15 Infamous Facts About ¡Three Amigos!

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Directed by John Landis with a script by Steve Martin, Randy Newman, and Lorne Michaels, the film follows a goofy group of silent movie cowboys who are mistaken for real heroes by a small Mexican village. To this day, ¡Three Amigos! is one of the most infamous (which we all know means "more than famous") films of the 1980s. It was named one of the Top 100 comedies by both Time Out and Bravo, and is celebrated as a unique collaboration between some of the greatest comedians of all time. There's a lot to learn about "those darn amigos," so here's a plethora of facts about the comedy classic.

1. STEVE MARTIN LEARNED THE ROPE TRICKS HE DID IN THE MOVIE WHILE WORKING AT DISNEYLAND AS A TEENAGER.

Martin worked there part-time from age 10 to 18, first selling guidebooks then hawking spinning lassos in Frontierland, according to D3. "The ropes were hard to sell," Martin explained. "I had to wear a Western costume, cowboy shirt, hat. I did a little bit of that in ¡Three Amigos!"

2. ALL BUT ONE OF THE MOVIES, ACTORS, AND INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS MENTIONED IN THE FILM ARE FAKE.

The film is full of fake movie references, from Harry Flugleman (played by Joe Mantegna), the amigos’ fictional producer, to fake films like Amigos! Amigos! Amigos! and Little Neddy Grab Your Gun. There’s only one scene where a real star of the silent film era is mentioned: When he’s bragging to some of the Santo Poco villagers about his film career, Ned Nederlander (Martin Short) name drops actress Dorothy Gish, telling the confused villagers about the time Gish visited him on set. Today, that name would probably go over about as well with audiences as it did for the fictional villagers. Though she’s largely forgotten today, Dorothy Gish was an actress and director from the silent movie era, as well as the less famous sister of Oscar-nominated actress Lillian Gish.

3. RANDY NEWMAN PLAYED THE SINGING BUSH.

Well, technically, the Singing Bush was played by a bush, but Newman provided its voice. His voice was digitally altered for the role. In an interview with Movies.com, director John Landis explained that he’d considered several different ways of portraying the singing bush—including animating it, or somehow showing its lips moving—but ultimately decided to make the bush more naturalistic, and just let Newman’s singing take over the scene.

4. IT WAS MARTIN SHORT'S FIRST MOVIE ROLE.

Short had been doing sketch comedy—including on Saturday Night Live and SCTV—for years before he landed the part, but ¡Three Amigos! was his breakout film role. He went on to work with Steve Martin in two more films: Father of the Bride (1991) and Father of the Bride Part II (1995).

5. THE ACTOR WHO PLAYED EL GUAPO WAS IN A 1970 MOVIE CALLED TRES AMIGOS.

The Spanish language adventure comedy is largely forgotten today, but Alfonso Arau not only went on to play “El Guapo” in ¡Three Amigos!, he also appeared as the villain, Herrera, in Sam Peckinpah’s classic Western The Wild Bunch (1969).

6. JOHN LANDIS'S FAVORITE MOMENT WHILE SHOOTING WAS AN ARGUMENT WITH CHEVY CHASE.

Landis told Movies.com, “Probably the funniest moment for me when shooting was when I had the Three Amigos on horseback in the desert and I was shooting while they were wearing those ridiculous outfits and after having been shooting for three weeks, Chevy objected to a line of dialogue and he said, 'I don't think I should say this.' And, remember, Chevy plays a character named Dusty Bottoms. So I said, 'Well, why not?' He said, 'Because my character would have to be a moron to say this.' All I could think was, What movie has Chevy been making? So I said, 'OK, I'll give it to Marty because it's a laugh.' Then Chevy said, 'I'll say it!' It's one of my favorite moments with an actor.”

7. SEVERAL FILMS THAT CAME OUT AFTER ¡THREE AMIGOS! SHARED ITS PREMISE.

Like ¡Three Amigos!, films like Galaxy Quest (1999) and Tropic Thunder (2008) have featured movie stars accidentally ending up in real danger. Vulture outlined the many similarities between Tropic Thunder and ¡Three Amigos!, which include everything from similar catchphrases and movie star cameos (Tom Cruise plays Jewish film producer Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder while Joe Mantegna plays Jewish film producer Harry Flugleman in ¡Three Amigos!) to characters eating bats when they’re short on food. Galaxy Quest meanwhile featured a group of washed up sci-fi stars who end up cavorting with real aliens.

