June 20, 2010

The Vatican Digs 'The Blues Brothers'

Today is the 30th Anniversary of the release of John Landis' The Blues Brothers and to honor the occasion the film has received a public endorsement from the unlikeliest of sources: the Vatican.  The official newspaper of the Vatican - which has a horrible sports section by the way - "L'Ossevatore Romano" describe the movie as "recommended viewing for Catholics" and also referred to it as a "Catholic classic."  It is certainly not unprecedented for the Vatican to endorse movies, but the list, previously, was filled with predictable fare: The Passion of the Christ; Jesus of Nazareth; The Ten Commandments; It's a Wonderful Life and Joan of Arc.   The plot of The Blues Brothers concerns two musicians, Jake and Elwood, the former fresh out of prison and their mission to re-assemble their rhythm and blues band in order to play a fund-raising gig to save a Catholic orphanage.   The tag line of the movie was "They're On A Mission From God;" which was a recurring line in the film too, but it was clearly said as a comedic punchline making this movie a very strange fit for a thumbs up from the Pope.  The religious elements of the movie are simply a plot device, and the movie is hardly reverent about the Catholic religion.   One scene, early in the movie, clearly should have kiboshed any chance of this flick getting a
Vatican endorsement. Jake and Elwood return to the orphanage first thing after Jake is freed from prison.   This leads to a visit with an old Nun they call the Penguin (who's real name is Sister Mary Stigmata, and she is played as a shrew by Kathleen Freeman, and as a  sadist who delights in beating both of them.)   But before that happens she reveals the orphanage will be closed.  Why? Because the Church isn't interested in keeping it open, they want to sell the thing out-right to the Board of Education.  Yes, the movie contains a plot device that involves the Catholic church throwing orphans out into the street so they can make some money instead. Hmm... this doesn't seem to be painting the Church in a very good light.  It gets worse from there. When Jake swears in front of the Penguin; telling her it "sounds like she's really up shit creek;" she strikes him with a ruler, which leads to Elwood cursing at her (taking the Lord's name in vain no less) and eventually she's beating both of them while they curse her and ultimately she beats them so viciously that the ruler snaps and both tumble down a flight of stairs.  It's worth noting that she gets called a "bitch" during the scene.   The nun gets called a bitch; and the Church appears to have had no issue with that!  Or the fact that  a nun is portrayed savagely beating two people.   Unbelievable.  Check out the scene below and let me know if you think the Vatican has really thought this through.


  1. 光這幾句話就價值連城了,讀著讀著小弟的眼眶就濕了... .................................................................