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December 27, 2012 12:28 PM   Subscribe

The pitch was simple: “John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?” But the film became a nightmare for Universal Pictures, wildly off schedule and over budget, its fate hanging on the amount of cocaine Belushi consumed. Soul Men: The Making of The Blues Brothers.
posted by Frayed Knot (135 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of my-time faves; thanks!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:32 PM on December 27, 2012


The pitch was simple: “John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?”

"Wait... you're not afraid this will be the first in a long line of crap movies based on skits from that damn Saturday Night show?"
"Don't be ridiculous. What, you think Danny will want to do a Coneheads movie some day?"
"Good point. Greenlight it."
posted by Etrigan at 12:46 PM on December 27, 2012 [15 favorites]


Are you saying that Stuart Saves His Family was a "crap movie"? The man's a Senator now for God's sake!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:49 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Blues Brothers is not a crap movie. The musical guests alone save it from being crap. I mean, Jesus, Ray Charles covering the Five Du-Tones? That's amazing, even with Dan and John singing backup.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:51 PM on December 27, 2012 [13 favorites]


'How often does the train go by?'

'So often you won't even notice!'
posted by shakespeherian at 12:53 PM on December 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


Blues Brothers is not a crap movie.

Gah, you're right. I meant something to the effect of "Aren't you afraid this will touch off a long line of crap movies..."

I apologize to the ghost of John Belushi, the ghost of Dan Aykroyd's career, and the ghost of the Dixie Square Mall.
posted by Etrigan at 12:56 PM on December 27, 2012 [27 favorites]


John Landis recently attended a small film festival in Victoria BC, and the highlight (for me, anyway) was a talk he gave before a special screening of the Blues Brothers in a small, small cinema. It was awesome, but unfortunately nobody in town knew about the screening, so there were very few people attending. It was like hanging out with John Landis over beers.

It really is a remarkable movie, if you think about it. Some 30-year-old unknown director gets a bunch of music greats like Cab Calloway and John Lee Hooker and Aretha Franklin to participate. Just amazing.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:00 PM on December 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow, I would never have thought of the Blues Brothers being considered a "black movie" when the biggest comedy star in the world at the time was leading it. Didn't the theater owners realize that all audiences would like seeing Belushi pretty much do anything on screen?

Also, now that I have heard there is a 2.5hr version I really want to see one of those extended cuts of the movie, is that available anywhere on DVD?
posted by mathowie at 1:04 PM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Awesome! I have loved this movie since I was a very impressionable 14-year-old.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:07 PM on December 27, 2012


Gah, you're right. I meant something to the effect of "Aren't you afraid this will touch off a long line of crap movies..."

Oh god, did they make another one after 2000?

We need Carrie Fisher with a rocket launcher.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on December 27, 2012


Oh man, I was watching this last night for about the billionth time and right about when they were driving through the Daley Center lobby, I thought, "I have got to find a behind the scenes on this."

I'm off to rtfa, so apologies if this is covered, but has anyone else heard the (likely apocryphal) story of some on-set teamsters tossing a car into the river because it was blocking a shot?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:14 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The real problem is that the studio trashed all the leftover footage on the grounds that the musical stars were all has-beens and there was no point in preserving it. I'd kill to see the just James Brown outtakes, of which there were said to be dozens, since he couldn't repeat a performance to save his life. He was just that *live*.
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:21 PM on December 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, John Landis mentioned at the screening that it was impossible to get Ray Charles to perform the same song in the same way twice. It was always different.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:30 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The real problem is that the studio trashed all the leftover footage on the grounds that the musical stars were all has-beens and there was no point in preserving it.

And there's the plot of my new time-travel heist movie.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:30 PM on December 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


Aykroyd spends his free time speeding through outskirts and befriending coroners
posted by edgeways at 1:34 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you saying that Stuart Saves His Family was a "crap movie"? The man's a Senator now for God's sake!

Not to mention Wayne's World and (parts of) Wayne's World 2. Mike Myers' movies didn't turn bad until the second Austin Powers, at least.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:35 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


has anyone else heard the (likely apocryphal) story of some on-set teamsters tossing a car into the river because it was blocking a shot?

But that would indicate that the Chicago River isn't clean.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:41 PM on December 27, 2012


The article was generally good (a little too much "Steve Cropper, a noted guitarist", perhaps but eh), the ending was... odd? It's like they suddenly realized they where over the word limit and just stopped.

great movie
posted by edgeways at 1:43 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


I will rtfa, but I don't understand how Landis had to deal with many different Ray Charles and James Brown performances. Weren't they lip-synching on camera?
posted by oneironaut at 1:46 PM on December 27, 2012


Love the anecdotes about Belushi hailing Chicago cop cars as if they were cabs, wandering into some guys house and passing out on the couch in the middle of shooting a scene, and how Belushi and Ackroyd first connected.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:46 PM on December 27, 2012


It's fascinating to read this thread, and the frequent snark and disdain about certain "crap" (though popular) movies...right after reading the previous restaurant-critic thread, where there was so much dislike aimed at food critics for expressing exactly that sort of snarky nose-turning-up.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:49 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've watched Coneheads twice and enjoyed it 1.5 times.
posted by DU at 1:51 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


He broke my watch!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:59 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would pay, like, four hundred dollars to read Aykroyd's original crazy phone book script with the extensive backstories for all of the band members and everything. Even if I had to read it in a locked room with a guard and promise to never tell anyone anything about it.
posted by theodolite at 2:03 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


I would pay, like, four hundred dollars to read Aykroyd's original crazy phone book script

Similarly, I would pay to read whatever script or materials he put together for Ghostbusters back when it was going to be a supernatural thriller.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:08 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I will rtfa, but I don't understand how Landis had to deal with many different Ray Charles and James Brown performances. Weren't they lip-synching on camera?

Ah, that's right! The challenge was (at least for Ray Charles) that Charles and Brown could not lip-sync, since they performed differently each time.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:21 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was not just a cult movie when I was at Uni, it was THE cult movie. I knew people who could just sit there and recite the screenplay to you. Every. Single. Word. It pull through good times and bad. I've no idea how many times I've seen it or listened to the sound track album but I kinda wanna watch it again real soon.

