The Blue Brothers is one of the most odd films of the 1980’s. The film carries itself with utmost grace and it is that grace and heart that saves the movie from going too bonkers. Filled to the brim with car chases from everyone ranging from a zillion cops to a plethora of neo-Nazis plus an array of song and dance numbers, the movie lives dangerously. It threatens to go way over-the-top, but the charisma of both John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd does the movie wonders. There are a huge amount of celebrity cameos that also add to the exciting fun this movie offers. Ray Charles as a soulful music shop owner, Aretha Franklin as a manager of a restaurant, James Brown as a preacher, and a whole bunch of non-music celebrity cameos.
This film was directed by John Landis, whom previously worked with John Belushi in the hilarious 1978 film, Animal House. This whole premise is based off the very popular Saturday Night Live skit that Belushi and Aykroyd created. After Jake Blues (John Belushi) is released from prison, he and his brother Elwood (Dan Akyroyd) visit the orphanage where they grew up. They learn that the Archdiocese will stop raising money for the orphanage and they will auction the place off. This is when Jake receives a, “mission from God.” This mission has the brothers reuniting their old blues band to perform a big gig to raise the necessary 5000 dollars needed to save the place. As they set about their adventure, they seem to be making more ‘friends’ along the way.
The impeccable charms of the cast is one of the great things about the movie. Belushi is a great actor and he shares great chemistry with Aykroyd. Just like in Animal House, you can’t help rooting for the big man. That guy was absolutely funny here. In addition to wonderful leads, we have a whole slew of cameos to mention. My favorite one is Carrie Fisher’s role as a mystery woman who suddenly appears out of nowhere with these giant rocket launchers just to kill Jake. I liked John Candy as the one of the hit men after Jake. Also, Henry Gibson deserves credit as the leader of the neo-Nazi gang. We also have a range of musicians in the move such as the likes of Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Ray Charles. All of these people really added charm into the movie.
If there would be anything to bring down the film, it would be how over-the-top the film is. I mostly enjoyed how crazy the film got at times, but I know people who had complaints. For example, the Joliet Brothers are chased in the end by what seems to be every police force, the entire U.S Army, and crazy Neo-Nazis….all at once. It may be much for someone to comprehend, but then again the movie works because it truly embraces how silly it can get. It uses its two comedic leads in Aykroyd and Candy as the force of the film and everything else is worked around these two men.
Overall, this is a very fun film filled with an abundant amount of energy. It’s funny, over-the-top, and musically-inclined. I see right away why this film is an instant classic and it goes down as one of my favorite movies.
My Grade: A