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Spartan Girl

The Blues Brothers (1980): We're on a mission from God.

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Because this film turned 40 this year, I believe it's high time it deserved its own thread! I can't be the only one that enjoys all the music numbers, the cameos, and of course the Nazi bashing!

Edited by Spartan Girl
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You are not alone, @Spartan Girl!  I love the movie, too.  My local non-chain movie theater is opening again, and this is one of the first movies they'll be showing.  As apprehensive as I am about going to the movie, there's an outstanding chance that I'll go for this one.  It would be a treat to see it on the big screen.

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The Blues Brothers is a goddamned masterpiece. Other SNL films? Mere movies or flicks (and, let's face it, mostly trash). The Blues Brothers? Pure, unadulterated cinema. The epic, overhead shot over the prison in the beginning, the incredibly shot car chases (and I'm someone who usually hates car chases in movies), the flawless editing and visual storytelling, it's like a film teacher's* dream come true. 

Oh, and it's fun and funny as hell, too, and everyone is in perfect form. I especially love the late, great character actress Kathleen Freeman as Sister Mary Stigmata, one of the great one scene wonders.

 

*No, I'm not a film teacher, but I have a friend who used to be, and I think she'd agree with me on this.

Edited by Wiendish Fitch
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3 hours ago, Browncoat said:

You are not alone, @Spartan Girl!  I love the movie, too.  My local non-chain movie theater is opening again, and this is one of the first movies they'll be showing.  As apprehensive as I am about going to the movie, there's an outstanding chance that I'll go for this one.  It would be a treat to see it on the big screen.

Oh man. That sounds like so much fun! I'm jealous.

@Wiendish Fitch Sister Mary Stigmata aka the Penguin really was a scene stealer. Her smacking Jake and Elwood with the ruler is one of my favorite parts.

My other favorite part has to be the fancy restaurant scene where Jake and Elwood annoy the customers in order to recruit Mr. Fabulous. From what I read, it was exactly the kind of hijacks Dan and John used to do in their free time. And the way they interacted together, strolling inside arm and arm, tossing shrimp into each other's mouths, etc was freaking priceless. 

Also have to give mention to Carrie Fisher's cameo. She said said that in an interview that between the onscreen kiss with Harrison Ford in Star Wars and the onscreen kiss with John, John's was still her favorite. Which was interesting, given what we now know about her affair with Harrison Ford (which had ended by then, but still). It's also funny because at the time of the Blues Brothers, Dan and Carrie were a couple, so on the day they filmed that scene John teased them about it, singing "My Best Friend's Girl."

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Oh, yeah, Carrie Fisher just calmly painting her nails while casually reading the instruction manual for the rocket launcher was priceless.

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Fantastic movie. The musical numbers were great, the comedy was funny as hell and the cameos were perfect. 

I can watch this movie over and over and never get bored. 

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It's one of the movies that when channel surfing, I'll stop and enjoy without starting at the beginning.  It's the kind of healthy laugh out loud comedy that makes me feel good all over (and the brain worm songs aren't a problem because they are so many of them. 

Aretha ruled the diner. 

Rawhide ruled the honkytonk 

John and Dan earned their slot of immortality with that one.

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I love The Blues Brothers! One of my all-time favorites and one of those movies I watch when I'm feeling down or home sick. So many great scenes! So many great lines!

Don't you blaspheme! Don't you blaspheme in here!

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15 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

and of course the Nazi bashing!

"I hate Illinois nazis." The part where they go off the unfinished expressway and the one nazi turns to Henry Gibson and said, "I've always loved you." I may have passed out from lack of oxygen.

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What's really funny is how calmly Jake and Elwood handle every attempt on their lives. They get shot at outside the apartment, and they just shrug it off. Their apartment gets blown up, and they just dig themselves out. They get launched up in the air in a phone booth, and after they crash, they just get excited about all the free quarters that broke out.

It isn't until Carrie attacks them for the upteenrh time in the sewer that all Elwood gets exasperated enough to ask, "Who is that girl?"

