A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 45 – The Blues Brothers (25th Anniversary Edition)

The Blues Brothers: 25th Anniversary Edition – April 14th, 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday nights are my evenings at work, so I don’t get home until after 9pm. Consequently, I think we tend to go for old favorites on nights like this. I definitely don’t usually have the attention span at this point in the day to watch something new, let alone review it. So, Blues Brothers tonight. Definitely an old favorite. The sad part is that we don’t watch it that often. We know it practically by heart (and like many of our favorites it’s amazingly quotable) but we just don’t put it in. Maybe it’s because the extended version is a whopping 148 minutes long (that would be why the review is so late tonight). That’s a long-ass movie. But it’s so worth it. In fact, I’m finding it really hard to review the movie because I just want to say “Man, this movie’s hilarious. And it’s got such an awesome soundtrack.” But I’ll try.

I’m coming to the realization that I like more movies that are technically musicals than I thought I did. But they’re things like this. I think we have the soundtrack to this on vinyl (swiped it from my parents since they never listen to their records). Every number is my favorite number, but I think if I was pressed to pick just one I’d go with Aretha Franklin’s Think in the restaurant. I love Aretha Franklin. But seriously, the whole movie makes me want to sing along and dance. Not that I’d do so in public, since I can’t sing or dance worth a damn, but in my bedroom while watching the movie, with no one around but Andy and that cats? Yeah.

The whole movie is over the top. The Penguin, the mission from God, the Illinois Nazis, the car chases, everything. It’s exaggerated to an extreme degree. Which is the point of it. That’s where a lot of the humor comes from. It just wouldn’t be funny if it was closer to reality. Even the comedy of embarrassment moment in Bob’s Country Bunker doesn’t make me wince too badly, since they pull through mostly okay, aside from having to race off at the end. It hits every moment just right. The music and the writing are spot on every time.

See how I’m not even going over the plot? Does anyone need me to? It’s not worth trying to sum up the events in a single paragraph. Jake and Elwood Blues are on a mission from God to raise $5,000 in a hurry to save the orphanage they were raised in, so they get their old band back together and along the way earn the enmity of the Illinois police, the Illinois Nazi party, a group of country & western aficionados and pretty much everyone else in the state and the movie culminates in a concert and a car chase. See how that doesn’t really touch the awesome that is this movie? It just doesn’t come close.

So forget it. This movie’s hilarious. And it’s got an awesome soundtrack. And that should be enough to get it into your DVD player.

A note: We used the “seventies” tag even though the movie came out in 1980 because let’s face it, all that hair? So very 70s.


April 14, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blues Brothers (25th Anniversary Edition)

April 14, 2010

The Blues Brothers (25th Anniversary Edition)

They’re on a mission from God.

Some days this movie blog is easier than others. Like today for example. There are a few movies in our collection that are above and beyond all the others. Movies of such unflinching genius that we can just sit back and enjoy them because absolutely everybody on the planet has already seen and enjoyed them. What’s that you say? There might be people out there somewhere that haven’t seen this movie yet? I doubt it, and I doubt that such a person would be reading this blog anyhow – but just for them I’ll pause here so those people can run out, somehow get a copy of the movie for themselves, and watch it. Heck everybody else can go find your own copy and watch it too (because you DO own, it, right?) Go ahead. This review will still be here when you get back.

There! Wasn’t that fun?

This movie is probably the only action/comedy/musical ever made. And it hits the mark perfectly in every way. There’s a rocky history for Saturday Night Live sketches that make the transition to feature film. This and Wayne’s World are the only really good ones. And this movie is based less on a sketch than on a time filler from the early years of SNL when Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi would dress up in their dark suits and sunglasses and perform with the SNL band. How do you even make that into a full film?

If you’re Dan Aykroyd you write a five hour long movie about the rise fall and rise again of the greatest blues review band of all time. Cast the actual SNL band as your bandmates (because that’s the classy thing to do.) Then you throw out the first whole half and get every great blues performer in the world (or at least if feels that way) to appear as supporting characters and perform hit songs. Aretha Franklin. Cab Calloway. James Brown. John Lee Hooker. Ray Charles. Fill it with a soundtrack that keeps you bopping along and rooting for the two titular brothers as they attempt to get their band back together to raise $5000 to save the orphanage where they were raised.

Then, when any other movie would be over after the triumphant return concert, add on to the end the most absolutely insane and over-the-top car chase ever filmed. I can’t stop smiling, dancing along and loving this movie.

Hooray for the Blues Brothers!

April 14, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | 4 Comments