Earlier today, after previous reports of grave illness broke, the legendary Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76. First and foremost, she'll be leaving behind a legacy of countless musical hits, and just as many memorable performances on stage. Yet what she also leaves behind is a history of memorable movies that have used her music, as well as one movie that she appeared onscreen for. In honor of Ms. Franklin, we'd like to highlight five of the greatest Aretha Franklin moments from film history.
The only film character she played throughout her career, Aretha Franklin was the all business, no-BS wife to actual band member Matt "Guitar" Murphy in both movies of The Blues Brothers franchise. Her first time out saw her arguing with Matt over whether or not he should get back together with the band of criminal ne'er do wells / bluse musicians. Naturally, as any respecting wife would do, she tells Mr. Murphy to really mull over his options when it comes to the matter, and does so in a showstopping musical number that actually expanded upon her 1967 hit single.
Sometimes, a song can make even the smallest moment of a film like Mystic Pizza into a joy. In the case of that very film, we see our main trio of characters, played by Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor, and Annabeth Gish, singing along to their truck's radio. These three women, throughout the course of the film, chart the courses of their destiny and move towards their big life goals throughout their time working at the titular pizzaria. So, of course, a good way to cement characters like that is having them sing a song like Aretha Franklin's "Respect," which cements the plot with a little bit of shorthand through musical convenience.