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John Landis bashes modern Hollywood

John Landis bashes modern Hollywood (photo)

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John Landis gives the best interviews. I guess when you’ve had a thirty-plus year career in the movies, and you’ve made some of the biggest comedies of all time including “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers,” you can get away with saying pretty much whatever you want. Which is what Landis does, which is why his interviews are always a lot of fun to read.

Landis has a new film called “Burke and Hare” opening this Friday from the lovely people at IFC Films so, much to my delight, he’s doing some interviews, including one I loved from The A.V. Club. The whole thing’s great, but I particularly enjoyed the part where he talked about why he hasn’t made a major studio film in quite a few years. Here’s what he said:

“I was very pissed off by what Universal did to me on ‘Blues Brothers 2000’ and that was my first experience with the new corporate Hollywood. It’s very different. Everything is by committee now, and they destroyed that movie, though the music is still good. This happens to filmmakers all the time, where producers and studios fuck with their picture, and when you’re promoting the movie you can’t say that. [Laughs.] The directors get blamed for things that are clearly not their fault. But the bottom line is, I enjoy filmmaking, I really like it and it’s a pleasure and I certainly don’t want to take some principled stand against the majors. I would be delighted to make a studio picture, but the truth is, if you look at the films they’re making, they are not the movies I want to make. I don’t want to make ‘Thor.’ [Laughs.] …It’s a combination of economics and we live in a very conservative and reactionary and frightened time. People are scared shitless in terms of taking risks on movies. Would the studios ever make a movie like ‘Into The Night’ now? Or even ‘Animal House?’

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Landis talk about “Blues Brothers 2000” and the fact that the studio apparently imposed certain creative decisions on him that he didn’t agree with. He’s right too: directors do get the blame when things go wrong no matter who’s really at fault. Until I read that quote I’d been laying the blame for “Blues Brothers 2000,” an awful sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time, at Landis’ feet (and Dan Aykroyd’s feet too — the movie’s so bad there’s enough blame for several pairs of feet). Now I’m not so sure. I am sure I want to hear more about the behind-the-scenes drama there.

Landis also doesn’t have great things to say about “The Hangover,” saying that he’s “insulted” when people compare it to “Animal House” (“‘The Hangover’ had a nice tidy ending. The studios are not taking risks,” he says). He’s also got strong words for the politics of “Knocked Up” and “Juno,” and says “It’s a strange time” in Hollywood right now. He’s right about that. But I hope eventually things change enough that we see Landis back in the fold making big budget comedies. Few people make ’em better, at least when the studio keeps its hands off.

Do you think Landis is right? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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