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Vatican Newspaper: 'Blues Brothers' Is a 'Catholic Classic'

5 years ago
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Jake and Elwood Blues as the Catholic Church's newest saints? Not quite. But 30 years after comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd -- a.k.a. "The Blues Brothers" -- let us know they were on "a mission from God," the pope's newspaper has given the John Landis cult film two thumbs up, and then some.

"A Catholic Film" was the title of a commentary by the top editor of L'Osservatore Romano, Gian Maria Vian, who has turned the once staid broadsheet into an often trendy and topical must-read.

The plot of the film -- which grew out of a "Saturday Night Live" skit popularized by Aykroyd and Belushi (who died of a drug overdose in 1982) -- revolves around Jake and Elwood's mission to raise money to save St. Helen of the Blessed
Shroud Orphanage, where they were raised, from foreclosure. Jake (Belushi) has just been released from prison, and the stern head of the orphanage, a scary nun played by the inimitable Kathleen Freeman, tells the brothers they must save the home.

Jake and Elwood (Aykroyd) then see the light (literally) in a spiritual revival show led by James Brown, and the movie duo are off on a rollicking ride to redemption, and jail.

L'Osservatore Romano's fulsome coverage in its Wednesday edition featured five articles and several photos, including a front-page piece titled "On a Mission from God (and for cinema)" that said the film should be recommended viewing for Catholics everywhere. The newspaper notes that Elwood even passes up a chance for a one-night stand with a woman played by Twiggy in order to fulfill the higher calling.

Of course, the duo break any number of civil laws on their way, but it's all for a good cause. "This is a memorable film, and, judging by the facts, a Catholic one," the newspaper said, according to Reuters.

In his editorial, Vian wrote that the evidence of the film's Catholic and spiritual heft "is not lacking in a work where details certainly are not casual." There was a "framed picture of a young and strong John Paul II in a boarding house," Vian said, and St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage was "governed by the mean, but affectionate in her own way, Sister Mary Stigmata, a.k.a. The Penguin."

Certainly the movie's soundtrack, featuring the likes of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Cab Calloway, is a religious experience. And the whole film, if not exactly Bing Crosby in "Going My Way," is a romp worthy of some kind of veneration. "In the end they pull it off," as Vian concludes.

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Dick Adams

The Blues Brothers are petty criminals who are imcapable of holding down a job and live in squalor. They run from the police and destroy a shopping center in the process. Worst of all, they are fans of the team that has lost the most major league baseball games over the last 70 years (1940-2009), the Chicago Cubs.

I fail to see the difference between the Blues Brothers and Vincent (the genetic trash sibling) in Twins.

June 19 2010 at 8:32 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Peggy Marton

Apparently the Pope thinks that "The Blues Brothers" disregard for civil law supports their contempt for our laws against child abuse. I hope they will keep their hands off our classics in their attempts to justify their horrible behaviors. They condone and protect the worst of men rather than raise the best of their priests to public notice. I feel the group should be banned from the United States until it has come to the proper understanding of their corruption.

June 19 2010 at 3:31 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

Finally, the Vatican got something right!

June 19 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They must have watched the TV / cleaned-up version; as I recall, the language in the original is pretty 'salty'.... years ago I recommended the movie to a Pastor, and was shocked a few months later to catch it on HBO with the original dialog -

June 19 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Awww right! Finally, an "edict" from the Catholic Church that i can get behind. LOL Seriously, it's nice to see a little loosening up on the part of the Vatican. Thanks!

June 19 2010 at 9:07 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

When you think about Catholic movies, you just don't picture The Blues Brothers as being one of them. Thinking about it, it certainly is based on what they were trying to do in the movie. Pity that the orphanage didn't exist in real life. I suppose other orphanages did receive increased donations from people who saw the movie.

June 19 2010 at 9:05 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Great flick, but in my opinion this is just the Catholic Church attempting to play politics due to its recent child molestation scandals. By saying The Blues Brothers movie is a Catholic classic, it is trying to say, "See?" "We like cool tunes too!!" (although when much of this music came out, churches everywhere, Catholic included, denounced it AND the people performing it). A Catholic classic? Hogwash! Now the Inquisition? THAT was a Catholic classic!!!!!

June 19 2010 at 7:33 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

A great movie that I never get tired of watching.

June 19 2010 at 6:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"Blues Brothers" and Palin boobs, a light week in religion reporting! Great, David.

June 18 2010 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynn B. Meyer

It has been 30 years? I am getting as old as the Pope!

June 18 2010 at 5:57 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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