Author Topic: The Blues Brothers (1980)  (Read 5827 times)

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #60 on: January 06, 2019, 10:14:36 PM »
Dan Aykroyd is notorious for filling in as much detail as possible in the plots of his movies but this is why his scripts have always been edited way down to half their original length or less, and as such might have plot holes that he does have answers for. There still exists a longer cut of Blues Brothers that answers certain questions like 'where did Elwood get that spray-glue' (he stole it from the factory where he works) and 'how can the car do such impossible stunts' (Elwood routinely parks it next to a power generator which imbues it with energy, OBVIOUSLY).

And here are those very scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0uXNTzj-Dk&list=PLDC35789C68FC5CFB

It's so strange seeing deleted scenes from a film you know inside out, they're like transmissions from a parallel universe.

Aykroyd's first draft was apparently the size of a phone book. He'd never written a screenplay before, so by all accounts it read more like a novel. He's on the autism spectrum, which may explain - and I hope this doesn't sound glib or insensitive - why his self-penned work is so packed with very specific detail. He doesn't have a distinct comic persona as such, he's a character actor, but broadly speaking his work can be defined by a sort of absurd, OTT obsession with linguistic and technical precision. And his sincere belief in the paranormal, obviously (his original draft of Ghostbusters sounds very strange and probably unfilmable).

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #61 on: January 06, 2019, 10:18:20 PM »
The cut with those scenes is pretty much the standard version now - it's the one you get on DVDs, certainly. There's also Elwood quitting work, lying that he's becoming a Priest. A few others too, that I forget now... think there's Curtis explaining to the band that the gig is for charity.

Ah, sorry, I sent my previous post before reading this one. As Avril Lavigne says, those scenes are of interest if you're a fan, but they do slow the action down. TBB is often dismissed as a bloated film, but I actually think that Landis did a tremendous job of transforming a flabby screenplay into an entertaining musical comedy with no slow spots.

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #62 on: January 06, 2019, 10:20:21 PM »
Aretha Franklin swearing is funny. It just is.

Don't you blaspheme in here!

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #63 on: January 06, 2019, 10:32:07 PM »
Marvellous film. I first had it on a VHS recorded off the telly, so hearing all the swearing years later was a real eye opener. Watching it recently, it's amazing how transgressive the car chases in the shopping mall and Chicago city are. You'd never get them made nowadays, what with La Terroristas.... even BB 2000 had to do the car crashes out in a boring field.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #64 on: January 06, 2019, 10:42:25 PM »
Getting out from under the pile of bricks without any acknowledgement or curiosity about what just happened

Their utter indifference towards all the bizarre things that happen to them is a great running gag. We're not supposed to think "Oh wow, these guys are so cool", it's more that they exist within this weird, impervious bubble.

They're not cool in the comically heightened Fonzie sense, they're depicted as shabby, likeable losers: a wee fat bloke and a gangly nerd who inexplicably front a shit-hot rhythm and blues band. Aykroyd and Belushi sincerely adored that music, but I very much doubt that either of them ever thought of themselves as anything other than geeky enthusiasts who weren't fit to touch the (tremendous) hems of their idols' garments.

The film would be unbearable if it was just a couple of earnest white blokes saying "Now this is REAL music, folks." It's not that at all, it's an energetic and eccentric tribute to the life-affirming spirit of soul music, rhythm and blues and rock and roll. 

It's also quite gritty, aesthetically speaking. Just look at the abject misery of Elwood's one-room apartment; despite being a big, wacky comedy, it's still rooted in '70s New Hollywood neo-realist gloom. That doesn't work against the comedy, Landis made it work to his advantage. It's a very funny, silly film, but it's mired in oil and dirt.

Sorry, I've written far too much about The Blues Brothers in this thread. It's one of my favourite films, so I'm prone to droning on about it.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #65 on: January 06, 2019, 10:47:25 PM »
Marvellous film. I first had it on a VHS recorded off the telly, so hearing all the swearing years later was a real eye opener. Watching it recently, it's amazing how transgressive the car chases in the shopping mall and Chicago city are.

Fortunately, no one was killed during the making of that particular John Landis film.

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #66 on: January 06, 2019, 10:54:35 PM »


It's so strange seeing deleted scenes from a film you know inside out, they're like transmissions from a parallel universe.


The John Lee Hooker one is funny... they're transformed from the coolest authentic bluesmen ever into sub-Rutles parody wackiness

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #67 on: January 06, 2019, 11:06:20 PM »
Fortunately, no one was killed during the making of that particular John Landis film.
Belushi's coke intake throughout probably edged him closer to his own subsequent rolling of a seven.

Blinder Data

  • Use your library
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #68 on: January 06, 2019, 11:06:33 PM »
Watched it for the first time a few months ago. It's a strange film with a curious low energy. I don't remember laughing much, in fact bemusement was more likely - more like The Bemuse Brothers!!!!!11

But the musical numbers are pretty great. And the car chase is fantastically exciting and OTT - they don't make 'em like that anymore!