Referring to the spate of movies that borrow from the ¡Three Amigos! premise, John Landis said, “They completely ripped it off! The first Pixar movie about the ants, A Bug's Life, took the same plot. It's amazing how often the plot has been used. If Galaxy Quest weren't so funny, it would probably bother me more.”

8. WHILE PROMOTING THE FILM ON DAVID LETTERMAN, STEVE MARTIN INTRODUCED A SERIES OF THREE AMIGOS SOUVENIRS OF INCREASING RIDICULOUSNESS.

These included: Three Amigos rubber cement, holy water (“blessed by the Three Amigos”), turkey basters (in sizes ranging from “Martin Short” to “Steve Martin”), the “Egg McMigo” breakfast sandwich, and Three Amigos contraceptive foam.

9. STEVE MARTIN DEVELOPED TINNITUS WHILE SHOOTING THE FILM.

While shooting a pistol fight in the film, Steve Martin developed tinnitus—a constant ringing in the ears which sometimes fades over time. In Martin’s case, the condition turned out to be permanent: regarding his experience with tinnitus, he explains, “You just get used to it. Or you go insane.”

10. ROGER EBERT GAVE IT ONE STAR.

He called it "too confident, too relaxed, too clever to be really funny," and complained that the performers were underutilized—particularly Chevy Chase who “hardly seems in the movie at all." He also argued that the film lacked the energy of Landis’s earlier comedy, Animal House.

11. IT TOOK SIX YEARS TO GET THE FILM INTO PRODUCTION.

It was originally going to be called The Three Caballeros. Steve Martin, who came up with the original idea, was talking about it in interviews as early as 1980, but it took a long time to find a director willing to make it.

12. FRAN DRESCHER WAS IN THE ORIGINAL FILM, BUT WAS CUT BECAUSE OF TIME ISSUES.

Before she was The Nanny, Drescher had a small part in ¡Three Amigos! as a shallow movie star in the Hollywood segment of the film. Though the film was eventually re-released with deleted scenes, Drescher’s footage didn’t appear—it seems to have been lost entirely over the years.

13. STEVEN SPIELBERG ALMOST DIRECTED THE FILM.

Spielberg considered making the film in the early 1980s with Martin, Robin Williams, and Bill Murray as the leads. Ultimately, he decided to make E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) instead.

14. JOHN BELUSHI, DAN AYKROYD, AND RICK MORANIS WERE ALL CONSIDERED FOR AMIGOS PARTS, TOO.

Martin had initially imagined co-starring in the film alongside Belushi and Aykroyd. It’s unclear what happened—perhaps the film just took too long to make it into production. Next, Spielberg had expressed interest in casting Murray and Williams alongside Martin, but when he dropped out of the project, the idea went with him. Finally, Landis considered casting Rick Moranis as the third amigo—but only if his first choice, Martin Short, was unavailable. Splitsider notes that many of these actors were collaborating with each other around this time: Moranis, Murray, and Aykroyd all appeared in 1984’s Ghostbusters together, while Belushi and Aykroyd famously co-starred in 1980's The Blues Brothers and 1981's Neighbors.

15. A NOVELIZATION OF THE FILM WAS PUBLISHED, WRITTEN BY LEONORE FLEISCHER.

It was an official adaptation of the original screenplay, and was even promoted in the film’s credits. Fleischer has written a number of film novelizations, mostly for classroom use, including the novelization of the Academy Award-winning 1988 film Rain Man.

8 Sequels That Received Oscar Nominations for Best Picture

Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Jasin Boland, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It’s rare when a movie sequel manages to stand up to the original entry in a film series. Even rarer? When a sequel is so good that it nabs an Oscars nomination for Best Picture. Here are eight movies that did just that.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

When Mad Max: Fury Road was released in theaters in 2015, no one thought that it would be a critical darling—or an awards contender . But when the Academy Award nominations were announced in 2016, the latest entry in George Miller’s Mad Max franchise earned a whopping 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Fury Road is the fourth installment in the series and was the first to hit theaters in 30 years (since the release of 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). It’s also the first movie in the franchise to receive any recognition from the Academy.

