Many people associate the movie “The Blues Brothers” first and foremost with a great blues music.
We all agree that this is one of the best films about the blues.
Those who are resistant to the music at least know that it’s a great comedy.
An interesting thesis puts Matt Hardigree, who thinks that this film can be regarded as the greatest American movie about cars:
The ’70s was largely a terrible time in this grand old country for cars, politics, fashion, the environment, industry, the economy, sex, drugs, television, and pretty much every thing else. The ’70s was just a screwed up time.
What we get out of the John Landis-directed, Dan Aykroyd-penned musical action road trip comedy is a farewell to all of it. A giant flaming middle finger to the gilded decadence of a decade not worth remembering, backed by Carrie Fisher with an actual flamethrower.
The film’s anti-heroes can scarcely see the point in continuing a normal, humdrum existence when they could just put together a band to make real music as opposed to the shitty disco and faux tropicana crap rotting the brains of too many polyester-clad fakers.
They may be singing American rhythm-and-blues music, but “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues are punk.
If the movie wasn’t already great for the comedy, the music, and the countless historic cameos :
John Lee Hooker,
… it would be worth it for the ceaseless assault on mediocre American cars.
While a Bentley does show up and, of course, Twiggy drives a Jaguar XK-E, there are really only two cars in the film: the Bluesmobile and every other piece of Detroit-built shit.
The Bluesmobile is, in theory, a single retired 1974 Dodge Monaco Mount Prospect, Illinois patrol car (in reality they say they used a dozen cars). A simple, workingman’s vehicle that’s the last model made before the OPEC oil crisis ruined American muscle cars. Just listen to, arguably, the most famous speech of the film
“It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.”
It’s this nostalgia that fuels the Bluesmobile and allows it to beat back all the Malaise Era-restricted cars that attempt to thwart it. Whether it’s an Illinois Nazi (I hate them) in a Ford Pinto Station Wagon or hundreds of later model Dodge Polaras and Ford LTDs, nothing can stop this humble American iron on its Mission From God.
No matter whether you agree with what Matt says, or you know the better movies about cars, then certainly after those few short extracts, you want to watch the Blues Brothers again. At least I can’t stop myself.
Photo by Stig Nygaard