Reely Bernie Faves: ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

“Do you have anything besides Mexican food?”

I start my Top 50 Reely Bernie Faves list with ¡Three Amigos! to make the point that some of our favorite movies are the least insightful, and within their “no-brainer” status we find a place of comfort and nostalgia.

For me, ¡Three Amigos! was babysitter backup for dozens of basement viewings with lots of Coca-Cola. It was an illegally dubbed VHS audio-to-boombox cassette-tape soundtrack to listen to on road trips (Dad’s creation). And, to my mom’s chagrin, it was the most quoted movie in our childhood household.

“There’s no hotel in this town.”

What we forget is that Lorne Michaels’s script and the Steve Martin/Chevy Chase/Martin Short trio in the Mexican desert united to form not just a comedy or western but a musical production. Randy Newman wrote the songs, the legendary Elmer Bernstein composed the score, and the tunes are just as catchy as anything Andrew Lloyd Webber.

No, I’m serious: Try not to hum the opening titles theme or sing “My Little Buttercup” or “Blue Shadows” while you’re doing the dishes. To this day, my coworker thinks the movie should be adapted to a stage musical on Broadway. Steve? Martin? This should be your post-Only Murders in the Building retirement project.

Along with the festive jingles, you get a refreshing take on the silent movie era and all the blunders that come with it. (Think a less smart Charlie Chaplin starring on Mexican SNL.)

I like the one who’s not so smart.

Which one is that?

The costumes are elaborate (“We can sew“), the set pieces are cheap, good ole Director John Landis moves the camera as gracefully as he can by truck, horse, and airplane (what’s a drone?), and Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short hit the bullseye for most gags. All three are young, fun, and dumb, and they successfully embrace a Mel Brooks-type slapstick that was never intended to be clean or decent.

The “Three Amigos” theme held strong in Denver, Colorado during the late eighties when Mark Jackson, Vance Johnson, and Rickey Nattiel took the name as John Elway’s wide receiving corps. (We put up the poster in our basement.)

Today, the slapstick of the 80s can respectfully moon a more “pc” 21st century flick if you want it to. Its brainless and occasionally offensive punchlines are an acquired taste best for generational interpretation. “Only in the 80s” doesn’t excuse anything, but it certainly makes sense.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh. Today, especially, you need to laugh.

Lucky Day: Well, we’re just gonna have to use our brains.

Ned Nederlander, Dusty Bottoms: Damn it.

Reely Bernie Faves:

49. TBA

50. ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

Thank you for reading. Your thoughts/experience regarding this goofy movie?

Reely Bernie

18 thoughts on “Reely Bernie Faves: ¡Three Amigos! (1986)

Add yours

  1. Heavens to Murgatriod!!! … it’s been so long since I saw this, and in a theater when it was first released. You’ve gone and done it now, I’m going to have to do a rewatch. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the theatre?! Wow. It was good ole VHS tape for me, but I’ll never forget watching it for the first time in the basement with my dad and brother. Such a goofy, guilty pleasure movie 🙂


  2. I generally don’t go for movies of this style, but you’ve pretty much sold me on this one. 🙂 I had no idea it’s sort of a musical! 😮 Randy Newman and Elmer Bernstein – wow! 😀 And hey, Steve Martin’s already brought one musical to Broadway (Bright Star, which I was fortunate enough to see – it was really good, despite a criminally short run), so it’s not like he doesn’t have any experience in that department. Your friend’s idea could definitely happen. 🙂

    Also, thanks for reading and so thoughtfully commenting on my movie list. ❤ Yours is the first “sidebar” comment I’ve ever received. I hope my reply made its way to you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We did Bright Star at my high school because it was the most “idiomatic” for an outdoor COVID- safe musical back in 2020. Such a fun show! Yes, I think you might be surprised by this one. It’s dated for sure, but there’s a goofy innocence to it! Thank you for replying back in two different ways, haha! I still don’t get WordPress, but glad I can use them as a portal for my nerdy venting 🙂 And, I get to meet good people like you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this movie as a kid and only recently, decades later, did I see it again. I wasn’t as thrilled this time, but I enjoyed the memories. There was another similar one as a kid appearing Chevy, and I believe, Dan Akroyd which I liked a lot and the title was something about Spies. But I haven’t seen it since that epoch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes, the memory of the favorite movie is more priceless and endearing, and I choose not to revisit some titles so as to not lose parts of my childhood. Haha, a little deep, I guess, but I cherish what’s in my head more than what’s in front of me. Spies Like Us has that hilarious, shameful exam cheating scene in the beginning. I just loved that part!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Believe it or not, I originally had ¡Three Amigos! scheduled for November, but I had to replace it. I’ll still likely end up watching it next year. I have heard it’s funny, and your experience with it has me more intrigued.


  5. A classic!! My son was mesmerized by Blue Shadows as a baby. We played it for him all the time!

    At work, I recently just sang out loud, ” My little buttercup” and my co-worker sang the next line!

    Every time El Guapo says, “It’s a sweater!” I crack up!!

    Bravo! Great start!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You totally get it! Haha! Such a silly, catchy movie (musical)!!! At school, we always say, “We can sew,” or “brother to brother and everyone, a brave amigo!” The movie rolls by quickly too. It made our long car trips so much shorter 🙂 Glad you can relate 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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