Illinois residents have picked “The Blues Brothers” as the top movie in state history, making it the first item on a list of Illinois’ top 200 people, places and things.
The list is being compiled as part of Illinois’ bicentennial celebration. Every two weeks, people may cast votes online for their favorites in a new category. By early December voters will have selected 10 favorites in 20 categories.
More than 1,500 people voted on the first category, selecting the movie featuring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The next movies selected were “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “A League of Their Own.”
OK, I’m finally on board with this bicentennial thing.
For one of the most memorable comedy films of the late 20th century, The Blues Brothers starts grimly enough, with an arresting aerial shot of industrial Chicago, as the smoke from dark satanic chimneys smear the sunset. It’s as if director John Landis is tipping us off that what follows, a film of madcap fun and action rampage, is comic escapism from the bleak modern American life.
To obtain the seven limousines for the wedding party, my father used up his last favor with Mad Pete Trullo.
Jake: You traded the Bluesmobile for this?
Elwood: No, for a microphone.
Jake: A microphone?
Jake: Okay I can see that.
* Some of my friends have memorized the entire script…
Four fried chickens and a Coke.
I hate Illinois Nazis!
* Plus the great music and by-then-forgotten African-American stars (who even knew that Cab Calloway was still alive?), a car chase under the L tracks, SWAT teams…
No, sir, Mayor Daley no longer dines here. He’s dead, sir.
Every frame, every song, every sentence of that movie is something I hold dear. Plus it’s about a couple of misfit musicians trying to do a good deed for once. I’ve known people like that most of my adult life…
Jake, you get wise. You get to church.
The film’s back-story was even fascinating. Anyway, I have lots of work to do today and I wish I had more time, so I’ll close with this…
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve loved everything about this movie since the first time I saw it during one of WGN’s several hundred thousand screenings of it.
The day can’t come soon enough that my now two year old son and I can watch- and appreciate- this movie together.
Thanks for the background detail, Rich. I was not aware that such a bill was introduced. Nonetheless, another part of the production was that scenes were shot in the actual governmental offices in the Cook County Building on North Clark Street.
- Scott Cross for President - Tuesday, Mar 6, 18 @ 1:40 pm:
Just watched it this past weekend. It was my youngests birthday and that’s what she wanted to watch.
We went to the St. Louis art museum the next day.
“is that where they’ve got the Picaso? yep. ”
We also can’t say the word glue without the quote.
Ice cream place?
“orange whip, orange whip, orange whip?”
Do yourself a solid, read the whole Vanity Fair article.
This is a film I love, and love all the back stories, side stories, the lore about this film, from inception to Mayor Byrne.
The 300+ page screenplay… that’s like 5 hours of screen time, less transitions.
What was great when this was finally “figured”, the music was a character, the musical legends that we all buy into that they are in this Blues Brothers universe and never blink that Aretha Franklin runs a soul food diner or James Brown, just slide on down to the Triple Rock, he’s there, preaching.
Ferris Bueller and Wrigley? Yeah, that’s cute.
Elwood Blues using 1060 W. Addison as his address? That’s just genius.
Paul Schaffer not in the cast, Carrie Fisher cast…
“That’s where they got that Picasso”
The Blues Brothers is art of distinction. Best Illinois movie.
No argument with the winner and most of those on the list.
(I really dislike everything about No. 10, “Ordinary People,” a glorified “Lifetime” flick. That it won Best Picture over “Raging Bull” and Redford was named Best Director instead of Scorsese is ridiculous beyond belief).
Glaring omission from the list: “Call Northside 777,” 1948, directed by Henry Hathaway.
Based on a true story, Jimmy Stewart is a skeptical-then-earnest reporter who saves a wrongly convicted schnook (Richard Conte AKA “Don Barzini) from Death Row.
Fabulous B+W location shooting all around Chicago, at Stateville and in Springfield.
easily the best movie about Illinois. Saw it at the Chicago theater way back in the day. Love love love the entire Nazi sub plot. And the retreating “penguin.” the southside street dance scene. the chase scene in Park Ridge. it’s a tour of upstate Illinois.
I am glad to see “Eight Men Out” made the list. Although many scenes had to be filmed at a minor league ballpark in Indiana, the production made a great effort to get details correct. It was bolstered by performances by a couple of Chicago area actors, the late great John Mahoney and John Cusack. D. B. Sweeney moved to the Chicago suburbs for a time, but I do not know if he and his family are still locals.
I don’t know where John Landis is from, but Akroyd is not from Illinois. yet, those writers got things into the script that resonated wonderfully with Illinois. (Landis also wrote another movie fav, Animal House. everybody knows a Niedermeier.)
wordslinger you are right about “Ordinary People,” but the Untouchables is even worse.
So many things wrong with that movie, from Andy Garcia’s phrasing of Racine as “Rahh-cine,” to the ridiculous distillery on LaSalle Street to the trip to Canada to ride horses and shoot guns to changing Frank Nitti’s death from suicide to death from being thrown from a rooftop.