I'm on a mission from God.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:22 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It really is a remarkable movie, if you think about it. Some 30-year-old unknown director gets a bunch of music greats like Cab Calloway and John Lee Hooker and Aretha Franklin to participate. Just amazing.

Cocaine is a helluva drug. Duh.
posted by spicynuts at 2:26 PM on December 27, 2012


Off on a bit of a tangent here (sorry), but whatever happened to that Mike Myers / Keith Moon biopic?
posted by davebush at 2:28 PM on December 27, 2012


It's fascinating to read this thread, and the frequent snark and disdain about certain "crap" (though popular) movies...right after reading the previous restaurant-critic thread, where there was so much dislike aimed at food critics for expressing exactly that sort of snarky nose-turning-up.

Meet the internet: My snark is hilarious but when people snark about things I like, it's the worst possible thing.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:31 PM on December 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


Some 30-year-old unknown director

Who'd directed Animal House already, which made $120 million on a $2.7 million budget.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:32 PM on December 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


From the article: Marini, one of the horn players, spots Franklin taking a cigarette break. He approaches sheepishly, saying, “I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your work.” Franklin turns, glancing at the number on Marini’s football jersey. “Sixty-nine, huh?” she says, and turns away.
Does somebody understand what happened there?
posted by elgilito at 2:35 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Blues Brothers is a great mix of humour so over the top you can't even see the bottom (eg. the Illinois Nazis' car flying off the overpass) and a few surprisingly understated gags. The first time I saw it I was 12 or thereabouts, and while I enjoyed the whole thing I think my favourite bit was when the chase to Chicago started. When the scene faded out as Elwood fell asleep in the passenger seat and then faded back in the morning with the cop cars exactly the same distance behind them it made me feel like this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:39 PM on December 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


>Some 30-year-old unknown director

Who'd directed Animal House already, which made $120 million on a $2.7 million budget.


Fair enough, although on the bright side at least I provided you with an opportunity to snark in an otherwise friendly thread.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:40 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Blues Brothers is one of my all-time favourite movies. Might even be #1. I can't wait to show it to my daughter.

Thanks for the link, Frayed Knot!
posted by Vindaloo at 2:44 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blues Brothers is not a crap movie.

Whoa, I didn't even consider this an issue. One of my favorites of all time.

And yeah, what was with the weirdly abrupt ending to that article?
posted by zardoz at 2:44 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


One day Aykroyd and Belushi raid the wardrobe department. Tanen happens to be in Wasserman’s office when Wasserman takes a call notifying him that two of Universal’s biggest stars, dressed as Nazi SS officers, have driven off the lot and onto the freeway. Tanen finds this hilarious. Wasserman does not.
posted by hototogisu at 2:46 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Fix the cigarette lighter.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:49 PM on December 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


In the documentary "Chicago Filmmakers on the Chicago River," Landis remembers how helpful the city was during the shoot. In one instance, at a location near the Chicago River, someone had left a truck parked in the wrong place, essentially halting production. "So the [Teamsters] who were with us--these are local boys--just said, 'We'll take care of it, don't worry about it, sir,' and 20 of 'em picked up this thing, and tossed it in the river!"
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 2:58 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blues Brothers is not a crap movie. The musical guests alone save it from being crap.

I agree to an extent: it is eminently rewatchable (counting at least a dozen or so viewings in its entirety and huge numbers more when channel surfing has landed me fortuitously at "No, Ma'am. We're musicians," or, "Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Three Orange Whips," or, "Four fried chickens and a Coke," and I cannot tear myself away, I must have spent a hundred hours of my life watching The Blues Brothers, and the musical guests are stellar. On the other hand: I have spent two hours watching Blues Brothers 2000.

Same writers, same director, mostly the same musicians PLUS Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood, Bo Diddley, BB King, Skunk Baxter, Isaac Hayes, Joshua Redman, Billy Preston and so on -- these guys should counterbalance the absent, ailing Ray Charles. It seems that Belushi was the lightning in a bottle.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:59 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Blues Brothers is the Great American Movie...the cinematic equivalent of Huckleberry Finn plus The Great Gatsby, with SCMODS.
posted by uosuaq at 3:01 PM on December 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:10 PM on December 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Blues Brothers is not a crap movie.

The Blues Brothers was about extremes. Moments of brilliance, moments of utter bullshit, moments of whatever, moments of huh!?! Kind of like the drug everybody was doing.

Bottom line: I hate f***ing cocaine and what it did (is still doing) to our culture.
posted by philip-random at 3:16 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are also parts of Blues Brothers that are interesting historical documents. That is, they are records of things in Chicago that aren't there any more.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:17 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


It really is a remarkable movie, if you think about it. Some 30-year-old unknown director gets a bunch of music greats like Cab Calloway and John Lee Hooker and Aretha Franklin to participate. Just amazing.

The Chicago outfit was influential then and liked movies. No way they'd ok driving through the Daley Center otherwise:
“Let’s just say we were welcomed by the mayor,” Daniel says and smiles.

From what I understand (from what Wallace & Wendell have put out there) Landis, or someone, approached the mob guys and asked them to stop selling cocaine to Belushi. Which they did.
At which point people just started giving the stuff to him for free in clubs.
I hear the same stuff from guys who do bodyguard work. Tough to be a celebrity.

In attitude, feel, humor and location, it's really the quintessential Chicago movie. If only for the Maxwell Street market and one of the last shots of the South Works.

That opening shot reminds me of a more industrial version of Bladerunner. (I've seen things you people wouldn't beli... ... they broke my watch!)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:21 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Franklin turns, glancing at the number on Marini’s football jersey. “Sixty-nine, huh?” she says, and turns away.
Does somebody understand what happened there?
elgilito, I believe Aretha was raising an eyebrow at the NSFW connotations the number 69 has.
posted by funkiwan at 3:25 PM on December 27, 2012


"It seems that Belushi was the lightning in a bottle."

