Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Murphy Dunne, Willie Hall, Tom Malone, Lou Marini, Matt Murphy, Alan Rubin, Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, John Candy, Kathleen Freeman, Steve Lawrence, Twiggy, Frank Oz, Charles Napier, Paul Reubens, Steven Spielberg
Written by: Dan Aykroyd, John Landis
Directed by: John Landis
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 133
Date: 06/16/1980

The Blues Brothers (1980)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Everybody Needs Somebody

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One of the best rock 'n' roll (or blues) movies ever made. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd re-create their characters from "Saturday Night Live" in this long, but non-stop movie. The basic plot is to get "the band" back together for a show to save the orphanage where the Blues Brothers were brought up. "The band" consists of members of Otis Redding's old band, some of the greatest R&B musicians around. The movie also features James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles, each performing a song.

Carrie Fisher plays Belushi's forgotten bride, Henry Gibson plays a nazi and Charles Napier (from Russ Meyer movies) is a redneck. Steven Spielberg and Frank Oz are also in the movie.

Landis's weirdly specific comic style is on display, a quiet, observatory mood that encompasses an entire frame, with very particular timing. It all ends with an amazing, wild, deadpan chase scene, with dozens of crashing cars.

Plenty of critics will argue that Akyroyd's and Belushi's deadpan performances hidden behind sunglasses throughout the entire movie is a bad idea, but many fans will dispute that point.

Songs include "Stand By Your Man," "Gimme Some Lovin'," "She Caught the Katy," and the "Peter Gunn Theme." Lines include, "this is glue... strong stuff" and "the new Oldsmobiles are in early this year" and the great "we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses... let's roll."

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