t a single dud in the entire soundtrack, and seeing some of the best R&B stars croon their tunes is like mainlining pure cinematic bliss … even for those viewers who don’t know much about blues. James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin … this is a time capsule of them at their finest, singing and dancing memorable pieces. As many of the film’s stars are no longer with us (in the past two years alone, we’ve lost Franklin, Carrie Fisher and Toys’r’Us), the film doesn’t feel sadder but stronger for preserving them in such great shape. I must have seen the film two or three times as a teenager and young adult, so much of the dialogue and sequences are hard-wired in my head, and it was sheer pleasure to run from one highlight to another—whereas other movies struggle to get one or two memorable scene, The Blue Brothers has roughly a dozen of them. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi hit career-high roles here, and the integration of non-actor famed musicians goes better than anyone would expect. If you haven’t seen The Blues Brothers, any day is the right time to do it. If you’ve already seen it, you already know that any time is the right time to see it again. What a classic.

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