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On 7/12/2020 at 6:15 AM, Spartan Girl said:

What's really funny is how calmly Jake and Elwood handle every attempt on their lives. They get shot at outside the apartment, and they just shrug it off. Their apartment gets blown up, and they just dig themselves out. They get launched up in the air in a phone booth, and after they crash, they just get excited about all the free quarters that broke out.

It isn't until Carrie attacks them for the upteenrh time in the sewer that all Elwood gets exasperated enough to ask, "Who is that girl?"

There's something about the affect of both Jake and Elwood throughout the whole movie.  No matter what is happening in the scene both of them are so deadpan in their delivery-- "Cars got a lot of pickup" as they fly over the bridge,  "New Oldsmobiles are in early this year"  and "This mall has everything" as they are speeding through a mall, "That's where they have the Picasso" in the final car chase.  I could go on, but I love how almost nothing fazes the brothers.  

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A stone cold classic. It's infinitely quotable. It's always funny. It's downright ludicrous in so many ways but played straight and it somehow works.

"Who wants an orange whip? Orange whip? Orange whip? Three orange whips!" (and don't forget the hand motion)

"Oh we've got both kinds! Country AND Western!"

"Baby clothes!" "Man, this place has got everything."

"I hate Illinois Nazis."

"Boys, you gotta learn not to talk to nuns like that."

"We're getting the band back together..."

And of course... "We're on a mission from God."

This is a movie that has great comedic dialog, timing and sight gags throughout. I love it.

It was also my first streaming quarantine purchase (despite owning it in other media.) I was never quarantined because my business is essential but I still needed something to make me laugh in the midst of it all.

Edited by Dandesun
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On July 14, 2020 at 5:49 PM, Dandesun said:

And of course... "We're on a mission from God."

The best part of that repeated quote is that they really believe it will let them get away with everything they do...but the second they pay the orphanage's taxes, the cuffs come on and they're face-to-face with an army of armed cops, completely and totally screwed.

Except the "Jailhouse Rock" finale didn't make it seem so bad...

Edited by Spartan Girl
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25 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

The best part of that repeated quote is that they really believe it will let them get away with everything they do...but the second they pay the orphansge's taxes, the cuffs come on and they're face-to-face with an army of parmed cops, completely and totally screwed.

Except the "Jailhouse Rock" finale didn't make it seem so bad...

I love that, too. Sometimes I think comedy protagonists get away with way too much crap, so I appreciated that Jake and Elwood actually suffered consequences for all the collateral damage they caused, regardless of how good their intentions were!

Of course, they did terrorize some Nazis along the way, so I can't judge them too harshly. 😊 

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I absolutely love this movie - definitely in my top 10 all-time favorites.  So many funny moments and a lot of great music.  Perhaps this weekend I'll  fry some chicken, make some dry white toast, and do a re-watch.  

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The part when Elwood puts the blanket over Jake when he steals his bed still makes my heart ache. Ridiculous, I know. But I still wish John was alive so he and Dan could be two buddies growing old together. Dan says he misses him every day.

And did anyone else get sad when the Bluesmobile fell apart?

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14 hours ago, Calvada said:

I absolutely love this movie - definitely in my top 10 all-time favorites.  So many funny moments and a lot of great music.  Perhaps this weekend I'll  fry some chicken, make some dry white toast, and do a re-watch.  

And a Coke!

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"How much for the women?"

In addition to being funny, the music in this movie is so fantastic. Cab Calloway turns back the clock, James Brown instills the Holy Spirit into the Brothers, Aretha issues a warning that will be ignored and on top of that all of the choreography is great.

 

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Bow to the Queen

(I love the way Jake and Elwood get up casually and dance; also that Aretha is wearing pink slippers)

 

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55 minutes ago, raven said:

Bow to the Queen

(I love the way Jake and Elwood get up casually and dance; also that Aretha is wearing pink slippers)

 

According to Judy Belushi Pisano in her Aretha tribute last year, Aretha's slippers were apparently a bitch to dance in.

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On 7/15/2020 at 9:41 PM, Calvada said:

I absolutely love this movie - definitely in my top 10 all-time favorites.  So many funny moments and a lot of great music.  Perhaps this weekend I'll  fry some chicken, make some dry white toast, and do a re-watch.  

 

On 7/16/2020 at 11:57 AM, chitowngirl said:

And a Coke!

