Knowledge is good, but swilling kegs of beer is more fun! Just ask the guys at the Delta House fraternity. Often imitated, but seldom equaled, Animal House spawned a generation of gonzo comedies and launched John Belushi’s film career. Dean Wormer (John Vernon) puts the titular frat on double-secret probation, and it’s up to Bluto, Flounder, Pinto and the rest of the brothers to get even. This edition includes retrospective featurettes and more.
Rating: 9 out of 10
I was way too young when I was taken to see Animal House. But I didn’t mind. My mind wasn’t that fragile. I found it refreshing, vulgar, gross and hilarious. Plus it had John Belushi, Sam Cooke and nudity. “National Lampoon’s Animal House” is completely original on so many levels and has endured as one of the best comedies about college misfits usurping the uptight academic establishment ever filmed. If there was ever a frat house with the most disreputable band of lazy, brutish hooligans it’s Delta house. A motley crew of losers with a heart of gold just trying to fit in at Faber College in 1962 in this John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) comedy opus.
The Brilliant and late Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi stars as “Bluto” Blutarsky, the always drunken but lovable leader of the delta house group who has been in college for seven years or so. He just about steals every scene he is in and when he isn’t reciting any lines makes you crack up by merely using facial expressions. The cafeteria, toga and guitar smashing scenes are utterly hilarious and pure Belushi at his comedic best. John Landis, working off a great, natural script from Doug Kenny, Chris Millier and Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters), shows us another side to these misfits that audiences never knew about. We get to care about them and learn what it is they really want from everyone else at Faber — respect. And they will do anything to get. Even if it means buying 10,000 marbles or crashing the Annual Homecoming Parade. Miller’s script is partly based on stories that were published in National Lampoon and they were also semi-autobiographical. He was even called “Pinto” like one of the Delta house frat brothers.
Otis Day and the Knights perform “Shout” at the toga party which is a great highlight and of course the food fight in the cafeteria is not to be missed. This is one timeless comedy classic. A gross out comedy, to be sure, but a classic nonetheless. Thomas Hulce, Stephen Furst, Karen Allen, Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson round out the cast.