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Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Three Amigos


TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: A Cinco de Mayo celebration for 1986's Three Amigos, starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. Directed by John "where are you now?" Landis.

THE PLOT: Three suddenly unemployed actors find that the only way to make money is to go to Mexico and put on a performance for the infamous El Guapo. Too bad he's a real bandito and the "show" they're expected to put on was supposed to be a "show of force." Hilarity ensues.

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: The movie was originally to be called "The Three Caballeros" and was supposed to star Martin, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, according to a Playboy interview Martin gave back in 1980. But Belushi died in 1982. Steven Spielberg also considered making the film - but he picked to do E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial instead. He reportedly wanted Martin, Bill Murray and Robin Williams for the roles. Why did everyone want Martin? He was the co-author of the script.

SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: The singing bush is voiced by Randy Newman, who also wrote most of the songs for the movie. And Alfonso Arau, who plays El Guapo, actually appeared in a 1970 movie titled Tres Amigos. Arau also plays a major role in 1984's Romancing the Stone as Juan, whose truck (the "little burro") helps Michael Douglas and Katherine Stone escape.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "This movie is too confident, too relaxed, too clever to be really funny. And yet, when the cowboys sit around their campfire singing a sad lament and then their horses join in, you see where the movie could have gone." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

WHY WE LOVE IT ANYWAY: It's "too clever" to be funny, Roger? It's possibly one of the silliest movies any of the three lead actors has ever done. It's the little touches, like the talking animals, the invisible swordsman and the goofy lines that will always endear it to '80s fans.


5. "Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?"

4. "Do you have anything here besides Mexican food?"

3. "Are gringos falling from the sky?"

2. "Sew, very old one! Sew like the wind!"

1. "Oh, great. You killed the invisible swordsman!"

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:45pm]


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