The Blues Brothers

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Little Bit of History: Directed by John Landis and written by Dan Aykroyd & John Landis, released by Universal Pictures in 1980. This film is a wonderful mix of comedy, music and car chases. Featuring an amazing all star cast of some of the greatest blues/soul musicians ever. The film début of the classic Saturday Night Live characters of the same name.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: The plot is pretty simple. The recently released from jail; Jake Blues is reunited with his brother; Elwood. They pay a visit to their old orphanage where they were raised and agree to get money to keep the old place open by reforming their old band to play some gigs and raise the money needed.

Little Bit of Character: So many characters to cover here starting with the titular brothers; Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) Blues. The ‘penguin’; Sister Mary Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman), Reverend Cleophus James (James Brown), Ray (Ray Charles), Mrs. Murphy (Aretha Franklin), Curtis (Cab Calloway), then there are the ever persistent Burton Mercer (John Candy), Illinois Nazi leader (Henry Gibson) and Jake’s mysterious girlfriend (Carrie Fisher) as the characters trying to chase and stop The Blues Brothers in their “mission from God”. That’s before we even get to The Blues Brothers Band; Steve “the Colonel” Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Murphy Dunne, Willie “Too Big” Hall, Tom “Bones” Malone, “Blue Lou” Marini, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and “Mr. Fabulous” Alan Rubin. Plus cameos from Steven Spielberg, John Lee Hooker, Twiggy, Paul Reubens, Chaka Khan, Charles Napier and Frank Oz among others. The film is full of amazing talent.

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Little Bit of Influence: The Blues Brothers started out as a simple musical sketch on the infamous Saturday Night Live TV show, but it grew into this film and spawned a very successful franchise. With a sequel movie; Blues Brothers 2000. They also had several music albums; Briefcase Full of Blues (1978), Made in America (1980), The Blues Brothers Band Live in Montreux (1990), Red, White & Blues (1992), Blues Brothers and Friends: Live from Chicago’s House of Blues (1997) as well as two movie soundtracks and even several compilation albums. Then there were numerous Blues Brothers video games. Plus they even had their own bar; The Blues Brothers Bar was an illegal back-house tavern started by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd themselves, until it was discovered by authorities and forced to close in 1982.

Little Bit of Memories: I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw this film, I have seen it so many times they all kind of blur into one. But I’m pretty sure an old family friend, Mike Price (I bet he can still recite the opening monologue to ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’) was the one who introduced me to this film when I was a kid. The film is a huge cult classic with die hard fans all over the world. Since falling in love with the film, I have seen several Blues Brothers tribute acts and even the official Blues Brothers live show. I always make sure to watch the live Blues Brothers show at Universal Studios every time I go. I do recall introducing others to this film, including my oldest and best mate, Paul, who loves the film just as much as I do.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable today? Hell yes. Its one of the greatest films ever made. Amazing music, some of the best car chases ever caught on film, damn funny comedy and a cast that is so full of talent, I can’t think of any other film that comes close. The fact the band are a real band full of respected musicians and can actually play really adds to the musical elements of this film. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were at the top of their game and their chemistry is unmatched. Plus the film is directed by the mighty John Landis, one of the greatest film directors of the 80s. This film is my Bible.

Now, its about here in my movie overviews where I choose a line from the film that is memorable, funny, iconic, witty, emotional, etc. Just one line that sparks off some kind of a memory. The trouble with The Blues Brothers is that is has so many iconic and memorable lines its impossible to select just one. I could write up a dozen quotes from the film and still not even scratch the surface, which one do I choose?

