So last night I had a few glasses of wine and watched The Blues Brothers. I am thoroughly baffled as to why this movie is so well-liked. R. and I actually turned the movie off with half an hour to go. We don’t do that. We are movie finishers. If the movie is awful, even if we’re discussing how awful it is, we stick it out. We’re victims of the Movie Watching Sunk Cost Fallacy, I suppose, even though we know we’ll feel very, very bitter about those wasted few hours.
So. Blues Brothers. A movie so bafflingly unfunny to us that it was abandoned mid-watch. We were both confused, since we’d often heard people talk glowingly of it. So funny! John Belushi! Dan Aykroyd! Blues! The movie that made SNL sketches viable movie subjects! (Okay, so that last one is probably nothing to brag about.) Hell, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi are funny in most things I’ve seen them in. And yet, R. described it as anti-funny and I agreed. It was bad enough that he felt compelled to compare it to Club Dread, which is pretty much as low as it can go for movie comparisons. Looking back on the parts we watched (we turned it off right after Carrie Fisher tried to gun John Belushi down in the sewer after they were running from the police at the concert hall) we could only remember actually laughing once, at Dan Aykroyd’s ELWOOD knuckle tattoo. That was it.
After turning it off, I pulled out my laptop and started Googling, attempting to figure out where we’d gone wrong. Maybe we’d heard from a few biased fans? Maybe we just hallucinated the reviews we’d heard? Possibly it relied on some running SNL-type gag that we, not having been around in the late ’70s, were unaware of? Nope. Couldn’t find evidence that we just didn’t know the running gags, or that anyone really disliked the movie aside from us. The damn thing has a 7.9 star rating on IMDB. 85% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. 4.2 stars on Netflix. For fuck’s sake, Ebert liked it. That sound you heard yesterday around midnight? That was my brain popping. (I tried to share this information with R., but was quickly asked not to on the grounds that the movie made him “too angry.”)
Honestly, I’m still trying to sort it out. Why did John Belushi talk to the band at that country bar? Why did they then decide to chase him all over the place? Was it just because he claimed he was from the Union? He didn’t even manage to scam money off of them! How the hell did they fill the concert hall? Was the megaphone on the car to advertise the concert supposed to be so ludicrous that it would get a laugh? It didn’t. Come to think of it, how the fuck did they even get that gig overnight?! Nazis! What the fuck! And for Christ’s sake – Carrie Fisher trying to kill them over and over again in increasingly ridiculous ways just wasn’t remotely amusing! Argh.
So all of this is partially to vent, obviously, because someone thinks this movie is worth two hours of their time, and we’re all entitled to our opinions. (Although don’t be surprised if you get a serious side-eye from me if you admit to liking it. I may respect your right to have an opinion, but make no mistake: I’m still judging you, I’m just doing it silently.) The main purpose of writing this, really is to try to figure out what is causing this massive disconnect between my perception of this movie and everyone else’s. I’ve come up with three reasons:
- This movie is hilarious, and I have the sense of humor of a wet rag.
- No one actually likes this movie. Its praise is part of an elaborate conspiracy created by people who saw it in the early ’80s in an attempt to determine just how gullible future generations are to hype.
- R. and I are potentially the only sane human beings on the planet, and we should all weep for humanity.
I’m leaning towards some combination of numbers 2 and 3.