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Film / Blues Brothers 2000

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Blues Brothers 2000 is a 1998 comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman. It is a sequel to the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, which was also directed by Landis and starred Aykroyd and John Belushi.

Elwood Blues (Aykroyd) is released from prison and, despite the death of his brother Jake (played by Belushi in the original film), sets out to reunite the surviving members of the Blues Brothers Band. As in the original movie, this involves meeting many famous musicians and inadvertantly making a large number of persistent enemies.

This film contains examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Elwood tries to call it quits for a moment early in the third act when the Bluesmobile conks out and the rest of the band wants to quit themselves. Buster gives him a little speech and he decides to walk to see if he can find some gas, the rest of the band hesitatingly following him a moment later.
  • Acrofatic: Mighty Mack.
  • Affectionate Parody: The scene with John Popper reads like an affectionate parody, verging on a Take That!, of the fans and the unease felt by Landis and Aykroyd whenever blues fans and musicians tell them that the Blues Brothers are these really great blues musicians, on par with B.B. King or other well known names.
  • Alliterative Name: Mighty Mack McTeer.
  • Amphibious Automobile: The updated Bluesmobile can function underwater.
  • As Himself: The band members play themselves. The majority of them were part of the original backing band, and are well known blues and R&B legends, including Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn (both of whom played for Otis Redding, amongst others), and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. Paul Shaffernote  turns up, but he's not actually playing himself — he instead adopts a thick French accent, playing the role of Queen Mousette's aide, Marco. He later takes off the wig and performs with the band, though, for which he gets credited both as Marco and as himself on the end credits list.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Lampshaded when Elwood tells his new partners why they have to dress the same way.
    Mighty Mack: The suit's real neat, but do I have to wear the hat?
    Elwood Blues: These are unsophisticated men. They only respond to fear and the draw of lucre. We elicit this by using iconographic symbols, and psychological intimidation. The way we look together presents a uniform image of strength and organization. Don't say anything. Look mean. No smiling.
  • Battle of the Bands: The film ends with a Battle of the Bands between the Blues Brothers Band and the Louisiana Gator Boys. Unusually for this trope, the title characters lose, but band leader Elwood Blues is on good terms with the Gator Boys' leader, Malvern Gasperone (portrayed by Blues legend B.B. King) after an earlier encounter with him, and so the two bands decide to team up and play one more song together to close out the film.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Elwood's "puffball bacteria." John Goodman's intentional hamming it up and Evan Bonifant's over-the-top screaming are both hilarious, but the rest of the band completely ignoring them is what sells it.
  • Big Bad: The Russian Mafiya.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Blues Brothers 2000 ends with Elwood and Buster racing away from Queen Mousette's contest (leaving the rest of the band behind, playing "Mississippi Queen" with Mousette's band) while chased by a miles-long line of police cruisers (it's so long that it keeps on going in The Stinger). We assume that Elwood will try some crazy stunt to try to lose them eventually (his final line in the film is telling Buster to "buckle up"), but aside from that, anything goes.
  • Bus Crash: The movie begins with Elwood being informed of Jake's death. This is due to John Belushi having died in 1982 and the decision being made not to recast the character.
  • Car Fu: Blues Brothers 2000 held the Guinness World Record for most cars destroyed in a single movie (over 100, as reported by Guinness) for 11 years, beating out the previous record-holder — the original Blues Brothers.
  • Catchphrase: "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
  • Check, Please!: The band's exit from Bob's Country Kitchen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: You see some wiring hooked up to the ignition of the Bluesmobile when they reveal where Elwood is. A short time later, you see the wiring is part of a secondary control method.
  • Closer to Earth: Aretha Franklin's character, who tries to dissuade her husband (Matt "Guitar" Murphy) from rejoining the Blues Brothers.
  • Continuity Nod: In the first film, Elwood's favorite meal is two pieces of dry white toast. In the second film, the police invade Bob's Country Kitchen to look for the Blues Brothers, and notice the table where they were sitting. One of the plates has two pieces of dry white toast on it.
  • Cool Car: It can even drive underwater.
  • Cool Shades:
    • Elwood, as always, has his pair of shades that he takes off only once in the entire film. Even his driver's license has shades. When Cabel tells Elwood to take his hat and glasses off in the office, the camera pans to Cabel, then back to Elwood—covering his eyes with his arm to avoid being blinded by normal indoor light.
    • New core members of the band also get cool shades; when Cabel is converted to the true faith of R&B, his cop shades are turned into cool shades.
  • Cousin Oliver: Elwood gets saddled with being mentor to a heartwarming orphan named Buster as part of the studio's attempt to make the sequel more family-friendly than the original.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: They shrug off a bunch of Russian gangsters chasing them by dumping out a bag of drywall nails, and they drive directly into it. It works.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: When Cabel tells Elwood to take his hat and glasses off in the office, the camera pans to Cabel, then back to Elwood—covering his eyes with his arm to avoid being blinded by normal indoor light.
