Saturday Night Live: The Best of John Belushi

Alternately hilarious and touching, this portrait of John Belushi's work on Saturday Night Live is a beautiful reminder of the comedian's artistry as a performer. Featuring such popular characters as the Samurai Warrior, Beethoven, King Bee and that "Chesse burger, cheese burger" guy, plus hilarious impressions of Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, and William Shatner, this is an amazing collection of work from a rebel working on the gutsiest television show of its time. While the skits and outbursts are entertaining, the bonus material is truly revelatory. Cast members like "Blues Brother" Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman and Chevy Chase reflect upon the heart of their close friend, while executives like Lorne Michaels, Bernie Brillstein and Dick Ebersol recall their initial fear of Belushi. Writer Al Franken discusses an all-night reading of Dick Butkus's autobiography by Belushi and Eric Idle tells an interesting anecdote about standing up to a bullying Belushi and earning his respect. An eerie 1981 appearance on The Today Show by Aykroyd and Belushi features the duo ruminating on life and joking about Belushi's mortality. It's particularly sad to hear Aykroyd hint at their ill-fated next project (Spies Like Us), as Belushi died the following year. With its inside look at Belushi's life via insights from friends and family, and an amazing compilation of ingenious moments from SNL, this "best of" is a treasure trove. Plus: original screen test, photo gallery, Rolling Stone article. (Maple)