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SNL movies: Forget 'MacGruber' -- bring back 'Coneheads'!

The box-office ruination of "MacGruber" has pundits wondering whether the decades-long practice of inflating "Saturday Night Live" sketches for the big screen has run its course. At $4.1 million, it made .7 million less than "The Blues Brothers" did in 1980 dollars.

Wouldn't it be a relief if the SNL producers stopped spinning these things off? Even on TV the sketches go on forever. As Monty Python's Eric Idle once said, the Pythons used to ask, "What's the difference between life and a 'Saturday Night Live' routine?" The answer: "Life is finite."

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SNL's ranks have produced a stream of gifted comedy stars, but they've mostly done their best work in real movies, not extended skits. Despite the box-office success of "Blues Brothers" and its bevy of musical talent, that film, too, was hectic and overblown. And though "Wayne's World" was another huge hit, the extended antics of vidiot savants Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) had the same slapped-together quality as most SNL TV specials.

My favorite SNL-sketch movie was a parable about illegal aliens: "Coneheads." The director, Steve Barron, brought crisp visual charm as well as deadpan goofiness to the tale of a cone-domed husband and wife from the planet Remulak who crash-land in the East River, have a daughter, settle down in New Jersey, and pretend to be from France. (The parents, were, as always, Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin, pictured left; the fizzy Michelle Burke was their rebellious teenager.)

The movie became a series of riffs on immigration and naturalization. Hiding out from I.N.S. honcho Michael McKean and his suck-up underling (the hilariously fey David Spade), the super-competent Coneheads assumed the coloration of the suburban American middle class—and turned illegal-alien stereotypes on their pointy heads.

I say, bring "Coneheads" back! What do you say about "Coneheads" and SNL movies?

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