Better make sure you fry up 4 whole fried chickens.  

I grew up with this movie on heavy rotation thanks to my dad.  He bore a resemblance to John Belushi and this was one of his favorite movies.  The soundtrack was also one of his first CD purchases back in 1987.  When he passed away 8 years ago, we were getting inundated with food.  In my part of the south, fried chicken is the go to funeral food.  One person dropped off a big box from the local BBQ joint and literally gave us 4 whole fried chickens as an unknowing tribute.  

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It's hard to believe that it's been FORTY YEARS since The Blues Brothers movie debuted and that this movie was merely 18 years after The Music Man's 1962 release! Somehow despite the main characters all celebrating   music and styles that were considered retro  even back then and both being in color,The Blues Brothers seems more contemporary than the other  movie!

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Well, I bought a ticket to go see this in the local indie theater tomorrow afternoon.  I'm a little apprehensive about sitting in a theater, but I chose a seat at the back so no one will be breathing towards me.  I will wear a face shield in addition to my mask, and will eat my popcorn one kernel at a time, lifting my mask from the bottom (under the chin) for each bite.  I suppose I'll handle the straw in my beverage in the same way.  But I'm keen to see a movie in a theater!  And this one, too!  I honestly can't say if I saw it on the big screen when it came out, so this will be a treat.

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Nice addition to the movies forum.  It's a fun movie but it's also a great musical.  I still listen to the soundtrack to lift my spirits sometimes.

The shear number of classic character actors and musicians is overwhelming.  It even had an early performance by Steven Williams as the lead trooper and he's since become a well known face.

"How often does the train go by?"  "So often you won't notice."

My family has started many a road trip with, "It's 106 miles to Chicago.  We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."

On 7/16/2020 at 6:52 AM, Spartan Girl said:

And did anyone else get sad when the Bluesmobile fell apart?

As a kid I was devastated!  The car is really the third lead in the ensemble.

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It must be said that this movie wouldn't have worked had John and Dan not been good musicians. But they were good -- John really could sing, and Dan really was playing the harmonica. And boy could they dance.

I always loved their big stage entrance that they used in their act, striding out with the suitcase and keys like they're hot shit and doing the cartwheel. Of course the movie makes it funny by having the audience respond with dead silence and they look at each other like "oh shit this always worked before."

Footage of their live concerts are on YouTube. Definitely check them out.

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8 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

It must be said that this movie wouldn't have worked had John and Dan not been good musicians. But they were good -- John really could sing, and Dan really was playing the harmonica. And boy could they dance.

I always loved their big stage entrance that they used in their act, striding out with the suitcase and keys like they're hot shit and doing the cartwheel.

They played Houston as "The Blues Brothers" and I missed the performance because I was in England.  I swore that I wouldn't miss the next time.  But. There was no next time, and when I heard John had died, it hurt.

I later read the book about his death, and I had the oddest sad I've ever had.Wired

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4 hours ago, enoughcats said:

They played Houston as "The Blues Brothers" and I missed the performance because I was in England.  I swore that I wouldn't miss the next time.  But. There was no next time, and when I heard John had died, it hurt.

I later read the book about his death, and I had the oddest sad I've ever had.Wired

That book was garbage. It focuses on the drugs and nothing else. Belushi's friends and family hated it, especially Dan. Although the one passage where Dan supposedly admitted that if he'd been with John that night, he might have overdosed with him...that got to me. He still regrets that he didn't go out to LA and get him before he died

Anyway Belushi: A Biography is way better, because it at least tries to show what kind of person John was and not just a drug addict.

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21 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

Anyway Belushi: A Biography is way better, because it at least tries to show what kind of person John was and not just a drug addict.

Thank you for the recommendation. Our library just reopened (Friday for all branches) and they have it and I should be getting it at the branch I use later this week. 

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I just got back from the movie, and that was so much fun!  There were only about eight other people there, and we were very spaced out.  Oh, how I missed movie popcorn!  And just sitting in a big dark room watching a movie.  

But, honestly, if they're only 106 miles from Chicago, why does it take them so damn long to get there?  I mean, the movie makes it look like it takes 12 hours -- it shows Twiggy waiting for Elwood at midnight, and then when they get to the tax assessor's office, he's eating lunch.  Even with all the detours in and around the city, it wouldn't take that long.  But that is a minor quibble in an otherwise fabulous movie.