2. Toy Story 3 (2010)

A still from 'Toy Story 3' (2010)
Disney/Pixar

In 2011, Toy Story 3 was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Animated Feature. Though The King’s Speech ended up taking the night’s top prize, Toy Story 3 (which was named Best Animated Feature) made history that night, as it was the third ever animated movie to score a Best Picture nod; 1991’s Beauty and the Beast and 2009’s Up are the other two films to earn the same accolade.

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Although the first two installments in The Lord of the Rings trilogy—2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring and 2002’s The Two Towers—were each nominated for Best Picture, it was the final movie that ended up winning the Academy Award in 2004. In fact, The Return of the King won 11 Oscars that year, sweeping every category in which it was nominated, and tying Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most awards received in one night.

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

In 2003, The Two Towers won two of the six Oscars for which it was nominated, for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. Rob Marshall’s musical Chicago beat it out for Best Picture.  

5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in 'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In 1992, The Silence of the Lambs made a clean sweep of the “Big Five” categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Jonathan Demme, Best Actor for Sir Anthony Hopkins, Best Actress for Jodie Foster, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Ted Tally. Although The Silence of the Lambs isn’t a direct sequel to Michael Mann’s 1986 film Manhunter, it’s based on the sequel novel to author Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, on which Manhunter was based. It also features the character Hannibal Lecter in a major role, who was played by Brian Cox in Manhunter—before Hopkins made the role his own. Got that?

6. The Godfather: Part III (1990)

Though it’s often considered the far inferior film in The Godfather trilogy, The Godfather: Part III received seven Academy Award nominations in 1991, including Best Picture and Best Director for Francis Ford Coppola. Ultimately, it lost to Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves, making it the only installment in The Godfather Saga not to win a Best Picture Oscar.

7. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Al Pacino in 'The Godfather: Part II' (1974)
Paramount Pictures

In 1975, The Godfather: Part II became the first sequel in Oscar history to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It won the coveted award two years after the original film was named Best Picture. The sequel was nominated for a total of 11 Oscars, with three separate nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category alone: one for Michael Vincenzo Gazzo (who played Frankie Pentangeli) and Lee Strasberg (as Hyman Roth), and one for Robert De Niro, who took home the statuette for playing the younger version of Vito Corleone.

8. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

Though it lost Best Picture to Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend at the 1946 Oscars, The Bells of St. Mary’s is the first movie sequel to be nominated for the Academy’s biggest prize. The film is a sequel to Leo McCarey’s previous film, 1944’s Going My Way, which won the Oscar for Best Picture a year earlier. While Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary’s feature different stories and casts, Bing Crosby stars in both movies as Father Chuck O'Malley.

An earlier version of this article ran in 2016.

James Cameron Directed Entourage's Aquaman, But He Could Never Direct the Real One

Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for AMC
Tommaso Boddi, Getty Images for AMC

Oscar-winning director James Cameron is no stranger to CGI. With movies like Avatar under his belt, you’d expect Cameron to find a particular sort of enjoyment in special effects-heavy movies like James Wan's Aquaman. But Cameron—who directed the fictional version of Aquaman featuring fictional movie star Vinnie Chase in the very real HBO series Entourage—has a little trouble with suspension of disbelief.

In a recent interview with Yahoo!, Cameron said that while he did enjoy Aquaman, he would never have been able to direct the movie itself because of its lack of realism.

"I think it’s great fun,” Cameron said. “I never could have made that film, because it requires this kind of total dreamlike disconnection from any sense of physics or reality. People just kind of zoom around underwater, because they propel themselves mentally, I guess, I don’t know. But it’s cool! You buy it on its own terms.”

"I’ve spent thousands of hours underwater," the Titanic director went on to say. "While I can enjoy that film, I don’t resonate with it because it doesn’t look real.”

While Aquaman was shot on a soundstage, Cameron will be employing state-of-the-art technology that will allow him to actually be underwater while shooting underwater scenes for his upcoming Avatar sequels.

[h/t Yahoo!]

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