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DID YOU READ

LOOKBACK AT A SOUNDTRACK: The Blues Brothers

LOOKBACK AT A SOUNDTRACK:  The Blues Brothers (photo)

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Just with its hall-of-fame talent alone, The Blues Brothers is arguably one of the best music movies ever made. It also helps that Cab Calloway, James Brown, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, and Aretha Franklin’s cameos never feel forced–they’re perfectly interwoven throughout the storyline and their performances are allowed to breathe without any interruption.

(left: “Who here at this table can honestly say that they played any finer or felt any better than they did when they were with the Blues Brothers?”)

As expected, a film using music as its backbone boasts one hell of a music soundtrack, one that has been passed down from father to son–from vinyl to cassette to CD to MP3–ever since its release in 1980. The Blues Brothers soundtrack has become so popular over the years, there are many people who can sing it song-for-song, word-for-word without ever having seen the film it represents. Few soundtracks can make that claim.

In 2009, the concept of both The Blues Brothers film and soundtrack sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen (or better yet, a high-speed car chase through a crowded mall); let’s get two white comedians, have ’em sing black soul music, and pair ’em up side-by-side with some of the biggest names in the genre. Though their shtick didn’t go without criticism, if John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd couldn’t carry a tune (or exude a little bit of soul), we wouldn’t be talking about The Blues Brothers soundtrack almost 30 years later. For a bunch of kids growing up in the 80’s, myself included, The Blues Brothers–which has been played countless times over the years on basic cable–gave us our first introduction to the world of rhythm and blues music.

Like most albums compiled before the digital age, The Blues Brothers soundtrack only features 11 tracks, which means not every musical number in the film is represented. In an age where we market the life out of everything, it’s almost unthinkable that John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” did not make the cut.

That being said, every track on The Blues Brothers soundtrack is not only an exceptional song, but will immediately take you back to a moment in the film. If I say “Minnie The Moocher” what do you picture in your head? How ’bout the theme song to Rawhide? I can’t tell you how many touring bands can relate to that scene at Bob’s Country Bunker. “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love“? Say what you will about Dan Aykroyd today, but his intro on this song still gets me pumped up.

We also can’t forget about another one of the soundtrack’s stapels, the cover of “Peter Gunn Theme,” a song that many associate solely with The Blues Brothers, more so than the television series it represented years earlier.

Including big names on a movie soundtrack doesn’t make it special, considering any film with deep pockets can pretty much pluck any song from any artist they like. What makes it work on The Blues Brothers soundtrack is that every big name on the album can be put in context with a scene in the film, making Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” Ray Charles’ “Shake A Tail Feather,” and James Brown’s gospel-drenched “The Old Landmark” that much more meaningful.

If The Blues Brothers is arguably one of the most memorable films about music ever made, what does that say about its soundtrack?

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.