Movie Review: The Blues Brothers (1980)

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi and Cab Calloway

Directed by: John Landis

Jake Blues is just released from prison when he and his brother decide to put their old band back together in order to save the Catholic home where they were raised.

The Blues Brothers is a movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for the longest time mainly due to Dan Aykroyd as everything I’ve seen of him during the eighties has been top quality. The one thing that has been recently holding me back has been Aykroyd’s co-star John Belushi. Over the last eighteen months or so I have watched 1941, which was ok but he was pretty awful in it and National Lampoon’s Animal House which was extremely poor considering how highly regarded it is. As much as I’ve wanted to watch The Blues Brothers, Belushi’s involvement has been holding me back to committing to it as up until now I’ve found that he’s not that good of an actor or comedian. With that being said I was approaching my 150th movie of the year and I wanted it to be something quite critically acclaimed to mark such a milestone so my apprehensions were put aside and I dived into the movie with an open mind without too many expectations.

I think my low expectations helped me enjoy The Blues Brothers a lot more than I was anticipating. I found it to be quite a funny movie which relied on Jake and Elwood Blues (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd respectively) to drag the movie along at a reasonable pace and while it was Aykroyd who provided much of the comedy relief, Belushi pitched in his fair share too. My favourite part of the movie was the cameo appearances and songs performed by James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway. While we didn’t get to see the Blues Brothers perform until the final third of the movie, these cameo performances from some of musics biggest stars really helped me to become engaged with the music of the film as well as the story it was trying to portray.

The Blues Brothers does get a little far-fetched with the series of action and car chase scenes but the sheer entertainment value of this movie is at such a level that you’re able to look beyond the silliness and sit back and relax as the movie unfolds. The Blues Brothers also boasts quite an impressive list of supporting actors who all do their part despite being limited to small roles. Carrie Fisher plays a crazed, broken hearted assassin always on the heels of Jake and Elwood and seasoned actor Henry Gibson plays a revenge seeking Nazi leader. While there roles weren’t overly important to the story, they both provided enough entertainment to make their inclusion justified and added to the craziness of the adventure that the Blues brothers were on.

Overall, The Blues Brothers isn’t a comedy masterpiece as some may suggest but it is 2 hours of silly entertainment which showcases the ability of Saturday Night Live duo Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.


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