Thursday, 15 September 2011

The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me.

No 279 - National Lampoon's Animal House
Director - John Landis

I don't understand a lot of American culture. Especially university culture. Like I don't understand Frat houses or what they really are. I could do some basic research. Read this Wikipedia entry that took me literally seconds to find. But I won't. I refuse to. It will all remain a mystery of people being weird and getting spanked.
A strange homoerotic one-upmanship that just creeps up in films every now and then. But which I just don't get. I especially don't understand why their so important.

Anyway, they are important and Delta house is painted as the fuck-up house. And yet, when we're introduced to the houses at the start of the film, Delta house looks like the place that is actually fun. A party. Rather than an awkward parade of self-importance.

Anyway.... Animal house has been the stepping stone for almost every College gross-out comedy since. It has been parodied by everything. It was essentially an entire episode of The Simpsons

cough cough look over here

There is swearing, there is sex, there is a LOT of female nudity.

And there are some true comic gems. There is some visual humour which is inspired. John Belushi shuffling about on a ladder..... one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Even the 'zit' moment is still funny. And that is a clip on Scene it and I've 'seen it' about a gajillion times.

Lets move on and just discuss the big bag of awesome. The true legend of the film. D-Day....

And I just learnt something amazing about D-Day.

For a good half of the film, I thought D-Day was ACTUALLY a lecturer at the uni who then became a bit of a badass and hung out in the Frat house. I'd even created a back story for him.
Anyway then I assumed that Sutherland had enjoyed the script so much that he wanted to play two roles. Like Jack Nicholson in Mars Attacks!

But NO!!!! Donald Sutherland is only playing the lecturer. The legend that is D-Day is played by Bruce McGill... Who has appeared in lots of stuff but nothing that stood out.
So my entire speech about the awesomeness of Donald Sutherland has been wasted.

BUT.... D-Day is still amazing, from his entry as he rides a motorbike up some stairs to his finale in the car of destruction he pimps out...

He is great.

Its a weird film in that it inspired an entire genre really. And whilst nothing in it feels particularly NEW anymore (a side effect of its material being borrowed by so many sources) - it does feel like a quality piece of comedy.

There is a really high gag rate.

There were some genuine LOLZ

what more do you need?


doug said...

My friend and former boss was in this picture (in the marching band in the parade sequence), which puts me two degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon!

Anonymous said...

The point of fraternities (and sororities as well) is basically that in America you must be 21 to purchase or consume alcohol. So frat throw parties and things, and frat brothers who are over 21 purchase alcohol for the under 21 year old members (which is over half of university students these days), which is then consumed by them and hopefully people they'd like to sleep with. Because its alcohol and its fun, and it'll also increase their chances of getting laid.

Job jobbed.

-Angel Moon

Captain James Amazing said...

Now you see Angel, that TOTALLY MAKES SENSE!!!

But why are so many of them shown to be wanky self-important holes of pomposity? That's got nothing to do with the alcohols....

doug said...

They're shown to be wanky self-important holes of pomposity because generally that's their nature. They're really pretty conservative institutions dealing in elitism (a private 'club') that some people really want to be part of. Remember, Delta is the pariah, letting anybody join (which is why the other houses hate them). The only thing I dislike about this movie is the aping of Belushi that every other clod who's overweight and 'wacky' feels they must supply. But in this case the alcohol thing doesn't apply, as it's set in 1962 when the drinking age was still 18.