Being a fat kid is hard. Halloween is always tough, because if you have any sense of yourself, youíll quickly realize that all of your heroes look nothing like you, with the exception of Pac-Man. I at least caught the break of being a boy, so I didnít get stuck with deliberately body-negative role models like Barbie and that size queen Polly Pocket. Nah, mine were more attitude and biceps than brains. Now, donít get me wrong - I totally think I should have exercised more, because when I decided to be a Man In Black for Halloween in middle school, I wouldnít have been confused for Jake Blues. However, I think I do have an idea for my costume for next year. Iím still a big dude, so even if I lose a little weight between then and now, Iím sure Iíll fill the part.
Now thereís a movie I can talk about for today - 1980ís The Blues Brothers. Never has a movie been so over-the-top yet so understated at the same time. Jake and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) are two musicians who live on the south side of the law (and Chicago). Jake has been recently released from prison on good behavior for sticking up a gas station, and trouble brews when they find out the orphanage they were raised in is going into foreclosure, and the church that funds them cannot afford to keep it going. Since the matron that runs the place wonít take any ďacquiredĒ funds, its up to Jake and Elwood to figure out how to raise the money to save the orphanage by legit means. What happens is one of the most incredible pilgrimages ever to take place, with some of the fattest sounds of any movie to come before or after it.
This film is really more of a series of musical numbers in-between loose sections of plot development. The story is nonsense, the characters are one-dimensional, and most of the lines by the band are delivered with the subtlety of a cow pie falling onto a piece of sheet metal. However, that doesnít make the comedy and strength of the classics played here shine any less or feel any less watchable.
Aykroyd and Belushi are at the top of their game here, and surprisingly, neither of them arenít that bad vocally. Aykroyd may sound a little loungey and goofy when he sings, but itís balanced out by Belushiís genuinely unique gravely crooning. If comedy had fallen through, he could have made a fine living fronting a blues band. The supporting cast is also incredibly well written and directed; everyone trying to kill the Blues Brothers, whether their reason is justified or not, is memorable and hilarious.
Itís also kind of amazing that so many big name stars of the time make cameos in the film. From Ray Charles to Steven Spielberg, it feels like everyone wanted in on this film. And to be honest, they were right to get in on it. Every musical number is fun and full of energy, and even though the choreography might not be the greatest in some spots (Iím looking at you, Aretha Franklin number), theyíre far outweighed by segments like James Brownís or the closing song.
Thereís really no reason to not see this film. Oh wait, there is - if youíre under eighteen, or whatever arbitrary number weíve decided on for kids to hear f-bombs in movies. But really, everything you hear in this movie is just censored nowadays on reality TV. This film is full of spectacle and entertainment, and is well worth watching again and again. And if it makes you feel uneasy, just remember, itís all for a good cause. Theyíre on a mission from God.
**This film is part of my soul, and watching my motherís copy of the movie again cost me nothing. I was not compensated for this review.**