DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE BLUES BROTHERS (director/writer: John Landis ; screenwriter: Dan Aykroyd; cinematographer: Stephen M. Katz; editor: George Folsey Jr;; music: Ira Newborn; cast: John Belushi (Jake Blues),  Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues), Kathleen Freeman (Sister Mary Stigmata), James Brown (Rev. James), Cab Calloway (Curtis), Aretha Franklin (Mrs. Murphy), Ray Charles (Ray), John Candy (Burton Mercer), Carrie Fisher (Mystery Woman), Steve Lawrence (Maury Sline), Twiggy (Chic Lady), Paul Reubens (waiter), Henry Gibson (Head Nazi), Dean Hill (Nazi), Charles Napier (Tucker McElroy), Frank Oz (Corrections Officer), Steven Spielberg (Cook County Assessor's Office Clerk), Steve Cropper (Steve), Murphy Dunne (Murphy), Willie Hall (Willie), Alan Rubin (Alan FabulousLou Marini (Blue Lou), Matt Murphy (Matt Guitar); Runtime: 133; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Robert K. Weis; Universal Pictures; 1980)

"If viewed at this late date, it provides mostly nostalgia for the pairing of the lovable soulmates."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd expand their characters from SNL in this big-budget film from Universal. John Landis ("Burke and Hare"/"King of Clip"/"The Kentucky Fried Movie") amateurishly directs. He co-writes this madcap slapstick comedy with Akroyd. The brothers, blues musicians, reunite their band to collect money for their struggling former Chicago orphanage and in the process cause so much damage that the Windy City might never recover. It features a ludicrous car chase, engaging music from black legends like James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Little Richard and Aretha Franklin. There are many stunts and also many celebrity cameos from Steve Lawrence to Steven Spielberg.

The public wasn't impressed and stayed home, but it has since gained a strong cult following.

The flick's a sprawling mess, but has the music and energy to keep it going. The physical comedy relied upon to keep it nutty grows tiresome and lacks wit. If viewed at this late date, it provides mostly nostalgia for the pairing of the lovable soulmates.

REVIEWED ON 6/5/2016       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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