If one were asked who is their favorite all time Saturday Night Live alum there are a few names that you will hear…Gilda Radner, Eddie Murphy and John Belushi. Belushi was like a comedic comet whose time on this planet came and went far too fast. He had no boundaries as a performer or as a human being and it is those lack of boundaries coupled with lack of self-love that ultimately took him from this realm.
Directed by RJ Cutler, this beautifully crafted documentary focuses on his fabulous comedic rise and not the tragic final tabloid filled chapter of this extraordinary life. Very similar to what Cutler accomplished in his Apple TV docuseries “Dear…,” he brings you closer to his cinematic subject via his letters to wife Judy Belushi-Pisano, testimonial interviews coupled with film noir-ish animated elements resulting in your not the ‘run of the mill’ documentary. The eery part is that a good portion of the celebrities interviewed are no longer with us (Carrie Fisher, Harold Ramis, Penny Marshall) which makes everything shared just that much more profound.
Retrospective moments like watching this comedic genius spar with Richard Pryor as a samurai, learning how some of those iconic sketches for the onto air, driving cross country with Dan Akyroyd and discovering that his star only began to ascend after the departure of Chevy Chase coupled with the release of Animal House and The Blues Brothers.
Seeing footage of over 7,000 people attending a Blues Brothers concert at the Universal Amphitheatre will really give you perspective on the magnitude of his celebrity, as well as, remind you that the grass in not always greener. Celebrity and fame come with a hefty price tag that some are able to navigate through and other succumb to the dark pitfalls that lie within.
John Belushi was one of my favorite sketch artists to watch because he seemed absolutely fearless in his commitment to entertain. Nothing seem too ridiculous or out of bounds. But, thanks to technology and endless reruns, we continue to entertained by him now and for many decades to come. Everyone loved him. Eveyone knew him. For those not familiar, you get to bathe yourself into the laughter and life of this man when the doc hits Showtime on November 22nd.