Loved the Blues Brothers but hate hate hate the Untouchables
Blues Brothers. And it is has a small link to state government. The movie mall chase scene was filmed at the old Dixie Square Shopping Mall in Harvey. The mall housed the South Suburban Public Aid office. Some of the office staff wound up being extras on the movie. So that is a down home Illinois connection, beyond Belushi and Second City.
Crazy that “Thief” is not on the list. Among other settings, the film features the Green Mill, a used car dealer on Western Ave, and a leafy neighborhood in what has to be Oak Park. Michael Mann, a Chicagoan, focuses on the people, places, and stories tucked away in the neighborhoods, far from the Sears Tower or BOT building, and made a film that has always resonated with me in a way that no other Chicago film does.
As far as movie quotes go it’s hard to beat Airplane! And Monty Python’s Holy Grail but BB is right up there. My favorite is “ what kind of music do you usually have here? We play both kinds…country and western.”
Agree with Wordslinger that omitting Northside 777 was a big oversight. It is one of my top 50 films. And while I liked the Blues Brothers a lot, most of its appeal really is broad humor and rich white guys singing the blues.
=I’ve been wanting to watch it with my nine year old son but I’m hesitant due to the amount of swearing.=
Went to see it in the theater with my mother when I was 4. Then she bought me a little toy police car that I believed for years was a Blues Brothers toy because it jumped after it rolled a certain distance. Used to roll it around pretending there was a loudspeaker on top. She would play the soundtrack (8-track I believe) and we would sing and dance.
When I got to college and the marching Illini still had the Blues Brothers act, it was like a trip back in time.
the best movie ever anywhere, asking for the union cards is good, but below is my favorite.
Mrs. Murphy: We got two honkies out there dressed like Hasidic diamond merchants.
Matt Murphy: Say what?
Mrs. Murphy: They look like they’re from the CIA, or somethin’.
I saw both Belushi and Akroyd at Second City, in 1974 (my senior year in high school.) Before, and after, we also went across the street to the “Earl of Old Town” bar — and got to hear two mosttky unknown singer/guitarists: John Prine; Steve Goodman. - Dan Akroyd was not “from” Chicago, but his time with Belushi at Second City here certainly shaped The Blues Brothers, and also many other characters they created in the first years of Saturday Night Live (Cheezbugah, cheezbugah, cheezbugah!”) Most forget, the characters of the Blues Brothers were created during their years on Saturday Night Live, and the film was another attempt to “frame a movie around” some of those characters.
=== Kind of surprised the Breakfast Club wasn’t in the top ten. ===
The Breakfast Club, while taking place and filmed in Illinois, isn’t really a movie that highlights Illinois. Ninety-five percent of the film is filmed inside a high school. To include the Breakfast Club, one should include any John Hughes movie.
In addition to being eminently quotable and totally awesome, the Blues Brothers inspired a cool poster that Chevy dealers gave away in 1985 with the Chicago Bears offensive line dressed as the Black and Blues Brothers.
I am saddened that the delayed opening of “Death Wish” prevented its consideration for the “Top Ten.” A fair amount of location shooting was done in Chicago.
- Cable Line Beer Gardener - Tuesday, Mar 6, 18 @ 5:51 pm:
I worked at DuComm when they filmed the gas station blowing up near West Chicago. DuComm was located in the old bomb shelter at the DuPage County Complex. The explosion was too good and wiped out power lines leading to DuComm. I never realized how dark a bomb shelter is without lights, but to us it was ok, they were making a movie in the area.
On the night the ground war started in the first Gulf War I was deployed with the National Guard as an MP. I was assigned a route control point for units moving up to the berm to enter Iraq. A British engineer unit arrived early and had to be held for awhile. Talking to the British commander he asked where I was from, when I told him Illinois he responded, “Chicago… The Blues Brothers”. Had a good laugh and gave him an ISP patch, he recognized the patch from the movie. Orange Whips for everyone!
I was stationed in Greece when this movie came out……and we took the train to Patras to see it. They showed it in english but weI missed a lot of the funny stuff because the subtitles came up before the audio and the Greeks laughed loud enough to drown out the lines.
A brief portion of “Thief” was filmed in Budlong Woods (a quiet residential neighborhood on the North side that was largely developed in the Fifties). Were we ever disappointed that once the editing was done there was only a brief glimpse of the home where James Caan and Tuesday Weld entertained his partner Jim Belushi.
The climax of the film was shot at the same home (on Catalpa Avenue). A false front had been constructed so it would appear that the home was destroyed by explosives. The special effects crew did something wrong and the building suffered extensive fire damage when the pyrotechnics got out of control. The original house had to be demolished and several smaller homes were built at the site. Nonetheless, it seemed to us that the movie was edited and not much of the explosion made it on to the screen.