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Quendrith Johnson


Quendrith Johnson is filmfestivals.com Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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"I'd rather be an anarchist than a professional" BELUSHI crashes on-screen soon

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Known for The Blues Brothers band from ANIMAL HOUSE after honing his craft on the original SNL, here was a comedian who was neither mean-spirited nor profanity-laced, but literal comedy magic on screen and in person as the one and only, John Belushi. Now an R.J. Cutler documentary, BELUSHI will car-crash the regular fare on Showtime, Nov. 22.,  just in time for a Thanksgiving gift in these tough times.Belushi1sht2020

Born Jan. 24, 1949 in Chicago, John Adam Belushi expired on Mar. 5, 1982, at the famed Chateau Marmont, Bungalow 3, in Los Angeles. Rumors of who did or did not, among big named celebrities, come in and out of his bungalow that night remain under wraps in Hollywood. Nobody wanted this death to happen, or be perceived to have played any part in his eight-ball/speed-ball accidental OD demise. [Shawn Levy wrote a book about it, even, which was excerpted in The Hollywood Reporter.]

There was something about this guy, overweight, not very tall, that worked like a charm magnet for everyone who met him. Belushi could even get away with impersonating a Samurai warrior, and that was okay, even in Japan.

When Jake, brother of Elwood (Dan Aykroyd), saw the light, even James Brown was down with John Belushi’s conversion. Watch this amazing footage that is timeless here from The Blue Brother Jake’s “see the light” moment.

In fact, just to prove how worldwide his reach was and still is, this clip includes Finnish subtitles.

From his actual life, here is a look at BELUSHI, the documentary. His place in your heart is because his brilliant contribution to Comedy was simple: it’s not funny until someone who is funny points out how funny anything can be in the right hands. But first a quick synopsis from the distributor.

BELUSHI A feature documentary from award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler about the too-short life of John Belushi, the once-in-a-generation talent who captured the hearts and funny-bones of audiences worldwide. Told using previously unheard audiotapes, this film examines Belushi’s extraordinary life in the words of his collaborators, friends, and family, including Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Penny Marshall, Lorne Michaels, Carrie Fisher, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, Jane Curtin, Ivan Reitman and his high school sweetheart and later wife Judy Belushi. From his early years growing up in Wheaton, Illinois, John Belushi showed an extraordinary talent for comedy and music.

BluesBrosmeme2020

It was a visit to the Second City theater in Chicago where he discovered his true calling, and from that moment John became an unstoppable and pioneering force in the comedy world. From National Lampoon’s Lemmings and Radio Hour to one of the founding cast members on Saturday Night Live, his insatiable drive kept the candle burning at both ends. John simultaneously appeared on SNL each Saturday night while filming Animal House and forming a band, The Blues Brothers. The result: By age thirty Belushi was on the #1 television show, had the #1 comedy in movie history and the #1 record album in the world. But as John’s fame grew, so did his demons, and not even Judy could save him from the drug use that would eventually take his life. This film captures the complicated and singular essence of a beloved American icon who changed culture and comedy forever.

The tagline on this film is “Everyone Loved Him. Few Knew Him.” But to be honest, everyone who knew him (or didn’t know him), loved his comedic genius for taking an awkward moment and making it redemptive in some oddball way. Belushi was the outsider inside all of us.

RIP John Belushi, who could make anyone laugh… and still does. Amen, Blues Bros.

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