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Video rewind: Belushi in the 80s



Once upon a time, in the 80s, there was an up-and-coming actor by the name of Belushi. Could scare you or crack you up with a lift of his eyebrows. A man's man and a would-be lady's man. Funny as all get-out.

Not talking about John. I mean Jim Belushi, who turns 52 today.

I maintain that Belushi's best work was in the 80s. Salvador, About Last Night, Real Men, his work on Saturday Night Live. Yeah, he had some good flicks in the 90s too (Mr. Destiny, Taking Care of Business) and I know he's all big on TV now with "According to Jim." But for my little amount of free time, I need more real Jim Belushi than they can show on network TV.

Need proof? Go rent About Last Night, which also starred Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, and enjoy the magic that is the drunk, acid-tongued, womanizing "Bernie Litgo." Belushi played the part in the stage version (which went by the more-enjoyable name "Sexual Perversity in Chicago.") Story has it that when it came time to take the production to the big screen, the studio wanted big-brother (and bankable) John to take over the role. But Jim begged him to turn it down. John complied and Jim just dazzled with his performance. You won't see that same Jim on network TV sandwiched between ads for Glad zip-lock food containers.

(I loved the movie so much that the first time I visited Chicago, I immediately sought out Mother's, the bar on Division Street where much of the movie takes place. What happened in the hours after I arrived is something I'll save for a future podcast.)

Want something a little less profane? Go find a copy of Real Men, starring Belushi and John Ritter as two guys with the fate of the world in their hands (along with a glass of water). Vastly underrated.

Alas, no one blames Jimbo for taking the steady paycheck. Heck, Hollywood doesn't make movies like About Last Night anymore. (After all, it wasn't a remake of a 70s or 80s TV show, so what's the attraction?) As long as my TV and DVD player work though, I'll enjoy Jim's birthday the way I think he'd like to enjoy it. With a Cubs game, cigar, a few pitchers of the amber and a late-night showing of some of his 80s classics.

Top 5 Jim Belushi movies:
5. Red Heat: "Look, lady. I just got my coffee the perfect color. It's the only thing I've got going for me tonight. "
4. Taking Care of Business: "That was the best sex I've had in 2 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 5 days!"
3. The Principal: "Brave it through a little bit. Knives only hurt if they go through you. Urine only smells if you don't clean it up. Come on!"
2. Real Men: "They're trying to kill me. They know I can't afford a loss like that."
1. About Last Night: "Oh, that's great, Dan. I tell you I'm a thief and you call me a liar."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:18pm]


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