John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

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John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu May 31, 2012 3:47 am

Will everyone pick The Blues Brothers as their good?
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby mavrach » Thu May 31, 2012 5:21 am

Another confession: I've never seen either Blues Brothers or Animal House straight through. When I was younger I saw a few minutes of each and decided I didn't like either. I want to revisit both as an adult but haven't had the chance to. Same thing for American Werewolf in London (not as iconic though), which I tried to watch on Netflix streaming but they only have in fullscreen.

Landis also has a few movies that I used to love as a kid, but I never really got back into them as an adult.


That being said:

Good - Three Amigos - Haven't seen this since the VHS days, but it was a childhood favorite. I've wanted to revisit this too, especially since I've grown such respect for Seven Samurai, a movie I hadn't even heard of when I saw this movie last. I think I'd find a lot more depth to this one if I saw it again today (or it could just be a disappointment).

Bad - Coming to America - Doesn't quite hold together entirely, but a loose collection of "sketch" scenes, many of which hit the nail on the head. Endlessly quoteable.

Ugly - Trading Places - This is one of those movies that everybody seems to have grown up with, finds absolutely hilarious, and quotes ad nauseum. Outside of the "quart of blood technique," this movie fails to make be even crack a smile. There are jokes constantly flying at me, but none of them click. I've tried going back to this one several times over the years, thinking it must be me. But no, not even Jamie Lee Curtis' boobs cannot save this one.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby cdouglas » Thu May 31, 2012 7:33 am

The Good: Trading Places - Apologies to mavrach, but I love this one. Murphy and Aykroyd have rarely been better, Ameche and Bellamy are terrific villains and the movie veers impressively between smart social commentary and cheerfully juvenile humor.

Bad: Spies Like Us - A lot of wasted potential here, though there are still some inspired moments. It's a generally likable flick, but a surprisingly large number of the gags fall completely flat.

Ugly: Blues Brothers 2000 - Sigh.
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Mitchell Hattaway » Thu May 31, 2012 8:26 am

Good: The Blues Brothers

Bad: Into the Night

Ugly: Beverly Hills Cop III
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu May 31, 2012 8:44 am

Mitchell Hattaway wrote:Bad: Into the Night


Care to explain Mitch? I really enjoyed this one and would probably put it in my top 5 of Landis' films.
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Mitchell Hattaway » Thu May 31, 2012 10:16 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:
Mitchell Hattaway wrote:Bad: Into the Night


Care to explain Mitch? I really enjoyed this one and would probably put it in my top 5 of Landis' films.

The endless cameos are a distraction. They're not bothersome when Landis puts in two or three, but he went overboard in Into the Night.
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:10 am

Here's a re-post of something that I wrote for the forum in 2007: http://www.dvdverdict.com/juryroom/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=720&p=10721&hilit=I+met+John+Landis#p10721.

Saw a special theatrical screening of An American Werewolf in London Friday night at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York City with John Landis (courtesy of Blue Underground's Bill Lustig) in person to introduce the movie. The 35mm copy looked as washed-out as the DVD but the crowd (a third of which raised their hands when asked by Landis is they hadn't seen the movie) went wild and clapped during David's nightmare-within-a-nightmare scene and the Piccadilli Circus climax. The highlight of the evening was Landis' introduction though. For 20 minutes he rambled on about the film's origins while he was a PA in Yugoslavia working on "Kelly's Heroes," how much better the movie looks on "Blu-ray" high definition (I didn't have to heart to interrupt and correct him that "Werewolf" is from HD-DVD exclusive studio Universal), how the technicians that make high-definition versions of his movies hate him for making them degrade the PQ of the HD versions to match what he wants the movie to look ("Animal House" was made too pretty-looking on HD-DVD so he made them redo it), how he was in town for the world premiere of his new Don Rickles documentary ("...which you cheap f--- can watch for free on HBO in December"). At one point his cellphone rang in the middle of a story and, without missing a beat, he looked at it and said 'It's Mrs. Giulliani' (afterwards he said it was an Italian writer of a book about Landis' movies she's finishing in time for a January '08 release).

Landis asked the crowd for questions and I was first. I told him his group commentary track for "Kentucky Fried Movie" was my favorite and wondered why he didn't do DVD commentary tracks for his other movies. He said the Zuckers brought the funny out of him in the "KFC" commentary track and that, on his own, he just doesn't like doing or listening to them because they're boring. I told him that the stories he had just been telling for 20+ minutes would have been great to hear on a "Werewolf" commentary track and he sniped back in a pretend-exasperated voice 'I just told you these stories. Why would you want to hear them again?' (huge roar of laughter from the crowd). A couple of ass-kissing questions later Landis left to thunderous applause. I was sitting on an aisle seat and, without me looking at him or asking for it, Landis tapped my shoulder as he walked by me on his way out the theater. As pleased as I was that I met in person the director of "AAWIL" I shuddered a bit at the thought that the killer of Vic Morrow had just tapped my shoulder.


Surprised that "Werewolf" didn't end up as either a good/bad/ugly from any of the canuck panel. Also surprised that the whole "Twilight Zone"/Vic Morrow thing wasn't touched-up more in the podcast. I recently saw Albert Brooks' "Modern Family" for the first time and, to my surprise, James L. Brooks' cameo as a director (when he himself hadn't yet directed a feature) seems to have been fashioned after both Landis and Leonard Maltin; these men are all pretty much brothers from different mothers that kind-of look and talk alike. :) My personal Landis' G-B-U from what I've seen on his:

Good: An American Werewolf in London (sudden ending aside this is the "Last Boy Scout" and "48 Hours" of the horror genre; the offsprings of this comedy/horror hybrid are legion, and Landis is considered a horror auteur even though he's only done two horror movies and one of them is "Innocent Blood," further proof of "Werewolf's" legacy. Did I mention I freaking love it?)

Bad: The Kentucky Fried Movie (personal bias here since this was the very first DVD I ever bought when I got my PS2, but when this "movie" shows a skit that connects like "United Appeal of the Dead" or "Zynch Oxide" it's a scream; even the super-long and meandering kung-fu mini-movie at the center has moments of charm. The bad skits and length drag it down, but there's inspired anarchy in some of the better ZAZ-scripted bits; also the commentary track is that rare breed that's funnier or as funny as the movie itself)

Ugly: Beverly Hills Cop III (Eddie Murphy is bad and not funny here, but Landis' direction and staging of the action is also the pits: flat and lifeless, like a made-for-TV movie on a slightly-higher budget; it didn't quite kill the franchise but it left it comatose for 19 years until now, when CBS and Eddie Murphy are trying to bring it back with the new generation card: http://screenrant.com/beverly-hills-cop-tv-show-brandon-t-jackson/).
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Re: John Landis' Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:30 pm

re : Vargas

1. We didn't spend time discussing the Vic Morrow incident because we want to concentrate on the work, not the individual. The same degree of ''neutrality'' will be applied to Roman Polanski and any other ''controversial'' figure we discuss.

2. To me American Werewolf in London is somewhere between a good and a bad :A lot of it is ballsamazing but there are too many tone shifts and it is a bit too unwieldy to work. The Blues Brothers remains his only perfect film IMHO
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