The entrance to John Belushi smiles with the promise of unrestrained energy. But his story of dropping out of life after a drug overdose left a legend that was meant to seal his grave. So it is touching to learn something new from “Belushi”, RJ Cutler warmly told the documentary: The man who once put the zit on, also wrote soul-bearing (and sometimes adorable) love letters.
Judith Belushi Pisano (formerly Jacqueline) was a lifelong darling of the comic, and Cutler’s biography is one of the most difficult as a kind of love story. But Belushi’s career predictions are faithfully charted – from “The National Lampoon Radio Hour” to “Saturday Night Live” to “Animal House” and the Blues Brothers from another city. All of the gang here, in an audio interview: Closer Pal Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Peevish Lorne Michaels, Jane Curtin, Brother Jim, Carrie Fisher, and more, presenting Bellushi’s magnetism and openings for multiple drives. (Excerpts are from Judy’s 2005 book, “Belushi: A Biography”)
Belushi’s incredible Joe Cocker routine underscores his origins in a counterculture that soon served mass entertainment purposes. Cutler also contains stories that illuminate Belushi’s background. The Illinois native was the son of an Albanian dinner owner, and his mother once ran away to act in a play. Who knew Classic cheeseburger sketch Was there a touching echo with your father’s workplace?
Belushi’s momentarily confident physicality was combined with a less sensible cleverness (which cannot give the same rebellious kick to all generations). But “Belushi” enjoys sweetness in a cultural fixture that has an absurd wild fun.
Not rated. Running Time: 1 hour 48 minutes. Watch on showtime.