“We’re on a mission from God.”?
“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas…”?
“Four fried chickens and a Coke.”?
“Well thank you, pal. The day I get outta prison, my own brother picks me up in a police car!”?
“How much for the little girl? How much for the women?”?
“It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks…”?
“It wasn’t a lie, it was just bullshit.”?
“Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips.”?
“No, ma’am. We’re musicians.”?
“I offered to help you… You refused to take our money. Then I said: I guess you’re really up Shit Creek!”?
“We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.”?
“So, Jake, you’re out, you’re free, you’re rehabilitated. What’s next? What’s happenin’? What you gonna do? You got the money you owe us, motherfucker?”?
“Ow, you fat penguin!”?
“2000 bucks and it’s yours. You can take it home with you. As a matter of fact, I’ll throw in the black keys for free.”?
“You on the motorcycle… You two girls… tell your friends.”?
“Jake, you get wise. You get to church.”?
“The Blues Brothers? Shit! They still owe you money, fool.”?
“Did you get me my Cheez Wiz, boy?”?
“You’re gonna look pretty funny tryin’ to eat corn on the cob with no fuckin’ teeth!”?
“Breaks my heart to see a boy that young goin’ bad.”?
“Get out, and don’t come back until you’ve redeemed yourselves.”?
“You want I should wash the dead bugs off the windshield?”?
“Why not? If the shit fits, wear it.”?

I need to stop and select a quote before I go on too much… I know, too late.

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Elwood:Hey, Jake. Gotta be at least seven dollars worth of change here.

I actually want to do a more in-depth look at this film and The Blues Brothers in general when I have more time. As the making of the film has some really interesting titbits and stories behind it. But that will have to wait until a later date… or you can just click here.

Anyway, thanks for introducing me to this film Mike.
“YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST… I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!”

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Purple Rain

2016 is proving to be a rather upsetting year.

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Little Bit of History: Directed by Albert Magnoli and starring the musical legend Prince. Released in 1984. Prince came up with a basic concept that became this film during his Triple Threat/1999 tour from 1982.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: The Kid (Prince) is a talented but troubled lead singer of a group called; The Revolution. The Kid has a tumultuous relationship with his mother and father, so he loses himself in his music. The band start to perform at the First Avenue nightclub. The Kid discovers his girlfriend, Apollonia being lined up to replace The Revolution as The Kid struggles to maintain his career and his home life begins to dissolve.

Little Bit of Character: The Kid (Prince) is backed up with other characters; Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero), Morris (Morris Day), Mother (Olga Karlatos) and Father (Clarence Williams III)

Little Bit of Influence: The film was released with a stunning soundtrack that featured such songs as; When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and of course the titular; Purple Rain. The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score, while the soundtrack sold over 25 million worldwide.

Little Bit of Memories: I have to be honest, I never watched this until probably about 4/5 years ago. So don’t really have many great memoires to share.

Little Bit of Watchability: Watching it now, it is very cheesy and self indulgent from Prince. Plus lets be honest, Prince couldn’t act…but he sure could write and perform a song. This is not a great film,but there are some really great moments in it and the relationship between The Kid and his parents packs quite a bit of emotion. Still worth watching, but its just a very average film overall.

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The Kid:You’re lying. I can tell just by your reaction, you’re lying.

Prince

Prince:I’ve got more hits than Madonna’s got kids.

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Labyrinth

We have lost a legend.

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Little Bit of History: Released by Lucasfilm in 1986 and directed by Jim Henson with a screenplay by Monty Python’s Terry Jones. A magical mixture of music, dance, comedy, thrills and puppets. Labyrinth was the first film ever to feature a fully computer generated animal.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: 15 year old Sarah has to babysit for her younger brother, Toby. Frustrated by Toby’s constant crying, Sarah wishes for the goblins to take Toby away…and they do. Sarah must then enter the eponymous labyrinth and try to get to the castle in the middle to reclaim her brother from The Goblin King.

Little Bit of Character: Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is joined by a cast of amazing and wonderful characters including; Hoggle, Ludo, Sir Didymus and his (sometimes) faithful dog Ambrosius. All topped off with Jareth-The Goblin King (David Bowie) and his impressive codpiece.

Little Bit of Influence: The film went on to inspire a manga sequel called; Return To Labyrinth. As well as a prequel graphic novel which is in the works announced by Archaia Studios. There was even a sequel film that almost made it to the big screen called; Curse of the Goblin King, but ultimately is was decided to take the film in a different direction and the film was reworked and relased as MirrorMask in 2005.

