National Lampoon’s Animal House

  • Directed by John Landis
  • July 28, 1978

A college dean is determined to expel an entire fraternity, but its members fight back.

I can certainly see the appeal of Animal House film. There is plenty that should appeal to me but I myself just do not like it. Something here just does not work for me.

To be honest is no real story or a resolution thereof. Nothing builds towards the finale. Animal House is just a series of one-off skits strung together with a loose overarching storyline no stronger than that of your average episodic television series. The finale comes about not as a culmination of events but because they realized they had to wrap the story up and just slapped a random ending on.

This movie is just a fictionalized compilation of remembrances from the writers. Perhaps rather than inspired by actual events, this is much more what they wish had happened. Ever after an argument or and given situation think of things you wish you had said or done? This may just be the film version of that.

And all these college students look to be in their early 30s to 40s. This is a general beef I have with anything featuring youthful characters. Cast age appropriate actors so that twenty year old does not have a receding hairline or a serious case of crow’s feet.

Animal House beget a great many imitators and helped start what is called the gross out film genre. I think many of those imitators did a much better job with the concept. It is a genre that produced some real gems and plenty of enjoyable stinkers. Porky’s and Wedding Crashers are prime examples. They at least had a more cohesive story from beginning to end.

This certainly made stars out of many of the actors if they were not known commodities before this. I would say the love that people have for the film kept many of the actors involved working long afterwards. While a star, this made John Belushi a cultural icon. John Vernon became identified permanently as authoritarian school heads though he continued in roles well beyond those. Peter Riegert, Tim Matheson, Stephen Furst, Donald Sutherland, and Bruce McGill al maintain a strong connection to this film. Karen Allen because of Indiana Jones and Kevin Bacon because of so much are probably the only two that do not get connected to this when you think of them.

Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s the cast and what they would later do but people have embraced this film. There are some very passionate fans out there. It has certainly proven to be very quotable and that helps keep people talking.

I was not impressed with any of the performances. None of the characters were that special or very entertaining. You could have changed around the lines and nothing would be odd because there is very little that separates one from the other. John Belushi as John “Bluto” Blutarsky is probably the only real standout but then again Belushi was in the role and the man was something special.

Animal House is not a movie I enjoy but it is certainly one that I understand why people find it appealing. I will not recommend this because it’s a great comedy. Rather I will recommend this for understanding popular culture and perhaps you too, if you haven’t seen it, will like it.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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