1978

Animal House

What do The Godfather, Jaws, and Animal House all have in common? The answer is that they are 1970’s classics that have influenced movies the way they are today. The Godfather inspired mafia films/television shows, Jaws began the advent of blockbusters, and Animal House began the R-rated comedies that are prominent in Hollywood today. Before Animal House, there were hardly any R-rated comedies. What this film showed was never showed on the big screen before. Lots of vomit projectiles, lots of sex, and just crazy raucous behavior. People have never seen anything like it but……most of them loved it. I, myself thought it was a very good film. There are many laughs to be had. What I found surprising that despite all the laughs, I could relate to this film because I am not too far removed from college and this film is about fraternity college life. This movie came from ideas out of a college magazine called National Lampoon, and they would eventually became a highly successful production company well into the 1980’s and 1990’s.

What did I like about the film? The script is one of the best written scripts in all of comedy. Harold Ramis excels at writing these kind of movies, and he truly created a funny and unique film. His screenplay hardly wavers and it keeps a consistent tone, although that ends up hurting the film just a tad. The cast is all wonderful. But the standout belongs to John Belushi. Belsushi was an Saturday Night Live favorite and he would become a big comedy movie star after this movie until his untimely death in 1982. But he was hilarious as the fat, obnoxious John Blutarsky. He loves being drunk and he loves starting food fights (one of the best scenes in the movie-that epic food fight!) Another standout was John Vernon as Dean Vernon Wormer. Wormer was an evil dean who did all he could to expel the Delta House fraternity. Donald Sutherland is also a scene-stealer. His performance as an early-60’s pothead English professor was spot-on. This movie features supporting turns from Tom Hulce, Kevin Bacon, Karen Allen, Bruce McGill, among others. The film is also well-directed. John Landis is in his wheelhouse with this sort of film, so you can easily tell he knows what he is doing.

Are there any negatives? No, not really. My biggest complaint is actually the consistency of the film. It may be too……consistent. What I mean is that the more jokes there are, the more some may fall flat. There were some that fell flat at times. Maybe a little more than I would have hoped given this film is called a “classic.” But that is only a small nitpick. I really enjoyed the movie for what it was.

Animal House is movie that is mostly about a war between two fraternities at Faber College. The Delta House has a reputation of taking anyone, while the other fraternity is the home of white, rich men that no one likes except for Dean Wormer (John Vernon). Wormer and his frat boys plan to kick Delta Fraternity off campus before homecoming parade. But not if the Delta boys can help it.

There are just many classic scenes to behold. There is the epic food fight that was fun to watch. I wonder how much food was wasted during the shooting of the scene. Then there was the parade, which is the end of the movie. This is the parade where the Delta show us who the real fraternity is. If you like music, you’ll like the scene where they successfully incorporate the hit song, “Shout.” Finally if you want to make Dean Wormer mad, all you got to do is put a horse in his office. Overall, Animal House is a comedy to see. It inspired many comedies in years to come thanks to raucous and endearing screenplay.

My Grade: B+

How did you like it?

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