Sometimes, you watch a movie and all you cay say, at the end, is “What the Hell were they thinking?”
Wired is one such movie. Based on a widely discredited biography by Bob Woodward, Wired tells two stories. In the first story, John Belushi (Michael Chiklis, making an unfortunate film debut) wakes up in a morgue and is told by his guardian angel that he has died of a drug overdose. Did I mention that his guardian angel is Puerto Rican cabbie named Angel Vasquez (Ray Sharkey) and Angel drives Belushi through a series of flashbacks? Belushi meets Dan Aykroyd (Gary Groomes, who looks nothing like Dan Aykroyd). Belushi gets cast on Saturday Night Live. Belushi marries Judy (Lucinda Jenney). Belushi uses drugs, costars in The Blues Brothers, dies of a drug overdose in a sleazy motel, and plays a pinball game to determine whether he’ll go to Heaven or Hell. While this is going on, Bob Woodward (J.T. Walsh) is interviewing everyone who knew Belushi while he was alive.
There are so many things wrong with Wired that it is hard to know where to even begin. I haven’t even mentioned the scene where Bob Woodward travels back in time and has a conversation with Belushi while he’s dying on the motel room floor. Wired tries to be a cautionary tale about getting seduced by fame and drugs but how seriously can anyone take the message of any movie that features Ray Sharkey as a guardian angel? The scenes with Woodward are strange, mostly because the hero of Watergate is being played by an actor best known for playing sinister villains. (Seven years after playing Bob Woodward, J.T. Walsh was actually cast as Watergate figure John Ehrlichman in Nixon.) Considering that this was his first movie, Michael Chiklis is not bad when it comes to playing a drug addict named John but he’s never convincing as John Belushi. He never captures the mix of charisma and danger that made John Belushi a superstar. Wired wants to tell the story of Belushi’s downfall but never understands what made him special to begin with.
Wired tries to be edgy but it only succeeds for one split second. During the filming of The Blues Brothers, a director who is clearly meant to be John Landis walks over to Belushi’s trailer. Listen carefully, and a helicopter can be heard in the background.
As for the rest of Wired, what the Hell were they thinking?