Well... Belushi was great, but I don't think his absence was really the problem with Blue Brothers 2000. What happened was, everybody got old. I hate to be ageist (and I'm not that young myself) but aging can be hell on artists. Yesterday's punks become today's paunchy, out of touch, complacent old dudes. Aykroyd was a real live wire on the old SNL, but he is just not that guy anymore. If Belushi had lived, he probably wouldn't be John Belushi anymore either. He'd be co-starring with Eddie Murphy in forgettable kid pictures, or he'd be off someplace with Jim Belushi, doing whatever the hell Jim Belushi is doing these days. If aging can make Paul McCartney boring, no artist is safe.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:27 PM on December 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


This thread made me go buy the latest super-special-edition of Blues Brothers on Blu-Ray, even though I already own the DVD and basic Blu-Ray versions.
posted by mrbill at 3:29 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, I would never have thought of the Blues Brothers being considered a "black movie" when the biggest comedy star in the world at the time was leading it.

...and when all the non-musical leads are white! That was the part that startled me. So much of that sort of depressing market segmentation is about matching the skin color of the cast to the skin color of the audience, and I'd definitely have predicted a different reaction.

I guess I'm used to Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin — and even early James Brown — being, you know, the stuff they have on the radio at that one supermarket where apparently flour tortillas are already "too ethnic" to stock. It's hard to imagine an era when their mere presence would suggest that a movie was Not For White People.
posted by and so but then, we at 3:30 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


WAG: Were you stung by the negative reviews about The Blues Brothers 2000?

Landis: We got it from both sides. Half the reviews said we were too much like the original, half said we were nothing like the original.

WAG: Why do a sequel eighteen years later?

Landis: Danny [Aykroyd] had been opening up these clubs called the House of Blues and appearing as Elwood with the original Blues Brothers Band and the place would go wild. So he called me and said, "Let's do a new one."

We had a script [The Blues Brothers Meet the Voodoo Queen] that we were going to use before, but we changed almost all of it. The Voodoo Queen, Mousette, played by Erykah Badu, is from the old script. The studio insisted we have a kid as a co-star, and we had to have it rated PG-13. We didn't like that. The foul language was an integral part of the original movie, but we had no choice, if we wanted to make the movie.

posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, it's kind of like saying "Clearly Eight Mile is going to have an all-black audience" or "Save The Last Dance is going to have an all-black audience" or something.
posted by and so but then, we at 3:36 PM on December 27, 2012


Fair enough, although on the bright side at least I provided you with an opportunity to snark in an otherwise friendly thread.

It was not my intention to be unfriendly. Sorry.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:42 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


The studio insisted we have a kid as a co-star, and we had to have it rated PG-13.

Pretty convinced you could take a random person off the street, give them an office and a fancy set of clothes, and they'd perform as well as any studio executive.

Hollywood and the issue of race continues to be baffling. I saw Django Unchained the other night, and was laughing afterward about how if a black director had attempted the exact same movie, it never would have been made.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:50 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The studio insisted we have a kid as a co-star, and we had to have it rated PG-13.

Extra Final Scene
This would take the form of a tacked-on ending for a different film each week, for example as extra final scene for Blues Brothers 2000 which saw Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman laughing and urinating on the grave of John Belushi before driving off in the Bluesmobile.

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've known for years that John Belushi was already on the downward spiral by the time The Blues Brothers was made but when I read articles like this, I always come away thinking I would have been just as happy not to know how truly messed up things were behind the scenes... like Bowie coked out of his skull during the recording of Station to Station.
posted by usonian at 3:54 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Our lady of blessed acceleration don't fail me now"

posted by mmrtnt at 3:57 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western.


This still comes up quite a bit in our household.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:58 PM on December 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


I've got Briefcase Full of Blues on vinyl in my bedroom right now. I think I inherited my copy from my dad (a blues musician) when I was about five. Along with Blondie, the B-52s, the Go-Gos, KISS and Adam Ant, it got HEAVY play on my Fisher Price stereo.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:02 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always love reading these "behind the scenes at the train wreck" kind of stories for some reason.

That Aretha line is the best part.

I can just picture her face while saying it.
posted by freakazoid at 4:10 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


...one soiled.

I don't know who's nuttiest in this thread, but there is no faint praise to be had here. The Blues Brothers is one of the greatest rock movies, comedies, specific-city movies, and ensemble casts of all time, and is on par with "Singin' In The Rain" as an all-time best English-language musical comedy. It's not bad as an action movie, either. The musical talent is a snapshot of the absolute historical greats of a certain era of American music, and to this day the soundtrack is a fine introduction to Soul and R&B music. In the vein of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Word," it was also one of the last to get that many famous people into one movie. It is the movie I have seen more times than any other in my life, and has not aged at all.
posted by rhizome at 4:15 PM on December 27, 2012 [24 favorites]


I've got a book around here somwhere with Belushi pitching The Noble Rot to Spielberg by barging into his office and breaking the phone and the furniture. Nobody called security. His bravado and his insanity was accepted at the time, because he was Belushi, and had the magic. Surely, it was all a very effectively calculated act, no? He's not really this crazy? Or if he is, let's keep capitalizing on it while the sun shines.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a friend whose lifelong journey into blues and R&B was kicked off by seeing the John Lee Hooker scene while in his early teens. I have strong suspicions that he wasn't the only one. Hell, Cab was touring huge theaters in the early 80s as a result of the movie. Aykroyd and Belushi did their favorite genre proud.
posted by Ber at 4:25 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the link. "Blues Brothers" is one of my favorite movies - despite its flaws, it's a compulsively watchable mix of music, slapstick, and sly understated humor like the car-chase gag that The Card Cheat mentions above. It has Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, all three of whom make my personal top-ten list of all-time favorite musicians. And a lot of the music-business related stuff - Murph and the Magictones, Bob's Country Bunker, and so on - while obviously exaggerated for comic effect, has the ring of truth.

