Comedies are some of the hardest films to do just right. In fact, comedies are about the only films that I’m the most picky with. With the new wave of comedy films that can be summarized as raunchy, crude, and even offensive; some are funny while others only make us shake our heads. As part of the Turner Classic Movie re-releases for this year, National Lampoon’s Animal House hit theaters across the nation for only two days. Being 38 years old, Animal House is a film that has aged well and still remains one of the best comedy films ever made.
Being the first spin-off of the popular magazine National Lampoon, Animal House gave audiences something that hadn’t been seen before on the big screen. It gave us raunchy humor that was daring, funny, and not gross in any sense of what is seen today. We were also given some truly colorful characters such as, Bluto, played by the perfect John Belushi and of course my favorite, Otter, played amazingly by Tim Matheson. There isn’t much character development within these characters but there is just enough to make us understand them and root for them.
Animal House sports a story line that pretty much every person who ever went to college and even high school can relate to. There are the cool people, you know, the ones that you shouldn’t hang out with because you just might get into trouble. Then there’s that one group that shuts everyone else away. They only want their own type of people within their group. Animal House is so silly to the point that whenever I watch the film I always have a grin across my face. It does bring back memories of the good times when we are with friends and having a good old time.
Not only is the comedy outstanding to the point that it’s hard for me not to smile throughout the entire duration of the film; it features a truly awesome soundtrack filled with songs that just make you want to stand up and shout! Seeing this film on the big screen was not only cool but was neat to see several people within the audience dance in the aisles and even sing along to the songs as they played on screen. I’ll admit I even did some singing and some jiving in my seat, hey come on, the songs are great!
Animal House ended up being the highest grossing film for a comedy in 1978, the year of its release, and it rightfully earned it. Showcasing crude language, people drinking heavily, seeing young women and men talking about and engaging in the, “Dirty Deed,” and you know what, not one of those things felt dirty or filthy in anyway. It’s a wonder to me why comedies nowadays feel that showing us naked people or using excessive language, people falling down and hurting themselves, and even telling some really crude jokes can pass as being funny. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really care for that kind of thing, unless it’s done in a unique way. With Animal House the sex jokes, sex references, practical jokes feel funny and something that we could identify with, well maybe some of those things.
I grew up watching Animal House and if you look at a lot of comedies that have been released since then, there are things to spot that no doubt reference this classic comedy. It’s a war between the frats and the Dean who is absolutely hilarious in this film. I laughed, the audience laughed, we danced and we sang. Plus I met two people who were dressed in some groovy attire. Long live the Delta house at Faber College and don’t forget the famous words that we must all repeat, “Toga! Toga! Toga! Toga!”
Animal House was released back into theaters through the Turner Classic Movie re-release as sponsered by Fathom Events. Be sure to check your local theaters for upcoming events, old classics, and even limited releases. Don’t forget Thelma and Louise plus Mothra will be returning to the big screen next week. Hope to see you at the show!