"As a bio, the movie doesn't work because it tells you nothing about John Belushi, other than the fact that he did drugs. As a movie about drug abuse, it doesn't work because what should've been powerful sequences are ruined by inappropriate moments of slapstick. The only thing that does work is Michael Chiklis. Hell, his performance here is so good, that the movie almost should be seen just to witness Chiklis acting the unholy fuck out of this really shit material."— The Cinema Snob
Wired is a 1989 biopic based on the life of the late comedian and actor John Belushi, who starred in the early years of Saturday Night Live, and movies like National Lampoon's Animal House and The Blues Brothers, starring Michael Chiklis in his film debut as John Belushi.
The film is based on the book of the same name by Bob Woodward.
Why It's a Disgrace to John Belushi's Legacy
- There are a lot of inaccuracies as to what happened in John's life, along with the book itself, despite Bob Woodward being the film's advisor, similar to another anti-drug film, Less Than Zero.
- John never met Bob Woodward in real life, nor did he have a Puerto Rican guardian angel. Said guardian angel (who's called Angel, but for some reason referred to as Velasquez in the credits) was played by Ray Sharkey, of all people, who himself was a drug addict like John, and to make things worse, Sharkey was responsible for John getting hooked on drugs again after the filming of Continental Divide before he died a year later.
- The SNL sketches in the movie, aside from the Blues Brothers and Killer Bees, are completely different from the actual show. This is due to the fact that the filmmakers were not given permission to use any sketches from the show.
- This film is very disrespectful towards John Belushi, who isn't portrayed as a likable character in the film.
- The film focuses more on Belushi's drug addiction rather than his early life or his short-lived acting career. While it's true that he was a drug addict, John was a kind and compassionate person who tried hard (and failed) to fight his addition in real life, and shouldn't be completely demonized because of that.
- The movie's tone is incredibly inconsistent, as it throws in fantasy elements along with slapstick while attempting to be a serious drama biopic.
- There's a very mean-spirited scene where a coroner cuts John Belushi's corpse open while his ghost screams in agony, and a laugh track plays, which only serves to make the scene more disturbing than funny.
- Most of the scenes have nothing to do with Belushi's life.
- Aside from John, his widow Judith, Dan Aykroyd, Cathy Smith and Bob Woodward, none of the other people closely associated with John Belushi are referred to by their real names, as they either remain unnamed or have completely different names to avoid potential lawsuits.
- Speaking of Dan Aykroyd, Gary Groomes feels miscast as Aykroyd, as Groomes barely resembles him, and his character acts more like Chevy Chase rather than Dan Aykroyd, who had a pretty poor relationship with Belushi.
- Many characters criticize John Belushi for his drug abuse like an afterschool special.
- Awful dialogue, like John Belushi's manager saying "How can I represent somebody with mustard on his parchment?" during a scene where Belushi signs a contract with him, and a police officer dismissing the case of John Belushi's drug overdose by referring to him as "just another fat junkie who went belly-up".
- The terrible reception of the film damaged Michael Chiklis' career just as it started.
- Michael Chiklis was a great casting choice for the role of John Belushi.
- In theory, a biopic based on John Belushi's life is a good idea, but it faltered with horrendous execution due to John being portrayed as an unlikable and stereotypical drug addict, lots of inaccuracies about his life and his drug abuse being prioritized over everything else in his life.
- The soundtrack is pretty good.
Wired was critically panned by many people, with a 4% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi's co-star on SNL and the Blues Brothers, along with the preview audiences, reacted negatively towards the portrayal of his late co-star in the film. He hated the movie so much that he refused to star alongside anyone involved with Wired, including J. T. Walsh, whom he fired during the production of Loose Cannons.
John Landis, a good friend of John Belushi, refused to have his name incorporated in the film and threatened to sue the filmmakers for invasion of privacy.
Belushi's family criticized the film for being based on a book that's exploitative, one-sided and sensationalist. Judith Belushi-Pisano wrote her book Samurai Widow two years after the release of Wired to counter the image of her late husband portrayed in Woodward's work.
Michael Chiklis was disappointed with how the film turned out, and it nearly ruined his acting career before he starred in the hit TV drama The Commish two years after the film's release.
The film grossed $1,089,000 domestically against a $13 million budget, making the film a huge bomb at the box office.
- Peter Gabriel was said to have liked the film, though this could be due to the fact that he was sent this film by accident instead of Say Anything... when Cameron Crowe asked Gabriel for permission to use his music in the film.
- Wired never saw an official release on DVD or Blu-ray, and the VHS prints of the movie (as well as Amazon Instant Video) are extremely rare. Because of this, Wired was nicknamed as "the movie that Hollywood doesn't want you to see".
- The scene where John Belushi is punched by a John Landis lookalike is based on an event that happened during the production of the Blues Brothers. Although the event was covered in the news, John Landis himself disputed the event when this scene was featured in Wired.
- One of the songs that the Blues Brothers perform in the film, "634-5789", although was never performed by the band in real life, it was eventually used in Blues Brothers 2000.