John Belushi dominates Blues Brothers, throwing himself down stairs, flipping through a church, singing on stage, and talking his way into and out of trouble with unheard-of confidence and charm. How do you compete with Belushi? You can’t, but the dance between he and Aykroyd only adds to the proceedings, giving the film a Bob Hope/Bing Crosby road-movie feel, even if the road doesn’t go more than 106 miles outside of Chicago before sprinting back for an over-the-top conclusion.
Hope and Crosby made seven road movies, by the way. Go through these carefully selected Blues Brothers moments and think about how amazing it would have been to see Jake and Elwood go on seven adventures.
“We’re on a mission from God” – Elwood
Set off on a divine mission to save the Penguin’s orphanage by putting $5,000 in Steven Spielberg’s hand, Jake and Elwood get the band back together and hit the road, countering their doubters by letting them know that Yahweh is their booking agent on this particular leg of the tour.
“Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke.” – Jake
I’ve never actually been in a restaurant that serves whole fried chickens. Are these chickens broken down into pieces (a style I am entirely familiar with) or is an actual whole chicken plopped into a mega-fryer? I hate to use you like Bing, but sometimes DVD commentaries don’t have all the answers.
Also, this scene leads into an Aretha Franklin musical hot take in the form of a performance of “Think” to answer Matt “Guitar” Murphy’s whole, “I’m the man and you’re the woman” nonsense. The dubbing is sucky and I’m preferable to Ray Charles’ “Shake A Tail Feather,” as musical moments go, but it’s still the Queen doing her thing, so show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
“Whip sound” – Whip
Essentially trapped in a chicken cage at a bar that specializes in both country AND western music, the Blues Brothers improvise and sooth the crowd with a rendition of the theme from Rawhide. The best part is Jake’s use of the whip, which stands atop all other comedic whip/tool moments from ’80s movies, narrowly edging out Mickey Rourke in the 9 1/2 Weeks riding crop scene.
“How much for the little girl? How much for the women?” – Jake
People don’t always get the joke when you repeat this line in public and inquire about buying their loved ones. Call this a disclaimer or call it a warning from a friend.
“Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.” – Burton Mercer
There are a ton of great throw-away food lines in this film. One I’ll get to later, another is Jake’s submission to the nectar known as Night Train wine, and then there’s arguably John Candy’s best contribution to this film as he orders up a round of Orange Whips while taking in a show before trying to apprehend Jake and Elwood. #CampCandy4Lyfe
I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! It wasn’t my fault, I swear to God!” – Jake
Jake is, pretty clearly, a monster for the way he tortured Carrie Fisher’s character when he left her at the altar and then stubbornly refused to die no matter the amount of firepower she threw at him. And yet, it’s really difficult to not laugh HARD when, after delivering this barrage of excuses and flashing his big beautiful eyes, he unbelievably wins another chance and then drops her cold after a kiss.
Unsurprisingly, there are some great purely physical laughs in this movie — Jake falling down the stairs after meeting with the Penguin, her beating them with a ruler till the damn thing snaps, the guys trying to avoid the spotlights, and all the car-chase scenes — but this one shouldn’t be overlooked.
“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.” – Elwood
Never start a road trip without reciting this line.
“The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!” – Elwood
Not a particularly important line, just an excuse to show the mall car chase.
“Did you get me my Cheez Whiz, boy?” – The Cheez Whiz
The epitome of a throwaway line, here Elwood and Jake’s trip upstairs to Elwood’s sh*thole hotel room is interrupted by the bark of a man affectionately know as The Cheez Whiz. Who is he? In the realm of the film, he’s just a dude who likes pasty cheese who is good enough to Elwood to warrant a favor, but in life he was Layne “Shotgun” Britton, a makeup artist to stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Belushi.
Old Hollywood, where even the makeup artists had cool nicknames.
“Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”/”Sweet Home Chicago”
The Blues Brothers film had some great lines, some underrated cinematography, and fantastic chase scenes (all thanks, in part, to director/co-writer John Landis), but the music was the beating heart. As evidenced — first and foremost — by these two clips.
This is an updated version of a post that originally ran in August of 2015.