Wired : The Film - The Book
Los Angeles – California – 1982 – John Belushi (Michael Chiklis) – aged 32 – and dead of a heroin overdose. Surprised? None so more then John himself I am afraid to say – who accompanied by his Puerto Rican cabbie come guardian angel, called Angel Velasquez (Ray Sharkey), travels through his recent history in search of a reasons behind his premature death.
Though, he’s not the only one you know. Bob Woodward, a noted straight laced reporter, and one time local town hero of Wisconsin – where John originally comes from – is also intrigued by John untimely demise as well. Therefore, just like John, Bob investigates the logical path of his self destruction. Together – yet separate at the same time - these two men meander in and out of Johns life.
But John is a intangible spirit – and Bob is a hard line reporter – both pick up conflicting interpretations of the why, the where, and the how.
For John, his life was a bi-polar experience all in all - he was with a woman he loved, a job he cherished, and had companionship of those whom adored him. But he also had a need within himself to subvert his very being, and pollute his body with a deluge of narcotics that impeded his judgement, yet seemingly opened the comedic ability within him. Saturday Night Live – the films – the performances – the friends – the hardships – the training – and the post-mortem – are all the things that John experiences first hand during his spiritual quest.
The result of which all depends on a ping-ball game that will seal his fate. one way or another.
Now Bob does get to touch upon ‘Johns perspective’ about John as well, but at the same time he meticulously analyses the reasons behind his relationships, plus what transpired on the last couple of days in Johns life. On numerous occasions, Bob talks to Johns wife, Judy – his comedy partner, Dan – his manager, Arnie – his business contacts, b*stards – and even the woman who supplied him with his fateful dose of heroin, Cathy.
However, Bob doesn't end it there, oh no, because while John is playing a game for his life on a Blue's Brothers ping-ball machine with Velasquez, Bob goes to the place that John died, Chateau Marmont, and has a surrealist conversation with John on his death bed.
Though that is why what next transpires is a right pain the whole I can tell you. As death comes a knocking - life comes a ringing - and the future is sealed on the words of an author
Or maybe not?
The critics hated this film – John Belushi's friends wanted to have it banned – and Bob Woodward, the writer of the original novel that this film was based on, even thought that it was not depicted properly also. So why do I like 'Wired' then? I’m a big John Belushi fan, I wouldn't want anything to tarnish his legacy! But why is it, that when I sat down and watched this bio-pic, I could not help but watch it from start to finish, with my eyes glued to the screen throughout?
Well, for start, I really did really enjoy Michael Chiklis performance – as he does a bang up job of capturing John’s mannerisms and deportment in any of the scenes that he’s in. Moreover, there is a tale in this story - one about the excesses of man, and how creativity needs to be tempered at times of stress.
However, to juxtapose this slant, I suppose there is a sort of surrealist mystery element that this film brings along with it – because from scene to scene, you’re not really sure if you’re perceiving Johns previous state of mind, or dead-Johns actions in the present. Time has no stability in this film you see – it just meanders too and throw from past to present, not really allowing the viewer to comprehend what is happening and for why. Plus, on top of that, both John’s plot-line and Bob’s plot-line are smudged in places – primarily at the end – and this does get kind of unsettling where the overall story is concerned.
So now that I have said all that I have said, I have to ask myself my previous question once again – why do I like 'Wired' so much? Hmmmmm! It humanizes John – just knowing that a comedic legend whom I have watched since I was a little boy, had all the foibles that anybody else ever had. Now is this disrespectful? I don’t know? I just find that this film is more of a surrealist dream than a conventional bio-pic – surmising on facts from the past and then transposing them into an unconventional reality.
Well, John was unconventional wasn't he? Just like this film. And give the makers of ‘Wired’ their due, they did omit and dull down some of John’s friends and roles, and even wiped the proven fact that both Robin Williams and Robert De Niro saw John before his death.
Sigh! Films, you got to love em, huh? Like this one - a bio-pic that is confusing to the eye, but pleasing to the soul.
THE RATING: A