Little Bit of Memories: I don’t really recall the first time I saw this, but whenever it was, it made a lasting impression on me. It a film I have grown with and love more and more each time I see it.

Little Bit of Watchability: This has to be my favourite non-Muppets Jim Henson puppet film. I often watch some old films I loved as a kid and can never work out why I liked them. This film is one I find even more enjoyable now than I did (almost) 30 years ago. The story is simple but it really works. Sarah is a loveable heroine and the characters she meets are equally as enjoyable (must mention the little worm she meets near the beginning: “I’m just a worm. Say, come inside, and meet the missus.”). Brilliant cast of fun, outrageous characters all levelled out with the main villain, Jareth played perfectly by the recently gone David Bowie.

Jerad

Jareth:You remind me of the babe…

Bowie

David Bowie:I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.

Thanks for the music and everything else over the years David.

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The Evil Dead

Its Halloween, so I’m going to turn the spotlight on one of my all time favourite horror films ever made…

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Little Bit of History: Written and directed by Sam Raimi. Produced by Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Robert Tapert. The Evil Dead was relased in 1981 but filmed over several years between 1977 and 1979.
The film is technically a remake of Sam Raimi’s own (any VERY low quality) Within The Woods which was a film Sam made to show to investors in order to help fund The Evil Dead. Originally titled; The Book Of The Dead, but re-titled to The Evil Dead as there wad concern people would think they would have to read during the film.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: A group of five friends go to a cabin in the woods to do what teenagers do, smoke weed and have sex. However they unleash an evil force by playing a recording that has been made by a professor who translated an ancient text. The evil, possesses the friends one by one turning them into demons (not zombies). Each one becomes possessed until only one remains and manages to survive and beat the evil…or do they?

Little Bit of Character: Bruce Campbell plays the unlikely hero, Ash with Betsy Baker playing his girlfriend Linda. Ellen Sandweiss plays Cheryl, Richard DeManincor (credited as Hal Delrich) was Ash’s best friend Scott with Theresa Tilly (as Sarah York) playing Shelly.

Little Bit of Influence: The Evil Dead started with very humble beginnings but had a strong cult following and went on to spawn its own franchise with two sequels, a string of games based on the film(s), comic books and even a live stage show musical. The film also went on to be remade (really well) in 2013. There is even a TV show called Ash Vs Evil Dead coming out in a few days. The Evil Dead has gone on to become a world (in)famous phenomenon, not too bad seeing as the film was made by a bunch of inexperienced teenagers only filming on the weekends when they could over the course of several years. Writer/director Sam Raimi became one of the biggest names working in Hollywood today.

Little Bit of Memories: I have vague memories of seeing this film on an old projector back in the early 80s and I’m from England where the film was banned outright for many years so where that copy of the film came from I have no idea. I rediscovered the film many years later in my late teens in the late 90s but it was heavily edited. It was not until the early 2000’s when a change in management at the BBFC saw many previously banned or heavily edited films finally relased fully uncut that I saw The Evil Dead as it was intended.

Little Bit of Watchability: This is one of my all time favourite films ever made. Its very low budget, cheesy, badly acted…but it is a film that clearly had a lot of heart and passion from the people involved in making it. Despite its low budget and lack of experienced cast and crew, the film is beautifully shot and really innovative for its time. I urge any and every horror fan to watch this even if only once, but please put aside the low quality script, acting, etc and just enjoy one of the most terrifying and gruesome horror films of the 70s/80s.

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Cheryl:You will die! Like the others before you, one by one, we will take you.

There’s more Evil Dead to come with my look at the original Commodore 64 game as well as try to clear up the “is Evil Dead II a remake?” misconception…join us…

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Groundhog Day

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Little Bit of History: Written and directed by Harold Ramis, relased in 1993. In 2006, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In June 2008, AFI acknowledged Groundhog Day as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Phil Connors, a self centred and arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over, again and again.