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #69 on: January 06, 2019, 11:33:07 PM »
the coolest authentic bluesmen ever

Where do people keep getting this concept from? It's very strange to me seeing folks missing the point that the Blues Brothers exist in the same kind of universe as your Pee Wee Hermans and Elviras as bizarre cartoon people played by comic actors who are meant to look out of place everywhere they go.

Edit: Now I'm wondering if you meant that's how they perceive themselves within the film in which case, as you were.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #70 on: January 06, 2019, 11:34:28 PM »
They look like they're from the CIA or something.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #71 on: January 06, 2019, 11:36:38 PM »
Where do people keep getting this concept from? It's very strange to me seeing folks missing the point that the Blues Brothers exist in the same kind of universe as your Pee Wee Hermans and Elviras as bizarre cartoon people played by comic actors who are meant to look out of place everywhere they go.
I think he was referring to John Lee Hooker, who does look cool as ever doing his thing, but in the deleted scene gets into a squabble with another fellow over which of them wrote "Boom Boom".

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

  • a hopeless vanity... a stupefyingly futile conceit
    • Me Twitter
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #72 on: January 06, 2019, 11:43:01 PM »
Watched it for the first time a few months ago. It's a strange film with a curious low energy. I don't remember laughing much, in fact bemusement was more likely - more like The Bemuse Brothers!!!!!11

But the musical numbers are pretty great. And the car chase is fantastically exciting and OTT - they don't make 'em like that anymore!

I do think that The Blues Brothers is the American equivalent of Withnail and I. No, bear with me here. The odd, downbeat humour of the protagonists either tickles you or it doesn't. Like Withnail, The Blues Brothers also benefits from repeated screenings. The big musical numbers and ludicrous car chases are all very well, but the humour is fundamentally quite subtle. Not that Withnail contains big musical numbers and car chases - if only - but they're both films about harmlessly dissolute characters which become funnier with subsequent viewings.

Or maybe you just think it's unfunny and overrated, which is entirely fair enough.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #73 on: January 06, 2019, 11:44:43 PM »
I think he was referring to John Lee Hooker, who does look cool as ever doing his thing, but in the deleted scene gets into a squabble with another fellow over which of them wrote "Boom Boom".

Really? I swear I watched all of the deleted scenes in order and didn't catch that part at all. Welp, that's enough booze for me tonight.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #74 on: January 06, 2019, 11:47:25 PM »
Really? I swear I watched all of the deleted scenes in order and didn't catch that part at all. Welp, that's enough booze for me tonight.
I *think* there's an extra cut scene, of Jake and Elwood leaving the Soul Food cafe and they're still going at it.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #75 on: January 06, 2019, 11:53:48 PM »
Gospel practice and stage performance, respectively.  Jake is moved by what Preacher Brown tells him and the beam of light through the window, not the song per se, and the country and western bar is their first paid gig.

You're being very pernickety there. It's a musical and the music moves the plot along. Landis is wrong. Directors are occasionally wrong about their films.

Shaky

  • I drink your thread
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2019, 12:01:45 AM »
Watched it for the first time a few months ago. It's a strange film with a curious low energy. I don't remember laughing much, in fact bemusement was more likely - more like The Bemuse Brothers!!!!!11

But the musical numbers are pretty great. And the car chase is fantastically exciting and OTT - they don't make 'em like that anymore!

Not sure I understand - it's "low energy" but then you go on to praise the (many) musical sequences and car chases? The film is intentionally grungy and dry-witted around those bits, sure, that's what makes it work for me. That constant ebb and flow. The film is both a live-action cartoon and quite a gritty snapshot of slum life in the late 70's.

famethrowa

  • mere rhetorical frippery
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2019, 12:18:18 AM »
I think he was referring to John Lee Hooker, who does look cool as ever doing his thing, but in the deleted scene gets into a squabble with another fellow over which of them wrote "Boom Boom".

Correct! They turn on a "bit of business" and start a comedy skit, it's not very becoming

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2019, 12:26:39 AM »
Cab Calloway looks like the coolest mother fucker in the film

Brundle-Fly

  • I'm so Avant-garden variety
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2019, 12:37:54 AM »
Watching it recently, it's amazing how transgressive the car chases in the shopping mall and Chicago city are. You'd never get them made nowadays, what with La Terroristas.... even BB 2000 had to do the car crashes out in a boring field.

I remember an interview with Landis from the early eighties revealing that the Piccadilly Circus smash up scene in An American Werewolf In London (1981) was trickier to shoot than The Blues Brothers (1980) Downtown car chase sequence because Westminster Council were so difficult and had asked for more money than the Chicago City Council.

 Here is a snippet of a different interview from 2009.

Everyone remembers the Piccadilly Circus scene. London was quaintly chaotic as far as filming went - it was basically a case of persuading the local bobby on the beat, and if they said you could do it, you were sort of OK. So I put on a free screening of The Blues Brothers in the Empire Leicester Square and invited 300 members of the Metropolitan police. They loved it - and, whaddaya know, suddenly I had permission to shoot in Piccadilly Circus.