"Blues Brothers 2000" was pretty weak overall, and I definitely could have done without the kid character, but some of the musical performances are fun, and I enjoyed seeing Joe Morton get to do something for once that wasn't a super-serious dramatic role. It's too bad it turned out to be kind of a dud, but I don't really blame Ackroyd, Goodman, and Jim Belushi all that much for trying.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:32 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe Aretha was raising an eyebrow at the NSFW connotations the number 69 has.
Well I had guessed that it was sex-related but Aretha Franklin never seemed particularly prude to me. It's not like Freeway of love is actually about driving (So jump right in... Ain't no sin / Take a ride in my machine... Who knows how far a car can get / Before you think about slowin' on down). However, the article implied that her reaction was expected. Small derail anyway.
posted by elgilito at 4:33 PM on December 27, 2012


Cocaine: Awesome until its not.
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, now that I have heard there is a 2.5hr version I really want to see one of those extended cuts of the movie, is that available anywhere on DVD?

The 25th Anniversary DVD has the 148-minute version, and as far as I know so does the most recent Blu-Ray edition.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 5:10 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]




Some 30-year-old unknown director...

When Landis was on The Kevin Pollak Chat Show they lay out a lot of the context -- mostly, as was pointed out, the then-fresh success of Animal House. If his site was working, I think it would be at www.kevinpollakschatshow.com/archive/?cat=309
posted by wenestvedt at 5:33 PM on December 27, 2012


wenestvedt, the Kevin Pollak interview with John Landis also can be found, along with all the other KPCS episodes, on Hulu.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:43 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the great regrets of my life is that, as a 7th grader in Park Ridge, IL I wasn't allowed to go watch them film the chase scenes through our town, because it happened late on school nights - even though EVERYONE ELSE got to go. It's still fun to recognize those little shops when I catch it on TV.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:43 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


This was one of the movies (along with "Cannonball Run" and "Smokey and the Bandit") that if my parents saw it on a cable channel they would watch it until the end.
posted by drezdn at 5:48 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do you know what The Blues Brothers is?

It's a love letter.

It's Dan Akroyd's love letter to the Blues. It's John Landis's love letter to absurdity. And, finally, it's John Belushi's love letter to the City of Chicago.

And that's what makes it great. Akroyd wanted the Blues. Belushi wanted his home town of Chicago, and Landis wanted crazy* to tie them together.


* Honest... I ran out of gas. I... I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!
posted by eriko at 6:34 PM on December 27, 2012 [34 favorites]


I'm surprised that nobody (and I might have missed it) mentioned Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, by Bob Woodward.

It is pretty much he last word on John, Dan and this entire era. Scary and entertaining at the same time. Woodward knows how to write. But you may have heard of his previous work. ;-)
posted by Splunge at 6:37 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ber: "I have a friend whose lifelong journey into blues and R&B was kicked off by seeing the John Lee Hooker scene while in his early teens. I have strong suspicions that he wasn't the only one. Hell, Cab was touring huge theaters in the early 80s as a result of the movie. Aykroyd and Belushi did their favorite genre proud."

Sorry for the double post. But when I purchased the vinyl soundtrack, Briefcase Full of Blues, it showed me that a bunch of my favorite bands at the time were actually derivative. It taught me a love for real blues. Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones. Heck even The Yardbirds and Cream.

And it began a long term serious love addiction to Cab Calloway. Ain't NOTHING wrong with that movie or that album.
posted by Splunge at 6:55 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stuff like this always takes me back to the awesome black and white short they did on SNL at the peak of Belushi's comedic power, in which it's the future and aged Belushi is the last survivor of the original cast, visiting the graves of all his dead castmates and talking about how they died.

It was both funny and sad then, almost certainly had resonance for them that it didn't have for most of the audience, and becomes both more sad and more powerful as time goes by.
posted by Naberius at 7:02 PM on December 27, 2012 [13 favorites]


"Four whole fried chickens.

And a Coke."
posted by armoir from antproof case at 7:13 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Probably unrelated to the Marini thing, but there's an Aretha Franklin album called Soul '69.
posted by box at 7:52 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was such a huge Blues Brothers fan. When I was about 12, my friend Don and I used to go to the convenience store dressed in fedoras with a briefcase chained to one of our arms, put our candy bars or whatever on the counter, unlock the case to get the money to buy our wares, and when the clerk looked at us sideways, say "We're on a mission from God." I must have read the paperback based on the screenplay a dozen times. And I still say "You want I should...?" because that's how Elwood asked Twiggy if he should wipe the dead bugs off her windshield.
posted by outfielder at 7:56 PM on December 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


How I love this movie. I've lost countless afternoons to it, coming across it on TV and thinking "I'll just watch this one scene...." and obviously watching the whole thing, because who can turn away from such magnificent entertainment? It is far and away the number one in my pantheon of movies I simply can't turn off--with Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Bring it On and Deep Blue Sea. An embarrassing number of the rounds I get for friends at bars involve an orange whip reference, and any mission I am on is always a mission from God. Back in my music teaching days, I made one of my band classes do a Blues Brothers medley for the winter concert (and fought hard to get them through it as the music was definitely beyond their skill level), and of course I had them all watch the movie in class after finding out (to my horror!) that most of them had never seen it. I'm honestly surprised that the making of the movie seemed like such a gamble (how could it lose?) but I guess such is the way with many a classic. So well cast, such phenomenal music performances. I can't wait to show it to my daughter!
posted by Go Banana at 8:34 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is how it goes:

Mrs. Murphy: May I help you boys?
Elwood: You got any white bread?
Mrs. Murphy: Yes.
Elwood: I'll have some toasted white bread please.
Mrs. Murphy: You want butter or jam on that toast, honey?
Elwood: No ma'am, dry.
[Mrs. Murphy gives him a look, then turns to Jake]
Jake: Got any fried chicken?
Mrs. Murphy: Best damn chicken in the state.
Jake: Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke.
Mrs. Murphy: You want chicken wings or chicken legs?
Jake: Four fried chickens and a Coke.
Elwood: And some dry white toast please.
Mrs. Murphy: Y'all want anything to drink with that?
Elwood: No ma'am.
Jake: A Coke.
Mrs. Murphy: Be up in a minute
posted by Splunge at 8:43 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I traded it for a microphone.
posted by mattbucher at 8:50 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


A microphone? ...I can see that.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:51 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did y'all want the sound bites board? Cuz here it is.

