Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 239: Animal House (1978) - Rank 4/5


Watching old episodes of "Saturday Night Live," and even "Blues Brothers," I had to ponder: why do people regard John Belushi as being so funny? Perhaps it's due to the fact that all through my school career, I frequently found myself stuck sitting by a fat kid who thought he was funny. While others would chuckle at their oafish slapstick, I was repelled, quietly seething and thinking to myself, "Yeah, laugh now, but fatso's gonna be dead at thirty and then I'll have the last laugh." I was macabre as a child, but the swift death of Chris Farley during my high school years gave me a smug sense of vindication.

Anyway, the point is that it's popular to be fat as long as you're obnoxious in today's media (look at Michael Moore - hay-oh!) and I'm just burnt out on it. Yet I found myself guffawing at Belushi's John Blutarsky. Perhaps it was the flu fever I had at the time or perhaps it was the guided direction of pre-"The Stupids" John Landis, but the movie works. I suppose the overused cliche "Always imitated - never duplicated" would be apropos here, for it was blatantly obvious that this film is the birth of the collegiate hijinks genre. It's a selection that's seen its fair share of permutations, from the "American Pie" franchise to "Van Wilder."

The plot is familiar - a band of misfits live the rakish life on campus until their revelry exceeds the tolerance level of "the man" and they must learn to mature and conquer their dilemma (while still remaining youthful at heart). The funny thing is that this film broke that template before it existed, for none of the reprobates residing in Delta House go out quietly, filled with remorse or a sense of self-improvement. And somehow, that angle works, because it makes the players seem more "realistic." After all, does anyone really change? I mean, I laughed my ass off at moments of this film, but I still hate fat people...

Watch the Trailer

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