Vatican declares the Blues Brothers a ‘Catholic classic’
The Blues Brothers have received an endorsement from the unlikeliest of quarters – the Vatican.
On the 30th anniversary of the cult film’s release, the official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has declared it a “Catholic classic”.
It points out that Jake and Elwood Blues battled police, a psychotic ex-girlfriend, country and western fans and neo-Nazis in order to raise enough money to prevent the closure of the church-run orphanage in which they grew up.
The newspaper, once a dour publication devoted to weighty matters of theology and Vatican appointments, has recently embraced popular culture and devotes an entire page to consider the movie’s meaning and legacy.
It praises the film as an “incredibly shrewd” work which is “rich with ideas”, and recalls “the unforgettable John Belushi’s sneer which remains, three decades after the movie’s release, an icon of cinematography”.
Its approval of the 1980 film, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, is all the more surprising given some of the much-quoted lines from the film, including: “Curtis, I don’t want to listen to no jive-ass preacher talking to me about Heaven and Hell.”
At one point in the film they are told: “Boys, you got to learn not to talk to nuns that way.”
The plot revolves around a chaotic road trip involving spectacular pile-ups and police chases as the brothers try to reform their band and raise enough money to stop the orphanage from closing down.
The editor, Gian Maria Vian, who discerns a strong Catholic subtext in the comic caper, said: “For them, this Catholic institution is their only family – and they decide to save it at any cost.”
He points out that a framed photograph of the young John Paul II hangs appears in one scene.
The paper’s attempts to throw off its dusty image have not been welcomed by all Catholics. The Catholic National Register said that to an “increasing number” of Catholics, the newspaper’s new-found enthusiasm for popular culture “appears to trivialise the Vatican and, ultimately, the Church”.
Source: The Telegraph 19th June 2010