New Oldsmobiles are in early this year!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:14 PM on December 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


Also this post is awesome because this movie is awesome because of everything in this article and the movie and especially our memories together make it soooo awesome.

But especially Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:18 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, lots of space in this mall.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:26 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


It isn't Akroyd's phone book version, but an early version of the screenplay is available online.
posted by 1367 at 9:27 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, lots of space in this mall.

This place has everything!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:38 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Back around '95 or so I got my first computer and internet connection. My provider...ummm...provided web hosting. I've since ported my lovely '90's vintage webpage to a subdomain and I now present to you my page of Blues Brothers clips from before the rise of MP3's. Enjoy!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:46 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I went to Disneyland as a kid in 1979(?) and, of course, to the Universal Studios lot too by extension.

We did the tram car tour and passed this field with a huge mound of crumpled police cars and it was explained, "And, on our left, from the filming of The Blues Brothers..."

I love this movie. I love the moments early in the film when the bridge is being drawn up and they linger on the gears turning, all dirty, mechanical, physical, and dynamic. That's what the film is. The gritty film stock. They absurd physical car stunts. The 'real' looking people you never see in films anymore. And so very full of life. It was a great, great film and quite possibly the last of its kind before everything became clean, scrubbed, computer-driven, and missing a whole lot of soul.

------

If the shit fits, wear it.
posted by mazola at 9:52 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have mixed feelings about the movie overall. There are some absolutely brilliant musical performances/dance numbers interspersed with the most hamfisted car-crash pseudo-slapstick imaginable, which is where I always imagined most of the budget went. I've never actually timed John Lee Hooker's short stint onscreen versus that shot of the Illinois Nazis' car falling to see if the latter is actually longer than the former, but it sure seems that way. That having been said, though, it does its job, which is to put together an Elvis-type movie with the guys and their band and their favorite R&B superstars (plus Cab Calloway, who was already lost to my generation before they found him again), and have fun. And part of me regrets that I didn't get my own surplus-auction cop car and buzz around the Illinois countryside.

The article? Meh. Goes off the rails near the beginning: "The movie is behind schedule and burning through its budget, which Wasserman considered too big to begin with. That Wasserman feels this way about every film’s budget is incidental." Well, I rather think that it isn't. Plus, of course, it wasn't Belushi's cocaine addiction that killed him; it was a cocaine-heroin speedball administered by a serial groupie and heroin dealer and addict who ended up doing time for involuntary manslaughter in Belushi's death. I stopped right about there.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:07 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not trying to be a contrarian, but I am pretty surprised by all the love for this movie. That such incredibly unfunky white comedians could pose as peers of the world's greatest musicians was some disbelief I could never suspend. Hard to forget that the whole ham-fisted homage started out as a parody. As for all the racist stereotyping in the movie, it may not seem like much now in the South Park Family Guy era, but it's still offensive. The jokes aren't that funny and for over-the-top slapstick, it sure ain't no It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World or even 1941. When I saw the original Blues Brothers line-up live in concert during their only tour, I recall seeing the world's best barband doing soul covers with some mediocre vocalists whose love for the music was making fun of it.
posted by bonefish at 10:11 PM on December 27, 2012


I hate Illinois Nazis too.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:16 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a purely rational level I'd have to agree with you bonefish. But then I see Ray Charles scene in the movie and it's magic. The movie doesn't make a lick of sense but, oh boy, does it work.
posted by mazola at 10:17 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is glue - strong stuff.
posted by Artw at 10:26 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


It looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
posted by mazola at 10:32 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I finally saw "Jailhouse Rock" about a month ago. After it finished, I had to watch the closing scene of "The Blues Brothers." Yeah, that was probably sacrilegious to Elvis fans everywhere (including my BF), but the joy that in that sequence, of the band playing, the prison inmates busting out dancing, and then the shots of all the cast and the crew, is just too much.


And then there's:
"You! On the motorcycle! You two girls! Tell your friends!"
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:39 PM on December 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, just rewatched the movie because of this thread. The whole thing's just delightful, I watched the 'extended' version and wished it would never end. As an end-of-the-70's movie, it's sort of the anti-Heaven's-Gate I guess. All that art-and-or-drug-damaged hubris, but on a Mission from Gaad. Couple of stray observations-

"Me and the Lord, we have an understanding." Seems to have been a fact.

"Use of unnecessary violence in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved." That's what they mean by 'Chicago-style politics', right?

It's funny because they're real police cars! There's just something inherently hilarious about all those tons of Detroit steel hurtling through the air and annihilating each other. (and of course, they're comedy car crashes, nobody gets hurt.)

And just the physical stunts in general, and the explosions! Mostly courtesy of Carrie Fischer, which, of course! Cartoon violence is so much more satisfying when real stuff is actually blowing up. None of this would have worked with CGI (or, probably, without the tons of coke. The idea might be unappealing to some, but hey, prove otherwise.)

Speaking of not-blaming-the-drugs-for-killing-the-man, my general impression is that Wired was a less-than-honest hatchet-job (and Woodward's reputation is um certainly not what it was before that book came out, although mostly for other other journalistic transgressions.) Here's a contemporaneous Gene Siskel article that quotes Belushi's widow,mentioning specific factual errors etc.

As far as I can tell, at no point in the movie, do the protagonists carry a weapon, or during a car-chase, somehow upshift the automatic transmission into like 27th gear, like just about any say '74 dodge in those days ' was likely to do. So hooray for non-violence (or no non-cartoon violence) and also realism! Of course it doesn't make sense, it's a musical!
posted by hap_hazard at 1:22 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


The people confused about the article's seemingly abrupt ending must have missed the (rather clever) double meaning in its final paragraph:

The Blues Brothers makes $115 million, becoming one of Universal’s most enduring hits and by far its greatest farce.
posted by EmGeeJay at 1:29 AM on December 28, 2012


Bought the blu-ray yesterday, so this is extremely well timed.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:21 AM on December 28, 2012


This is definitely Lower Wacker driiiiiife. Akyroyd does a nice Chicago accent.
posted by readyfreddy at 3:13 AM on December 28, 2012


I look back on my schooling with no particular fondness, but one thing my high school did get right was having Blues Brothers (the movie) as one of the year 11 texts. I'm sure I'd seen it before then, but I watched it dozens of times that year alone. It's still one of my favourite movies of all time, and I was delighted to discover that Mrs Damonism hadn't seen it, as it gave me a completely unnecessary excuse to see it again.
posted by damonism at 3:42 AM on December 28, 2012


This is my favourite movie of all time (see username). Nothing else is even in the conversation.

eriko has got it. This movie works so well because because of the clear love everyone involved has for the subject matter. Ackroyd and Belushi never pretend to Blues greats. Jake and Elwood are fans. They're unfailingly humble, always ceding the screen to whichever R&B legend is around: "okay Ray, you do your thing with Tailfeather. We're just going to step into the background and have a great fuckin' time!"

