A Chat with John Landis (“¡Three Amigos!”)

There’s no point in writing an intro for our conversation with John Landis when we’ve already given a perfectly serviceable synopsis of the man’s life and times on his page within Bullz-Eye’s Directors Hall of Fame – which you can find right here – but we will say that we’ve been looking forward to chatting with Landis for quite some time. Although his publicist regretfully informed us that he didn’t have time to talk when we were pulling together the Hall of Fame, we’d kept our fingers crossed that we’d get an opportunity to talk to him one of these days, and at last that time has come, courtesy of the Blu-ray release of “¡Three Amigos!,” which hits shelves on Nov. 22nd.

Bullz-Eye: First of all, in case you haven’t heard, I should let you know that we put you into our Director’s Hall of Fame last year.

John Landis: Oh, thank you very much!

BE: Our pleasure. After all, we’re a guy-centric site, and it would be fair to say that you’ve made a few movies that have been appreciated by many a man over the years…including, of course, “¡Three Amigos!”

JL: [Laughs.] So did you get a chance to watch the Blu-ray, then?

BE: I did. It looks fantastic.

JL: Yeah, I was able to restore it to the way it’s supposed to be seen. I’m very pleased with the way it looks.

BE: I was actually going to ask you about that process. I presume there’s at least a little bit of difference when it comes to restoring a comedy for Blu-ray versus, say, a full-on special effects extravaganza.

JL: Actually, no. [Laughs.] That would be an untrue presumption. I mean, every picture’s individual, and it depends on the look you were going for with that particular movie. When they made the Blu-ray for “Animal House,” I was upset. I thought they made it much too bright and clean. “Animal House” is supposed to look dirty and funky. [Laughs.] I remember the technician, when I had to check it, he kept writing on his chart, “Image degraded per director.” But every movie you make, you try – or at least I do, anyway – for a different kind of look. On “¡Three Amigos!” I was really trying to go for those beautiful westerns that Hollywood used to make in the ‘50s. The Technicolor pictures. We wanted the colors to be incredibly vibrant. You know, the old DVD wasn’t even the correct aspect ratio. So I’m happy that I got the chance to restore it.

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Looking Back at “SNL” Films: A Little Bit of Excellent, A Whole Lot of Bogus and Sad

When we learned that the folks at “Saturday Night Live” had decided to transform the “MacGruber” sketches into a feature-length motion picture, our first reaction was excitement, but it quickly dwindled somewhat when we considered the track record of movies which were inspired by sketches or short films on “SNL.” As the “MacGruber” release date grew ever closer, however, we began to do a little more research into the whole “SNL”-film phenomenon, and we realized that the chances of getting a legitimately great comedy are actually a little bit better than we thought. Not that much better, mind you…I mean, after all, you can’t just grant a free pass to a franchise that’s given us “It’s Pat”…but when you factor in the film inspired by the animated adventures of a grumpy, mumbling gentleman named Milton, for a brief moment, you can almost forgive them for “Superstar.”

Almost.

Join us now as we take a look back through the mists of time and investigate the 17 motion pictures which made the jump from “SNL” sketch to feature film, in a little piece we like to call…

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