I do wonder, though, if the family with the nine-year-old kid knew about all the shits and fucks and motherfuckers in the movie.....

And, might I add, Matt "Guitar" Murphy was hot.

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2 hours ago, Browncoat said:

I just got back from the movie, and that was so much fun!  There were only about eight other people there, and we were very spaced out.  Oh, how I missed movie popcorn!  And just sitting in a big dark room watching a movie.  

But, honestly, if they're only 106 miles from Chicago, why does it take them so damn long to get there?  I mean, the movie makes it look like it takes 12 hours -- it shows Twiggy waiting for Elwood at midnight, and then when they get to the tax assessor's office, he's eating lunch.  Even with all the detours in and around the city, it wouldn't take that long.  But that is a minor quibble in an otherwise fabulous movie.

I do wonder, though, if the family with the nine-year-old kid knew about all the shits and fucks and motherfuckers in the movie.....

And, might I add, Matt "Guitar" Murphy was hot.

I have also thought too hard about that timeline, and have realized that once the new Bluesmobile goes over that drawbridge the laws of physics and time go out the window.   

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It's a great movie on so many levels. Beautiful choreography, yet with an overall look that makes it a perfect grimy urban period piece. Great cast of big names, all of whom are perfect for the part- no gratuitous stunt casting. Humor that fits the characters. Car chases that somehow never degenerate into formulaic wastes of time. And the music is not only as good as it gets, but it is actually relevant to the core plot.

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I love that they even include everyone in Jailhouse Rock at the end — especially the crew!

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The movie started to put Chicago in the mix for location shooting. Former Mayor Richard J. Daley didn’t allow much filming but Mayor Jane Byrne was all for it.

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Tonight after work I just barely managed to beat a red light, and realized that for decades now, whenever that happens, I have been quoting to myself in a Dan Akroyd voice saying "The light was yellow, sir."

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When I took the train to Chicago years back, I said to myself, "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it." I also bought a Blues Brothers shirt from Navy Pier with that exact quote.

I also have to do this bit if Sam and Dave's "Soothe Me" comes on the radio: "Shit." "What?" "Rollers." "No!" "Yeah." "Shit!"

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When I was nineteen years old I rented an apartment that actually was right across from the train tracks. "So often you won't even notice" did, in fact, become true, although I probably would have been saying that anyway just for the quote value.

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Watching it on AMC now. Once again, I get sad thinking about how many are gone: John Belushi, Cab Calloway, Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, Matt Guitar Murphy, Donald Duck Dunn, Mr Fabulous, John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Kathleen Freeman...and those are just the ones off the top of my head.

There are many "celebrities" I would gladly trade to have Candy and Belushi back.

@enoughcats did you get the Belushi book from the library?

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Dan Aykroyd and John Landis: how we made The Blues Brothers

This is cool, I didn't know this:

Quote

We made sure the writers of the material kept their publishing rights. John and I took performers’ rights only. Every one of those songs we recorded remunerated the original artists 100% due to album sales. It was an ethical decision and the songwriters today and their estates have benefited from it.

 

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1 hour ago, VCRTracking said:

I always wondered if the movie was the reason for Dan Aykroyd inexplicably being in the "We Are the World" video:

aykroyd-1.png.547850ee8964dc5050c6734249690c6b.png

He was Elwood Blues why not? Turns out it was an accident!

https://shark1053.com/the-story-of-how-dan-aykroyd-ended-up-in-the-we-are-the-world-video-has-a-nh-connection/

LOL really?! I always thought it was because he was a Blues Brother. Oh well, it was a good cause. I still like to think John would have done it too if he were alive.

56 minutes ago, raven said:

That is cool indeed. And when they did the tour for the movie, John and Dan also made sure both the band and the original writers got the majority of the money too.

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7 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

did you get the Belushi book from the library?

Yes, I did and thank you.  It's a  mind expander, in a non-halucinogenic way.  I've read a lot of biographies and autobiographies, and a couple of chapters in, I get the feeling that the author WILL impose his preconceived notions on the reader.

