Richard Lutz awaits a weekend classic as he slumps in front of his 40 inch flatscreen.
There seems no better way to spend a Friday night in front of the box than to take in The Blues Brothers (Friday, Dave, 21.00)
This is the best film on TV for the week. No doubt about it. It captured a chaotic whacko time in films as the seventies ended and big business really got its claws into Hollywood after the independents tried to alter the movies we saw. The film is a fond farewell to production madness. After that, the doors re-opened for the studio accountants and bean counters.
John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd are Jake and Elwood Blues, a pair of lowlife grubby urban outlaws who bounce out of an Illinois prison and find a mission from God to save their old orphanage from closing. That’s the plot. I will leave it at that. What makes this musical/crime/comedy a ten-out-of-ten is the back up cast. Blues and R&B rip out of the screen: you have Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and John Lee Hooker providing the songs and good supporting names with cameos from Carrie Fisher (Princess Laia, for God’s sake), John Candy, Twiggy, and even Steven Spielberg showing up.
But the stars of the show are Belushi and Ackroyd. They make this move really chaotically hum. And that’s on and off the screen. The production almost fell apart in Chicago because of Belushi’s drug rampages; Ackroyd produced a script that was almast indecipherable and costs zoomed into outer space. But it did rake in $115 million before it went to video back in the eighties.
The movie was expensive. For instance, it held the world record for many a decade for most cars destroyed in a film with its many highway smashes as neo-Nazis, rednecks, cops and old lovers hound the brothers as they haplessly try to arrange an R&B show to raise cash for their beloved nuns.
Ackroyd went on to carve a credible Hollywood career in a variety or roles and fronted a good syndicated blues radio show for years out of The Blues Brothers. Belushi died from a drugs overdose. And director John Landis, a deft hand with comedies such as Animal House and American Werewolf in London, never really captured that lightning in a jar five star golddust that he achieved with The Blues Brothers. It is a classic.
So, get out the beer, fatty pizza, Pall Mall cigarettes, put your feet on the coffee table and turn the volume up. It’s The Blues Brothers on a Friday night.