Ya gotta love the technology. Now you can go to Hollywood premieres and rock out to concerts without jet setting across the country. There's not much going on at your local theatre during the week so Big Screen Concerts (bigscreenconcerts.com) brings you live action via satellite to fill up those empty seats. Monday's August 29 screening of The Blues Brothers was just a day in advance of the DVD release, digitally re-mastered for your listening pleasure.
The premiere included a live interview with Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) along with misunderstood soul, James Brown and Henry Gibson from the real 1970's show "Laugh-In" (not the imitation "That 70s Show"). Also present was band member Steve Chopper sporting the same long hair from 25 years ago but without the ZZ Top beard, writer and director John Landis and Universal Executive, Thom Mount. It's always interesting to get some insight as to how the movie came about (what were they thinking??) and telling stories about John Belushi who endeared America as the uninvited guest in the homes of total strangers. This is good stuff for about 10 minutes but it seemed to drag on way too long. The brief intermission was anything but brief and was accompanied by a musical piece that looped continuously with the message. Don't we all subscribe to short attention span theatre?
Toss out your 8 tracks. The Brothers are back. The black suits, the hats, the sunglasses worn after dark, is a look also popularized by "Men in Black". The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) are really good hearted guys on a mission from God. Jake, freshly out of prison keeps his promise to visit the penguin (Mother Superior) at the Catholic orphanage where the brothers grew up. They learn the church has stopped their support and will sell the place to the education authority, and the only way to keep the place open is if the $5000 tax on the property is paid within 11 days. To raise the money, they get inspired by Reverend Cleophus (James Brown) and round up the blues band members to stage a big gig. It seems Elwood has a suspended driver's license with 56 tickets to his name but that doesn't stop him from driving his bargain 1974 Dodge, formerly a police car. There are as many chase scenes as there are musical performances.
When first released in 1980 it set the record for car crashes (more than Smokey and the Bandit) and the first ever to trash a mall. Could it be coincidental that the Dukes of Hazzard are also back in town? The Blues Brothers reminds us of those campy musicals from the 50's and 60's with Dan Aykroyd behind the wheel inspired by Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Good clean fun with the usage of 4 letter words that are even more acceptable today than 25 years ago.