What stood out to me in the article was how the process of Belushi getting all the members of the band on board foreshadows the first half of the movie. "We're putting a band together."

I could go on and on...
posted by dry white toast at 5:19 AM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


You get my cheese whiz, boy??
posted by dry white toast at 5:20 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Off on a bit of a tangent here (sorry), but whatever happened to that Mike Myers / Keith Moon biopic?

I think the window of opportunity passed on that one, since Myers (currently 49 years old) was already a bit too old to play Moon (who died at 32) when when his name was attached to the film roughly 10 years ago.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:47 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't believe it. It's that shitbox Dodge again! (SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY)
posted by flabdablet at 6:12 AM on December 28, 2012


It was 1984, I think, when I was staying with my uncle for a few months, and BB came on the television and I wanted to watch it [again]. I don't recall exactly why my aunt sat in, but it was one of the most deeply frustrating viewings of a movie I can recall. She hated the music. Simply couldn't understand why anyone would listen to such noise. So the volume had to be quite low. And she'd just shake her head side to side with dismay throughout the movie. I had to cup my ears so I could hear the dialogue, it was so quiet.

What really ruined that viewing for me, though, was the whole thought of not liking the music and thinking it was noise. When the people on the screen were having such a glorious time and revelling in the music and its performance. I mean, the whole movie is about Blues and how music can allow life to transcend its day-to-day hellish nature, not only in secular enjoyment but religious ones also.

I kept trying to process her reaction to the movie and to the music mentally and could only come up with the result that she was reacting from a racist foundation; she didn't like the music because it was black. And she'd never given any evidence of racism before. (Not that I ever had much opportunity to experience mixed cultures with her.) It caused me to think of her in a whole new way.

It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, a half-pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:32 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a Milwaukeean, I remember the bridge to nowhere that they used in the movie, but since I was too young to drive at the time and too young even to really get around down there when it was contemporary - was that just a 794 to Lincoln Memorial ramp that just never happened? Did it get completed prior to the 794 rebuild with the Marquette work in the 00's?

I sort of kind of have the impression that I've driven it after it was completed, but I can't remember why it was hung up like that for as long as it was.
posted by Kyol at 6:44 AM on December 28, 2012


If Belushi had lived, he probably wouldn't be John Belushi anymore either.

Almost certainly true. That said, I'd like to have the option of rolling my eyes at him and Gilda Radner playing Ben Stiller's grandparents than the absence we actually got.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


Aretha Franklin's fuzzy pink slippers. FREEDOM!
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:53 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great movie - among the best for a good laugh if you ask me. Oddly toned article though, which almost put me off in the early stages.
posted by Myeral at 6:57 AM on December 28, 2012


That such incredibly unfunky white comedians could pose as peers of the world's greatest musicians was some disbelief I could never suspend. Hard to forget that the whole ham-fisted homage started out as a parody.

I don't think the Blues Brothers are a parody. What of? Blues music, black music? You don't have to read the article to realize how much Akroyd and Belushi loved the blues, it's evident in their performances. Can they sing on par with Aretha or Cab? Hell no. Can they dance? No better than your average wedding guest. But everything about their performances, whether it's Jake turning handsprings in the church or the way Elwood grabs the microphone with two hands and pulls it close to him, belies a deep passion for the music and musicians that they fought so hard to get into the film. It's like the end of Little Miss Sunshine; Olive is pale, straight-haired, sort of chubby and has no business being with the other, more polished beauty contestants. But when she dances to Super Freak with absolutely no inhibitions, it actually makes you tear up.

I'm also sure they were concerned with "co-opting" black music. Which is why getting the living legends on screen was so important. I'm telling you now, as a white kid growing up in the suburbs, I never would have heard any Aretha Franklin or Ray Charles music if it weren't for this movie.

It's a weird movie. The stunts are over the top. Twiggy makes a completely gratuitous cameo. There are Nazis giving chase while Ride of the Valkyries plays in the background. You can dislike it for those reasons and more, but please don't think they were being anything but genuine when it came to the music.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:03 AM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


> The stunts are over the top.

And how! I haven't seen it in quite a while, longer than I realized (I will take steps to rectify this soon), and I'd forgotten how after the ridiculously huge pile up, the cops scramble out of their cars and start firing their pistols and shotguns en masse like it's the fucking Devil getting away in the Bluesmobile.

I have a feeling the creators of Grand Theft Auto and Idiocracy are huge fans of The Blues Brothers.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:18 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the National Guardsmen all yelling 'HUT! HUT! HUT!' everywhere they go, culminating in the one lone guy rappelling from the top of City Hall saying 'hut. hut. hut.' to himself, quietly, for no goddam reason.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


Oh, how I love this movie.

Many years ago, my friend Tim and I were walking around downtown Chicago and found ourselves right outside Chez Paul. Because we were dorks, we started acting out the restaurant scene from the movie. As we were doing this, a random guy walked by and said "Did you know this is the restaurant from The Blues Brothers?"

Good times.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:44 AM on December 28, 2012


Is it true that Belushi did his own handsprings?

I liked the movie, but did often roll eyes at a pair of poseurs pretending to exude coolness while wearing sunglasses and some odd fefora, thank god for Men in Black.
posted by sammyo at 7:56 AM on December 28, 2012


I have a feeling the creators of Grand Theft Auto and Idiocracy are huge fans of The Blues Brothers.