  • Denser and Wackier: 2000 is a lot more cartoonish than the first film, featuring things such as a voodoo witch who turns the band into zombies and rednecks into rats.
  • Dine and Dash: The band stop at a diner to get some food, but are tracked by some officers looking for Elwood. Upon seeing this, Elwood fakes a disease by covering his head in shaving cream and having Big Mac warn the patrons to stay away as they, along with Buster, stumble out of the building, Big Mac grabbing his sandwich on the way out. Humorously, the owner of the place, who was also the owner of the bar where the band fled without paying in the first movie, experiences deja vu and asks the band if he knows them. The band quickly eat their food and call for their check.
  • Dream Team:
    • The Blues Brothers band is considered a dream team in-universe.
    • The Louisiana Gator Boys are a supergroup led by B.B. King and containing nearly every living R&B great.
  • Ethereal Choir: Heard by Cab when he has an epiphany.
  • Fake Band: The Louisiana Gator Boys are an example of a fake band composed of real musicians. The group doesn't exist outside the movie, but the roster is basically a collection of all the most legendary blues musicians alive at the time of filming, including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley, and Isaac Hayes.
  • Fanservice Extra: Some of the strippers in Blues Brothers 2000 are quite easy on the eyes with their revealing outfits.
  • Fat and Skinny: Mighty Mack and Elwood.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Elwood and Mack find Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin working as an undertaker, and attempt to blackmail him into rejoining the band by disrupting his work until he agrees. This includes interrupting a funeral and talking loudly how they're going to rob the valuables off the corpse and sell his penis to med school as soon as the burial is over. Things take an unexpected turn because the mourners are members of the Russian Mafia, who whip out AK-47s and give chase. The graveyard is destroyed by the ensuing gunfire.
  • Generation Xerox: Cabel Chamberlain sings and dances just like Curtis, and by the end of the movie, Buster has turned into a mini-Elwood.
  • Genre Shift: While the first film has more than its share of goofy, over-the-top humor, the sequel goes more in the direction of outright fantasy, including a performance of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" causing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to appear, Cabel being transformed into a Blues Brother by God, and the climax revolving around a 130-year-old voodoo lady, who temporarily transforms the Blues Brothers into zombies and the pursuing bad guys into rats.
  • Gospel Revival Number: Featuring John The Revelator (although we get a taste of the song during the opening credits too, with Taj Mahal singing solo). It's later on sung again at a Tent Revival by James Brown, Sam "The Supervoice" Moore, and Joe Morton.
  • Happy Ending Override: The sequel starts with Elwood being informed of Jake's death, and later Curtis's as well. To make matters worse, we quickly learn that the orphanage Jake and Elwood went through so much trouble to save in the first movie was shut down anyway sometime in between the two movies.
  • Hell Is That Noise: When Mother Mary extends her baton, your ass WILL draw up to your elbows in terror.
  • Hollywood Police Driving Academy: The cops in the sequel are, if possible, even worse than those in the original. At least when they confront the pileup at the end of Lower Wacker Drive in the first film, the cops stop.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Queen Mousette. At first all her powers seem to do is turn people's skin green and cause them to dance about stiffly to "calypso-funk" music (and temporarily lose their memory). But then we learn she can literally turn people to stone, as well as transform humans into rats.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Buster: It smells like dog shit in here.
    Elwood: Don't say "shit", kid.
    [Buster attempts to light a cigarette, which Elwood confiscates]
    Elwood: You don't need that shit, kid.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Buster with Elwood and Mack (and later, Cab).
  • Just Got Out of Jail: The movie begins with Elwood getting out of jail.
  • Lemming Cops: One of the car chases finishes with the police pursuing the Blues Brothers Band slamming on the brakes to avoid doing a Ramp Jump and crashing into each other for a whole 100 seconds.
    Elwood: Don't look back.
    [the others do]
  • Long List: Elwood runs down the list of musical genres the Blues Brothers are capable of performing. It includes just about every genre imaginable (except Caribbean music, for whatever reason).
  • The Mafiya
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "New Orleans"
  • Motor Mouth: Elwood.
  • Never Bareheaded: As with the Cool Shades, the brothers' hats are never removed, with two momentary exceptions. Elwood takes his hat off two times: when Caleb tells him to do so, and when he's face-to-face with Queen Mousette, as a gesture of respect, prompting the other members of the band to do the same. She appreciates the gesture.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Elwood's well-intentioned attempt to deal with the Russian mob threatening Willie's club promptly gets the club burned down.
