Some films are just so much fun to watch that they can seriously outrank other films. Mainly comedies, they don’t have to have serious undertones or heartfelt emotional development. Sometimes all a great film needs is to be able to uplift someone. I’d wager that most of you have one or maybe even several films that you can watch and be in a great mood afterwards. For me, there are a few, but there is one in particular which always leaves me smiling. The Blues Brothers – John Landis, 1980.
Based on the SNL characters of the same name, The Blues Brothers has a charmingly simple plot, something that’s uncommon nowadays. Jake Blues, fresh out of prison, reunites with his brother Elwood Blues. After visiting their old orphanage, they decide to help get it the money it needs. How will they do this? By getting the band back together. And that’s it. That’s the story, to raise money by getting the band back together. A simple plot indeed, but of course between visiting the orphanage and getting the money, Jake and Elwood encounter many strange, hilarious hindrances.
Jake Blues is the older brother, played by John Belushi, and the younger brother Elwood is played by Dan Aykroyd. Both characters are great in their own ways, but it’s as a pair that they become iconic. Wearing black suits, hats and sunglasses, sporting generally blank expressions, Belushi and Aykroyd turned the brothers from funny characters into an embodiment of rhythm and blues. The two actors are brilliant in their own right, but they share an on screen chemistry here that works on multiple levels. The Blues Brothers are passionate about one thing: rhythm and blues. So it’s pleasing to watch them in the film, as they are funny and you root for them, but somehow you, as an audience member, begin to share their love for music.
This film is heavily drenched in two things: comedy and music. Both are equally essential. If you don’t laugh or at least smile at any point during this film then that’s fine, but I’m sure that won’t be the case. Even though the plot is simple, every situation the two brothers find themselves in becomes so bizarrely over the top you can’t help but giggle, and the deadpan nature of the characters just increases the hilarity. For example, an early car chase (one of many, and they get increasingly ridiculous) in which pursued by the police, Jake and Elwood drive into a mall, smashing the place up. Do they scream in fear or comment on narrow escapes? No, they barely flinch and point out the wide range of stores to each other. Musically, the film is fantastic, and there are plenty of cameos from music greats. From the enthusiastic church dancing scene to the band’s final gig, perhaps it’s not the sort of music you’d normally listen to but you’ll definitely be tapping your feet throughout the film.
Whenever you’re in a bad mood, stick this film on and I promise you it will completely flip your mood, through laughter, wacky action and good old rhythm and blues, The Blues Brothers – 5 out of 5 stars.
Date: Jun. 17. 2018
Location: Martin-Lipscomb Perfroming Arts Center
Address: 507 Chestnut Street
HIGHLAND, NORTH CAROLINA
Date: Sep. 15. 2018
Location: Jazz & Blues in the Park
Address: 180 College Ave.