When the first GTA came out, in the sidebar of a gaming rag review it was compared to other games and to "the extended car chase near the end of The Blues Brothers". I think they were rated equally.

I'm a souul maaan ba da da dum
posted by ersatz at 8:08 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Henry Gibson, in uniform, steamed with anger, wadding up a piece of paper as he realized he's been punked, and the camera pulls back to show what's on the corner of Addison and Clark. "IT'S WRIGLEY FIELD."
posted by gimonca at 8:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I look back on my schooling with no particular fondness, but one thing my high school did get right was having Blues Brothers (the movie) as one of the year 11 texts. I'm sure I'd seen it before then, but I watched it dozens of times that year alone.

This deserves further explanation. Your junior year's curriculum included The Blues Brothers as a required text? Did everyone have to write essays on Jake and Elwood? When was this?

Also, there was Blues Brothers for the NES. (A typical platformer.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:39 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry but if you think the concept was meant to be a parody, then you missed the point. Given the satirical bent of Belushi's other notable bits, it's a perhaps understandable confusion.
posted by dry white toast at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked the movie, but did often roll eyes at a pair of poseurs pretending to exude coolness while wearing sunglasses and some odd fefora, thank god for Men in Black.

MIB is ok, but fundamentally it is about The Man. When you're The Man in movies it's easy to be polished and 'cool', especially when you're suppose to exude an air of some level of official menace. The Blues Brothers is the Ani-Man(establishment), they may be slightly absurd, they may look dated, even in the movie (Willie Hall: At least we got a change of clothes, sucker. You're wearing the same shit you had on three years ago.), they certainly are scam artists, but they are not poseurs, in many ways they are timeless. In a fictional universe there is not contest whom I'd rather hang out with, Jake and Elwood a 1000x over Agent What and Agent Who. Better music and not as plastic-pretty.
posted by edgeways at 9:42 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Folks who are interested in seeing Ackroyd's original script, among other big fans of the movie, might enjoy reading Mitchell 'Miami Mitch' Glazer's novelization.)
posted by box at 9:54 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Henry Gibson, in uniform, steamed with anger, wadding up a piece of paper as he realized he's been punked, and the camera pulls back to show what's on the corner of Addison and Clark. "IT'S WRIGLEY FIELD."

Whenever Radio Shack or similar retail types ask for my address, it is still

1060 W. Addison
Chicago IL 60613
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 PM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


That such incredibly unfunky white comedians could pose as peers of the world's greatest musicians was some disbelief I could never suspend. Hard to forget that the whole ham-fisted homage started out as a parody.

As I recall, Landis mentioned that many of the blues greats who appear in BB were experiencing, to put it mildly, something of a career low when the movie was made, mostly because of changing musical attitudes and disco.

So it's not a parody, the movie is a love letter to blues music, although Landis does remind me in some ways of Otter at the Dexter Lake Club: "Wait 'til Otis sees us - he LOVES us!"
posted by KokuRyu at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I like when the Nazis jump all the way from Milwaukee to Chicago.

Yeah, Clout is pretty big in road construction projects out here. It's why I pay tolls with Necco wafers.

such incredibly unfunky white comedians could pose

That they were in a self-parodying movie doesn't make them not real in the sense that it's not good music. I mean, I like listening to Spinal Tap songs too. "Old Joe's Place" is a fun song (Folksmen).
"A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" was nominated for an Academy Award. Eugene Levy actually sang his part which was surprising.

And there were plenty of blue eyed soul musicians.
Not a lot of straight Blues bands had that big horn sound. Though plenty of Soul and R&B bands did. Blood Sweat & Tears (Tom Malone played for them). Earth Wind & Fire. The Memphis Horns of course.

But the Blues Brothers band were really tight and had a great sound.
If you're talking about guys like Steve Cropper as "unfunky," I mean, that's him doing the guitar riff on "Green Onions." I'd put Booker T. and the M.G.s in the heavyweight class. The whole band was comprised of guys who did back up for Otis Redding, Sam and Dave (in fact "play it Steve!" in "Soul Man" is a reference to Cropper). They were all accomplished musicians who played in the band under their real names.

I don't know how that really works though on the meta-level. What's the meta-performance? I mean, is a good film ( From Here to Eternity, say or Man with the Golden Arm) not real because Frank Sinatra isn't a "real" actor? Or because he's more a singer? Plenty of those around.
Will Smith, Kris Kristofferson, Zooey Deschanel. David Bowie - wtf is his career about? He's in films. He sings. Theatrical stage performances. etc.

Steve Martin is, by many accounts, an awesome musician. (Yeah, I know "King Tut" but the dude can play.)
I'd put the Blues Brothers on the same bill with Sam and Dave. Maybe not top billing, but their sound could hold it's own (if for no other reason that a good chunk of them had played with Sam and Dave). Belushi has a sort of gravelly washed out voice on Shotgun Blues that just works perfectly. One of his best. Although I appreciate them I haven't listened to any of their stuff in a long time. So maybe not the greatest blues band of all time, but they were rock solid.

Not to mention the National Guardsmen all yelling 'HUT! HUT! HUT!'
That movie lives big in the incidentals and the unspoken truths. You just knew SWAT guys said "hut, hut, hut" all the time but no one ever showed it. And there's this "well, yeah" sense to it. I mean, well, yeah, why wouldn't some guy have asked Elwood to pick him up some cheese whiz if he's going out? And why wouldn't he have asked for it when he saw him come back. He has no idea what's happened to Elwood in the meantime.

And it all implies all these other unrevealed stories going on in a comical but purely authentic way. The way the cheese whiz guy wrist slaps his cards down. All the debris on the dashboard sliding back and forth when they make turns. The one cop yelling "son of a bitch!" before they all open fire from the massive car pile up.

My fav: Elwood: "Hey, Sam."

Then John Candy the next day (20 minutes later film time). Same steps. Same guy. "Hey, Sam."
Well, yeah.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:13 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I saw the Blues Brothers band, with Eddie 'Knock on Wood' Floyd and a couple of other guests singing, way back in the day when they toured the UK and they were excellent. I was literally the only person in the audience who bothered to dress up as a Blues Brother, which was slightly embarrassing until they called up the front row of the audience (where I was sat) to join them for one song when it became flat-out awesome as I got a big cheer.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:13 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Holy crap. You people are going to make me pull out the Blues Brother's movie and do something completely crazy with it.