I really enjoyed the 'in their own words'  approach.  (One night I played with Austen's Pride and Prejudice and how it would be written with the same approach.) 

I'd like to approach it through remembering what my life was like when the 'entertainment folk' were doing things much more interesting.  (One fellow grad student had a happening when he was home in NYC and somehow invited to a part with Larraine Newman, and he came away more star struck than ever.)

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1 hour ago, enoughcats said:

Yes, I did and thank you.  It's a  mind expander, in a non-halucinogenic way.  I've read a lot of biographies and autobiographies, and a couple of chapters in, I get the feeling that the author WILL impose his preconceived notions on the reader

Which is what Woodward did with Wired.

But I'm glad you liked Belushi. Oral biographies are much more different to read, you at least feel like you're getting all sides of the truth.

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4 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Which is what Woodward did with Wired.

But I'm glad you liked Belushi. Oral biographies are much more different to read, you at least feel like you're getting all sides of the truth.

Michael Chiklis (who did not know the shit he was getting into as a young actor when he was cast as Belushi for the movie for WIRED where powerful agent Mike Ovitz threatened anybody who worked on it would never work again) said on IFC's Dinner for Five the problem was Woodward as a writer was a "cold fish". He'd only write down facts he could corroborate from a number of sources, but you don't get the kind of person Belushi was. Or as Tanner Colby, co-author "Belushi" better put it:

"It's like someone wrote a biography of Michael Jordan in which all the stats and scores are correct, but you come away with the impression that Michael Jordan wasn't very good at playing basketball,"

On another episode of Dinner For Five with Carrie Fisher and Ed Bagley Jr. both friends of John's, talked about how people would ask "Why didn't you stop him?" They both made it clear NOBODY could have stopped John.

Edited by VCRTracking
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I'd like to add that the movie WIRED was a piece of shit that basically pisses all over John's grave. The fact that Woodward served as a technical adviser on that film and was apparently okay with them adding the plot of ghost John being driven around in a cab by an angel of death and experiencing his own autopsy* tells me all I need to know about him as a person. Chiklis was the only one who had the decency to apologize to the Belushi family after he realized how awful it was.

*No, really, that happens. The movie is on YouTube if you don't believe me. Or you can watch Cinema Snob's review, he gives it the trashing it deserves.

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The upside to this is because of the negative reaction to both the Wired book and movie, we were spared tacky, fictional exploitive biopics of Gilda Radner, Chris Farley and Phil Hartman. 

 

Edited by VCRTracking
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So even though this song the Blues Brothers covered wasn't in the movie, it's pretty haunting. Especially knowing that John sang it during the band's post movie tour when he was making a real effort to be clean:

 

Edited by Spartan Girl
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On 7/14/2020 at 3:03 PM, Spartan Girl said:

The best part of that repeated quote is that they really believe it will let them get away with everything they do...but the second they pay the orphanage's taxes, the cuffs come on and they're face-to-face with an army of armed cops, completely and totally screwed.

Except the "Jailhouse Rock" finale didn't make it seem so bad...

Oh, interesting, I never interpreted that to mean they believed they'd get away with it. I interpreted "on a mission from God" to mean they felt they were compelled to do it no matter what, that it was vital and holy. Not that they thought they'd be spared consequences.

On 7/19/2020 at 3:26 PM, Browncoat said:

But, honestly, if they're only 106 miles from Chicago, why does it take them so damn long to get there?  I mean, the movie makes it look like it takes 12 hours -- it shows Twiggy waiting for Elwood at midnight, and then when they get to the tax assessor's office, he's eating lunch.  Even with all the detours in and around the city, it wouldn't take that long.  But that is a minor quibble in an otherwise fabulous movie.

I found that so distracting! Maybe because I lived there for many years so the geography sticks out more. My bf told me with movies like this I just have to suspend disbelief. And of course he's right, the whole movie is crazy, it's not like only this one thing is unrealistic. But 106 miles of interstate does not take 12 hours! Even if they'd arrived at the opening of business (instead of lunch hour) that still would have meant driving allll night.

At any rate, hadn't seen it in years and it was fun to rewatch. Loved seeing John Lee Hooker. 🙂

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