... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

433: Watching a film

Blues Brothers is on TV, and I'm watching it, with adverts despite having it on DVD and having seen it so many times I couldn't count. It is unquestionably one of the best films ever made (I put it at the top along with Wall-E and Evil Dead 2; in my language that's as high a praise as is possible). Of course there is the wonderful music, of which Aretha Franklin singing Think is the best musical moment from any film ever; but there is also the hilarious script and acting, the relentless unreal,surreal,nonsensism, the fact it is just so damn cool. It is a musical for men who cry when they hear Johnny Cash Hurt and dance when they hear James Brown, who love Die Hard and Ghostbusters. But this is all old news. It's thirty years old and has spawned infinite crappy tribute acts and shitty stag-do costumes.

Jesus tap-dancing Christ, I love this film: the end car chase where the BlueMobile somehow does a flying backward somersault over the NaziMobile, which then drives off the end of an unfinished fly-over sending those Hitler-fanciers flying thousands of metres into the sky. Their car falls from the clear sky, crashing through the street, and the BluesMobile leaps over the hole. Anyway, what struck me, and the reason I started writing this is that I've seen it so many times I have now started paying more attention to the low-key scenes. Yes the musical numbers and car chases are great. But it is the unusual, seemingly insignificant scenes that hold it together, and raise it above so many forgettable films.

My favourite is the short, quiet and sedate scene after the first Princess Leia attack, and the famous line you get my Cheez Whiz, boy, when Elwood takes his brother Jake home. Jake has just left prison and been picked up by Elwood, only to find that his car has been traded for a microphone, their band has disbanded and Elwood has been lying about it. We see Elwoods tiny little flat; a room no bigger than a corridor, with a single bed, fridge, tiny stove, and a chair; probably smaller than a prison cell. Trains go passed the window so often you won't even notice it shaking everything in the room. The room is in a hotel with a sign outside saying Men Only, Transients Welcome. This tragic existence has been poor Elwood's lonely existence while Jake has been in prison, and most of the disasters and pratfalls that follow can be traced to Elwood's desire to get away from this and have a bit of fun with his brother. Seeing Elwood's room is the most tragic and humanising part of the film.

Thoughts over. I've got to go. No time to edit or read back to myself.

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