  • No Ending: The film ends with Elwood and Buster on the run from authorities; whether they escape is uncertain.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Parodied; after the car crash in 2000, every police officer is shown climbing safely out of the mountain of wrecked cars.
  • Oh, Crap!: Elwood at the climax of 2000, when he sees the Penguin in the audience, and she sees him.
  • Overly Long Gag: The car chase, and especially the police car pile-ups.
  • Pig Latin:
    Cab Chamberlain: I thought you said she was old and ugly.
    Elwood Blues: Ix-nay on the ugly-ay.
  • The Power of Rock:
    • When the Blues Brothers do "Ghost Riders in the Sky", they summon bad weather, the devil's herd, and the ghost riders; lightning even strikes down a sniper.
    • And the "In the Blood/John the Revelator" sequence was certainly doing something.
  • Punk in the Trunk:
    • Elwood gets two Russian gangsters drunk and then stuffs them in the trunk of the Bluesmobile.
    • Later on in the film, the Bluesmobile's trunk becomes Buster's room; we see him sleep in there.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The plot driver is Elwood's quest to reunite the surviving members of the old band, along with a few new recruits.
  • Quit Your Whining: Elwood laments that with his brother and mentor dead, and the orphanage gone, he's got nothing left. Mother Mary tells him briskly to snap out of it and that she didn't raise him to be a quitter.
  • Rank Up: Frank Oz's appearance in 2000 is supposed to imply his property supervisor character from the first movie has been promoted to prison warden in the interim.
  • Real After All: When Elwood mentions Queen Moussette early in the film, he mentions that she is told to be a voodoo witch. Mighty Mack mentions that it's got to be typical false advertisement... nope, she's real, and the supremacists are turned into rats for their problem, and Elwood, Mack and Cab are turned into zombies for a short period of time.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: After John Belushi died in 1982 the character was also killed off. The movie begins with Elwood being informed of Jake's passing.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: A neo-Confederate survivalist militia group is one of the groups the protagonists get on the wrong side of (more or less filling the role the neo-Nazis played in the original film).
  • Road Block: In The Blues Brothers 2000, a roadblock has been set up; Elwood gets around it by driving under a river.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Elwood launches into a semi-inspiring speech (mostly about the many reasons that the Russian Mafia is not, in fact, going to blow up Willy's Strip Club) — but it consists almost entirely of a history lecture on Russian politics that leaves everyone else entirely perplexed.
    • Another one after they've run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, and all but the main three are thinking of just giving up:
      Elwood: You may go if you wish. Remember this: Walk away now and you walk away from your crafts, your skills, your vocations; leaving the next generation with nothing but recycled, digitally-sampled techno-grooves, quasi-synth rhythms, pseudo-songs of violence-laden gangsta-rap, acid pop, and simpering, saccharine, soulless slush. Depart now and you forever separate yourselves from the vital American legacies of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, Memphis Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, Louis Jordan, Little Walter, Big Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I (and II), Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Presley, Leiber and Stoller, and Robert K. Weiss.
      Duck Dunn: Who is Robert K. Weiss?
      [Duck, Cropper, and Bones Malone shrug] note 
      Elwood: Turn your backs now and you snuff out the fragile candles of Blues, R&B, and Soul, and when those flames flicker and expire, the light of the world is extinguished because the music which has moved mankind through seven decades leading to the millennium will wither and die on the vine of abandonment and neglect.
  • Running Gag:
    • Several referring to the first movie, from Elwood throwing the cigarette lighter out the window to all the cops being terrible shots to someone climbing out of a wrecked car and complaining of a broken watch.
    • "The Lord works in mysterious ways," said by Jake, becomes the running gag of 2000.
    • Elwood stealing things (the windshield wipers from the gas station in the first movie; the toilet paper from Bob's Country Kitchen in the second).
  • Senseless Violins: A Russian gangster at the country fair hides his sniper rifle in a guitar case.
  • Sequel Escalation: The sequel has longer and more destructive car chases than the original, to the point that it broke a record which had stood unchallenged for 18 years (the previous record holder being... the original The Blues Brothers).
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Elwood's Rousing Speech to the band.
  • Skull Cups: After the title characters rudely interrupt the funeral of a Russian mobster's nephew, an associate declares that he will turn Elwood's skull into a cup and drink vodka from it.
  • Slapstick: Lt. Elizondo (played by Nia Peeples) gets comically banged up in the cruiser pile-up. While naturally she's not really hurt, this kind of slapstick wouldn't fly back in the 80s.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted by John Goodman, who distinguishes himself from Belushi in his performance and his singing.
  • We Don't Need Roads: The updated Bluesmobile can function underwater, allowing the protagonists to avoid a roadblock.
  • Western Terrorists: The neo-Confederate survivalist faction appear to be more anti-communist and antisemitic than racially supremacist. However, they do display a banner that reads "White Power."