Thursday, July 10, 2014

Movie Review: "Animal House" (1978)

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Movie"Animal House"
Director: John Landis
Year: 1978
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

The year is 1962. Larry Kroger (Tom Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) are trying to rush a fraternity. When Omega house obviously has no interest in them, they turn to Delta House, of which Dorfman is a legacy. Delta is known as the worst fraternity on campus and is the scourge of Dean Wormer (John Vernon). All they seem to do is throw outrageous parties, skip class, and cause trouble, but it's all in good fun. The other members of the frat, Otter (Tim Matheson), Bluto (John Belushi), Boon (Peter Riegert), D-Day (Bruce McGill), and fraternity president Robert Hoover (James Widdoes) welcome Larry and Kent into the fold and dub them Pinto and Flounder. There is just one problem: unbeknownst to the members, Dean Wormer has placed Delta house on double secret probation and has asked the members of Omega house, a particularly unscrupulous member named Doug Neidermeyer (Mark Metcalf) specifically, to keep an eye on them. One screw up and Delta could lose it's charter, meaning Larry and Kent's fraternity life could end just as quickly as it began.

Is this the original college sex comedy? One of the best movies about college and frats? It might be! Well, they started off the "genre" with a bang, that's for sure! What a great, funny movie filled with quite a few stars-to-be (Kevin Bacon, John Belushi, Bruce McGill, Tom Hulce, etc) and cameos (Karen Allen as Boon's girlfriend and Donald Sutherland as a stoner professor). Even watching it almost 40 years after it came out, it still holds its own and is hilarious and raucous. "Animal House" is an homage to debauchery, filled with sex, drugs, alcohol, comedy, and togas. It makes us yearn for the time when National Lampoon made good quality films rather than inane sequels and the 927th "Van Wilder" movie (if you can call them movies at all). Sure, this isn't type of film you should to take seriously, but it's definitely the type of movie you need to watch if you're having a crappy day and want to let off some steam with laughs-o-plenty. This is one of John Belushi's quintessential performances. He has so many uproarious moments in the film, including his improved guitar smashing scene. Neidermeyer is arguably one of the most memorable villain roles in comedic movie history. His line "is that a pledge pin on your uniform?!" is so memorable that it even ended up in a Twisted Sister song! It's crazy to see Kevin Bacon as a really young frat rusher in the evil Omega house. Tom Hulce would go on to be nominated for an Oscar! Great cast altogether.

What else is there to say about this classic comedy? Not much, really, you just have to watch it yourself to see why "Animal House" is such a beloved piece of cinema.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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