Actually watch the thing.

It's an easy movie to take for granted though, it's one of those local TV Sunday movies that since it was made has never stopped being shown somewhere in the country on some station, it's like there's a law saying local TV stations have to show that movie a certain number of Sunday's each year. So I'd say I've seen different parts of it dozens of times, but only really once as a total experience.


BTW the article definitely has a bizzare ending, but you see that's because Belushi's stick was that he was manic one minute and then he'd be all calm like nothing happened and just your regular likeable guy....so CRAZY MANIC....nice likeable guy samurai etc....

Anyhow I watched the audition he did on for SNL after watching that Nazi guys footage, and it's interesting how he subverts the process but is funny as well. Good right/left reactions and excellent eyebrow power.

posted by Skygazer at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2012


shakespeherian: "Yeah, lots of space in this mall.

This place has everything!
"

Something similar happened at my local mall. After hours though.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:29 PM on December 28, 2012


I have heard there is a 2.5hr version

Yeah? Well in Philadelphia, it's worth fifty bucks.

(Had to get something about Trading Places in here somewhere.)
posted by Twang at 5:40 PM on December 28, 2012


And it all implies all these other unrevealed stories going on in a comical but purely authentic way. The way the cheese whiz guy wrist slaps his cards down. All the debris on the dashboard sliding back and forth when they make turns.
...the fact that the Illinois Nazis drive matching Pinto station wagons, and that the crowd at Bob's Country Bunker throws more beer bottles at the stage when they like the music.
posted by usonian at 8:25 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've seen The Blues Brothers at least once a year after it came to free/cable TV, which has been 30+ years now. I wasn't old enough to see it in its first theatre run. When I was younger, and I'd told people I was raised Pentecostal, a few would ask if the church I grew up in was like James Brown's church in this movie. "Sure," I'd say with a straight face, "We had people doing backflips in our little storefront like it was The Olympics every Sunday." Most laughed. One or two weren't sure if I was serious. For the dense, I'd add: "But George Clinton did our sermons."

I like when the Nazis jump all the way from Milwaukee to Chicago.
posted by drezdn at 8:18 PM on December 27

At age 10 and on a school field trip, my classmates and I saw what I assume was the 2nd unit crew shooting that scene. In those days, that tower in the background was known as the First Wisconsin Building. Gosh, so this must have been in September or in early October 1979. What I do remember was that we were on a school bus on our way back to Hartford Avenue and were detoured underneath that overpass. Thankfully, there was enough of a traffic clog that we could get a good look at the proceedings. I'd never seen such a huge cherry picker for something outside construction. The whole set-up looked very exciting, with all the people running around, and the lighting, and the rigs and gear. That glimpse of how it all worked definitely was one of the catalysts for my interest in film and TV production. I hope Mayer Maier got Milwaukee a fat check for it; it practically shut down the 3rd Ward.
posted by droplet at 8:57 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm in the middle of watching it and what I'm struck with is the obsession with authenticity in every aspect, even while the Blues Brothers themselves are sort of culture jamming and sampling and taking and borrowing everything and anything they need freely and happily (and even gleefully), they're appealing to a deeper sense of genuine spirit and maybe, genuine perhaps, all inclusive soulful American-inity.

You'd never know Belushi is hoovering epic amounts of blow and stopping production, and making the production crazy.

Every scene he's in, he's fucking exuding ridiculous amounts of vibrancy and energy and he and Ackroyd vibe and move off each other in a totally infectiously funny, striking and actually genuinely COOL mofo-ing way. There was real an true brother-love between those two. Ackroyd must've went through a tough tough time after Belushi passed away.

Furthermore, Watching Belushi is bring to mind how in awe and imitative of him Bill Murray was in an apprentice way. Don't get me wrong. I love Bill Murray, I've met Bill Murray, I think Bill Murray is a national treasure and I'm seeing how much he learned directly from Belushi. Wow...


And one last thing I'm enjoying is the fact that the film for all it's cost overruns was a nice chunk of change to a lot blues artists for the use of their music, as well as all the money it pumped into Chicago, and for all of Wasserman's hemming and hawing, I bet the massive production techniques perfecting in destroying shit in the film was a good investment in setting up an infrastructure at Universal for the big production action movies to come.

Ultimately, what I'm saying is, when you do something with soul and with a real desire to capture fun and authenticity you can't help building for the future, no matter how much shit you destroy or how much blow a creative demon of sorts like a Belushi puts up his nose.
posted by Skygazer at 9:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Steve Martin is, by many accounts, an awesome musician.

Disclaimer: Steve Martin is a national treasure. However, according to the bluegrass fans in my family, he's at the "talented amateur" level with a very good backing band. No one scoffs at him, though, because he's putting out Perfectly Good Music and raising the profile of the genre. It's not like he's taking food out of the mouths of "real" bluegrass musicians; probably the opposite.
posted by Etrigan at 9:18 AM on December 29, 2012


You'd never know Belushi is hoovering epic amounts of blow ... Every scene he's in, he's fucking exuding ridiculous amounts of vibrancy and energy

I think the second sentence contradicts the first, there.

I love the film, I loved the article.
posted by jaguar at 9:22 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sort of. There's pretty obvious decline in mental and physical (and emotional) performance with overdoing anything, unless it's in carefully measured quantities ( amounts over time,) or/and, one is young enough to recover from the inevitable down sicktime quickly.

Belushi was 30 at the time the movie was made, so he was still, more or less, in his prime though.
posted by Skygazer at 2:46 PM on December 30, 2012


I didn't get to watch the Blues Brothers when it first came out in '80 - I had to play catchup on VHS 7 years later and even on my family's tiny tv screen and despite the quality of the rental tape the movie reached out and grabbed me by the neck. I've loved the blues ever since.

Thanks for the link.
posted by ooga_booga at 5:48 PM on January 9, 2013


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