The Blues Brothers (1980)
Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi had created the two Blues Brothers characters on Saturday Night Live, and now they united with up-and-coming comedy director John Landis (Animal House) with a grandiose ambition to create a combined hit and cult movie. The box office figures and the film's subsequent following may suggest that they succeeded. But watching it forty years on, you need to make quite a few concessions or smoke a large stash of weed to be able to believe the hype. Behind all its hyperbole and quite impressive technical achievements, the film is grievously banal and unaesthetic. It plays like a never-ending SNL skit on steroids, consisting of more or less randomly selected farcical bits which are almost never solidified by anything resembling good writing. Landis' main achievement here is how he makes something so over-the-top this unfunny. He is of course helped along by the non-existing chemistry and charisma of Belushi and Aykroyd. The film's only redeeming quality is a handful of musical numbers by a number of mid-20th century greats, most notably John Lee Hooker's one-minute appearance, which has more value than 120 minutes of Belushi/Aykroyd. Also included: The most idiotic, brain-insulting and badly directed car chase scene in movie history. Yes, I'm talking about the one through Dixie Square Mall. It arguably ended that 1970s borne fetish once and for all. Look for an abundance of known faces in pointless bit roles, such as Carrie Fisher, John Candy and Steven Spielberg. Or better still: Avoid the entire thing altogether.