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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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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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