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We're on a mission from CineVerse

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Yes, there's "Ferris Buehler's Day Off," "The Fugitive," and "Risky Business." But the king of all movies set and filmed in Chicago has to be "The Blues Brothers," the zany rambling musical comedy from 1980 that made John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd superstars. Here's our analysis of this must-see Windy City flick:

It crosses over into several genres, including musical, comedy, action/adventure, road picture, and buddy film.
Its basic plot is threadbare thin; instead, the main narrative thrust are entertaining set pieces and vignettes in which the brothers encounter one unforgettable character/musical legend after another; strung together and enhanced by spectacular car chases and stunts, it the film is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Those car chases and stunts are old-school fantastic; they look very destructive and expensive and real; no strings or CGI attached. With this bang-em-up approach, the film serves as a wish fulfillment vehicle for the viewer’s destructive, demolition derby-hungry tendencies.  
It’s the quintessential Chicago film: arguably more than any other motion picture, this movie represents the Windy City, including many of its famous landmarks and buildings, as well as its people, work ethic, dialects, and overall vibe, with accuracy and attention to detail. 
o DVD Verdict reviewer Dan Mancini wrote: “The impact on the quality of The Blues Brothers from its having been not only set in Chicago but made by men who knew and loved the city can't be underestimated. Saturday Night may have been live from New York, but The Blues Brothers is a Chicago movie, tried and true. It shares an anarchic distrust of authority with the film comedies of Chaplin, The Marx Brothers, and many, many others, but the Blues Brothers offers a specifically working class, Midwestern variety of anarchy. When informed by a cop that traffic is blocked by the American Socialist White People's Party, who have successfully sued for the right to parade (anyone who lived in Chicago in the '70s and '80s will remember the highly publicized court cases upon which the scene is based), Jake Blues casually observes that he hates "Illinois Nazis." There's no moral outrage in Belushi's classic delivery of the line, only a pragmatic disdain at having been inconvenienced by a bunch of fringe whackos—it's the low-key response of a Midwesterner, pure and simple. The entire film is loaded with similarly matter-of-fact, common sensical mockery of authority figures and their bureaucratic folly.”
It’s one of only a handful of movies featuring SNL alums that is actually well-made, entertaining and worth rewatching. 
Belushi and Aykroyd actually perform and are not dubbed over by professionals; Belushi sings, and Aykroyd sings backup and plays the harmonica. Additionally, the actors playing the band members are actual professional musicians from bands like Booker T & the MGs, Blood Sweat and Tears, and the Saturday Night Live Band.
There is no true villain in the movie, unless you count the neo-Nazis, police officers, and country/western band pursuing them. Additionally, there’s no drama between the brothers or contrived sibling conflict meant to ratchet up the tension. 
Interestingly, although the Belushi and Aykroyd are the famous comedic leads cast here, they play their roles as straight men who react “with the same deadpan nonchalance to the chaos that erupts around them,” wrote blogger Sam Dulmage, who added: “The two characters are very close to being a single character. For the most part, their actions and reactions are identical. But imagine a single character in their place reacting with the same nonchalant deadpan. Funny? Maybe. But not a tenth as funny as Aykroyd and Belushi deadpanning in unison. This is a highly nuanced clown double act.” 

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