I got two February nights, between 1am and 4am and was allowed to stop traffic three times, for two minutes maximum. So we rebuilt the Circus off-site and rehearsed the big crash scene many times and my crew were drilled like a Formula One team, so when it came to the big bus crash we could clear it up and do another take in seconds. Vic Armstrong, who was the bus driver, went on to design many of the James Bond stunts. Boy, we worked fast.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2019, 08:21:35 AM »
Correct! They turn on a "bit of business" and start a comedy skit, it's not very becoming

NOYADINT! NOYADINT!!

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2019, 02:04:11 PM »
"Mainly French cuisine... no, sir ... Mayor Daley no longer dines here ... he's dead, sir."

'Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon'



What's wrong with that? You miserable slobs

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2019, 02:36:43 PM »
Mrs. Murphy: May I help you boys?

Elwood: You got any white bread?

Mrs. Murphy: Yes.

Elwood: I'll have some toasted white bread please.

Mrs. Murphy: You want butter or jam on that toast, honey?

Elwood: No ma'am, dry.

[Mrs. Murphy gives him a look, then turns to Jake]

Jake: Got any fried chicken?

Mrs. Murphy: Best damn chicken in the state.

Jake: Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke.

Mrs. Murphy: You want chicken wings or chicken legs?

Jake: Four fried chickens and a Coke.

Elwood: And some dry white toast please.

Mrs. Murphy: Y'all want anything to drink with that?

Elwood: No ma'am.

Jake: A Coke.


I copied that from IMDB, but only because I couldn't be bothered to type it - I know that little exchange off by heart, all the beats and gestures as well.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #83 on: January 07, 2019, 03:25:02 PM »
I can't say I've ever found it to be comedy gold, but it does tickle me and has a certain tone (as touched on by someone else, a sort of bleakness combined with zany crackpot humour, and of course the high energy music) that really works. The music above all makes it, though. Wonderful soundtrack. My kids particularly love Think, Rawhide and Minnie the Moocher. My four-year-old constantly asks for the latter. Timeless stuff.

It's a classic.  One of my favourite comedy films and one of the very very few musicals I like (although you could easily argue that it's not really a musical).

More controversial than the above is that I genuinely quite like BB 2000.  Nowhere near in the same league of course, but I've always had a non-ironic soft spot for it.

I like the bit in BB2000 where they clearly thought, "let's out-do the first film with this pile-up" and they just have police car after police car flinging themselves into the mound of cars, with far less grounding in reality or sense than any car sequence in the first film. It's a glorious bit of self-conscious ridiculousness. Didn't find the film too memorable overall though, despite having some cool tunes.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #84 on: January 07, 2019, 03:41:40 PM »
I do think that the Blues Brothers was ruined a bit in the 90s by dickheads dressing up as them a lot and there were stage shows of it that were terminally unable to fuck off for about five years.

That whole culture of making it fashionable for pricks and show-offs took away the sense of the film as a fun, standalone romp.

Rizla

  • That's not another knife - THIS is another knife!
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2019, 03:48:40 PM »
I was thinking about the soul food scene the other day there - did they discuss how they would play it before going in? Like, let's place a shibboleth of a food order and see if Matt and Blue Lou twig it's us? I think they're quite disrespectful of Mrs Murphy.

I love this film so much, but none of those musos can act their way out of a paper bag. Doesn't matter does it? "Damn, we were so close!"

Shit Good Nose

  • Several bags of balls
Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #86 on: January 07, 2019, 04:33:29 PM »
I love this film so much, but none of those musos can act their way out of a paper bag. Doesn't matter does it? "Damn, we were so close!"

"Chicken wire???"

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2019, 04:34:10 PM »
I was thinking about the soul food scene the other day there - did they discuss how they would play it before going in? Like, let's place a shibboleth of a food order and see if Matt and Blue Lou twig it's us? I think they're quite disrespectful of Mrs Murphy.

I love this film so much, but none of those musos can act their way out of a paper bag. Doesn't matter does it? "Damn, we were so close!"
There's at least one other scene of Elwood making himself some white toast, so presumably it's his favourite (only?) food.

I did think Mr Wonderful was pretty good in the restaurant scene, and Willie Hall's delivery of "you got the money you owe us, motherfucker?" after his jovial greeting was funny.

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #88 on: January 07, 2019, 04:44:34 PM »
Yeah, Alan "Mr Fabulous" Rubin is easily the best actor in the band, which is probably why he got the most lines. Matt "Guitar" Murphy, not quite so much.
Donald "Duck" Dunn's gibberish interjections are very funny too. "If the shit fits, wear it!"

Re: The Blues Brothers (1980)
« Reply #89 on: January 07, 2019, 04:51:09 PM »
Bah, Mr Fabulous, not Wonderful. I'll blame a tough shift work and not having had me dinner yet.

As for Duck's lines, I'll pick "we had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline!"