Movie Title: The Blues Brothers
Actors: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Carrie Fisher
Director: John Landis
Genre: Musical / Comedy
Method of Viewing: DVD
Location of Viewing: Home
Viewing with: No One
Rotten Tomatoes: 84% – Too over the top for its own good, but ultimately rescued by the cast’s charm, director John Landis’ grace, and several soul-stirring musical numbers.
My rating: **
My assessment (the first 101 words at least): Once again I feel that nostalgia has blinded people to how good this movie is. Back in my Caddyshack review I complained that every person had seemed to forget that about half of Caddyshack focused on teenagers and their problems. However, with the other half being a fantastic comedy, it all balanced out well. This movie on the other hand is 90% musical, 10% action / comedy. That action / comedy may be pretty dang good, but it by no means makes up for everything else you have to sit through. Unless you love the music, this movie is just boring.
I have to admit I was completely uninformed when I started watching this movie. I simply thought it was another comedy. I did not know it was a musical, I did not know that the Blues Brothers would have mostly Blues music (yes, that sounds stupid but I really didn’t know), and I wasn’t aware that this whole thing started as a series of SNL shorts. It was only as I complained out loud that yet another song was playing that I looked up more information on the movie and understood what I got into. I am apparently not a big fan of Blues, or if I am I don’t want it in musical form. I was simply bored every single time a beat started. Maybe it was my own mistake for coming into the movie thinking it was a comedy, or just because it isn’t my kind of movie. Either way, I was almost as bored as I was during Wayne’s World.
Since most people seem to focus on the action and comedy, let’s talk about that. In 2 hours and 13 minutes, I would guess we got a grand total of 20 minutes of action. About 5 minutes at the beginning and 15 minutes at the end. The 5 minutes at the beginning was specifically the mall scene where the Blues Brothers go through a mall while being chased by the police. While it was enjoyable, it was also a scene that seemed rather devoid of humor for being a comedy. This is early in the movie when I was expecting it to be a comedy, but just watching the brothers sliding back and forth though a mall isn’t the funniest thing in the world. It’s enjoyable I suppose, but it was just an action scene. I’m honestly not sure why that scene became so famous and loved. The last 15 minutes was of course a 15 minute long chase scene. I did enjoy just how insane the entire chase got with every single law enforcement agency in the history of mankind chasing after two guys. The only thing that bugged me was some of the cartoon physics when getting chased by the Nazis (seriously, why were there Nazis?). Somehow the Bluesmobile was able to get launched over the Nazi car AND rotate 180* so it could continue; meanwhile the Nazi’s car got launched to dizzying heights, and then left a perfect car shaped hole in the pavement? I realize this is a comedy, but that part simply made me stare at the screen in bewilderment.
Perhaps I would have been kinder to this movie if I knew of the skits, knew it would be a musical, and enjoyed this kind of music. However, by the time I was knee deep in song and dance, I was just ticked at the movie. I have absolutely no love for this movie, and I have no intentions of watching anything else Blues Brothers related again.