Little Bit of Character: Murray plays Phil Connors with Andie MacDowell as love interest Rita Hanson. With Chris Elliott as Larry the camera man, Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. Even Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray appears as Buster Green.

Little Bit of Influence: In 2004, Italian film director Giulio Manfredonia shot a remake of Groundhog Day under the title of È già ieri (It’s Yesterday Already). The Tom Cruise starring film, Edge of Tomorrow is often cited as a Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day. Plus a stage musical version of the film is scheduled to premiere in 2016.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall going to see this with my old pal, Paul with our friend Dean (at the Odeon cinema on New Street, Birmingham). If I remember correctly we were actually going to the cinema to watch something else, but that film had already started, so we decided to go watch Groundhog Day instead…and glad we did too. It was and still is an amazing film.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable? Oh yes, very much so. I actually find it a far better film now than I did back in the 90s. It’s brilliantly written and directed by Harold Ramis with Bill Murray on top form playing the awkward Phil Connors. If you have never seen Groundhog Day, you NEED to see this film right now.

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Phil Connors:What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

Please, also have a read of my Harold Ramis “In Memorandum”.

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Little Bit of History: Written & directed by Harold Ramis, relased in 1993. In 2006, Groundhog Day was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and in June 2008, AFI acknowledged the film as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a self centred and arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over, again and again.

Little Bit of Character: Murray plays Phil Connors with Andie MacDowell as love interest Rita Hanson. With Chris Elliott as Larry the camera man, Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. Even Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray appears as Buster Green.

Little Bit of Influence: In 2004, Italian film director Giulio Manfredonia shot a remake of Groundhog Day under the title of È già ieri (It’s Yesterday Already). The Tom Cruise starring film, Edge of Tomorrow is often cited as a Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day. Plus a stage musical version of the film is scheduled to premiere in 2016.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall going to see this with my old pal, Paul with our friend Dean (at the Odeon cinema on New Street, Birmingham). If I remember correctly we were actually going to the cinema to watch another film entirely, but that film had already begun and we missed the start, so we decided to go watch Groundhog Day instead…and glad we did too. It was and still is an amazing film.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable? I would say very much so indeed. I actually find it a far better film now than I did back in the 90s. It’s a brilliantly written and directed picture Harold Ramis with Bill Murray on top form playing the cantankerous Phil Connors. If you have never seen Groundhog Day, you NEED to see this film right now.

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Phil Connors:This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Please, also have a read of my Harold Ramis “In Memorandum”.

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Little Bit of History: Written & directed by Harold Ramis, relased in 1993. In 2006, Groundhog Day was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and in June 2008, AFI acknowledged the film as the eighth best film in the fantasy genre.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a self centred and arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, he finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over, again and again.

Little Bit of Character: Bill Murray plays Phil Connors with Andie MacDowell as love interest and assistant Rita Hanson. With Chris Elliott as Larry the camera man, Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson. Even Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray appears as Buster Green.

Little Bit of Influence: Italian film director Giulio Manfredonia shot a remake of Groundhog Day under the title of È già ieri (It’s Yesterday Already) in 2004. The Tom Cruise starring film, Edge of Tomorrow is often cited as a Sci-Fi version of Groundhog Day. Plus a stage musical version of the film is scheduled to premiere in sometime 2016.

Little Bit of Memories: I recall going to see this with my old pal, Paul with our friend Dean (at the Odeon cinema on New Street, Birmingham). If I remember correctly we were actually going to the cinema to watch something else, but that film had already started, so we decided to go watch Groundhog Day instead…and glad we did too. It was and still is an amazing film.

Little Bit of Watchability: Is this film still watchable? Oh yes, very much so. I actually find it a far better film now than I did back in the 90s. It’s a brilliantly written and directed picture Harold Ramis with Bill Murray on top form playing the cantankerous Phil Connors. If you have never seen Groundhog Day, you NEED to see this film right now.

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Phil Connors:You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.

Please, also have a read of my Harold Ramis “In Memorandum”.

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