Animal House (1978)
College Comedy Insanity
The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me - Dean Vernon Wormer
There have been many pretenders to the crown, many a movie which has tried to emulate its success, but more than 30 years after it was released "National Lampoon's Animal House" or just "Animal House" as it is also called still remains the best college comedy ever made. It's undeniably daft, totally crazy, full of drinking, drugs, sexual innuendo and just about anything which people could look down their noses at, but it's incredibly funny and from beginning to end doesn't let up, delivering scene after scene of college comedy insanity.
It's the start of the new year at Faber College and whilst the stiffs try to become members of the top Frat house, Larry Kroger (Tom Hulce - Jumper) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) become members of Delta Frat house, the roughest and unruliest bunch of hard partying students at the college. So despicable are the Delta House members that Dean Wormer (John Vernon - Brannigan) not only wants to shut it down but boot all the students out of the university. None of which matters to the members of Delta House as all they care about is Toga parties, high school pranks, getting drunk and getting laid. That is until Dean Wormer gets what he wants.
So lets get one thing straight, "Animal House" does have a storyline it's about Dean Wormer's plans to shut down Delta House, honestly it is the storyline and all the college antics are not what it's all about. Okay, so I lied, "Animal House" really is about all the daft antics which go on at the Delta frat house and that story about Dean Wormer really is a slim back drop for all the jokes. It doesn't really matter as get passed the first 5 minutes and Bluto opening the door to the raucous Delta House and you don't care for a storyline.
Now the thing is whilst the jokes are outrageous, the suggestive comments about cucumbers, beer can crushing on heads and the various parties all sort of have a touch of realism. What I mean is that students had theme parties, they got drunk, they used sexual innuendo as a chat up line but not to the outrageous level on show in "Animal House". As such it makes it hilarious, totally stupid and makes you want to go to a college where these sorts of antics happen. Not only that it makes you want to have friends like the beer can crushing Bluto and confident womanizer Eric Stratton.
What this does mean is that whilst "Animal House" does try to keep itself to the storyline it does end up scene after scene of jokes. In fact there are so many jokes, many of which are just brilliant that it's hard not to laugh at Larry's attempts to get laid, Dorfman's nerdish behaviour, the horse stealing scene, Bluto starting a food fight in the dining hall or Bluto doing just about anything.
Now whilst Tom Hulce and Stephen Furst as Larry Kroger and Kent Dorfman are the introduction to the Delta Frat House and provide many of the movies funny moments it is John Belushi as Bluto who is that star of the movie. From his outrageous antics, screams of "Toga Toga" and "Food Fight" through to just the way he seems to jump around it's an insanely daft but memorable character and such a top performance.
As is often the case there are a lot of recognizable faces scattered around including Tim Matheson, Bruce McGill, Karen Allen, Donald Sutherland, John Vernon and Kevin Bacon in his first movie. The thing is whilst John Belushi provides many of the jokes, the rest of the characters are just as funny from Bruce McGill strumming out a tune on his throat through to Donald Sutherland playing a hippie teacher.
What this all boils down to is that "Animal House" is, despite being over 30 years old, still the best college comedy movie. It's insanely stupid, filled with scene after scene of college debauchery, but it doesn't just feel like a movie built around gags, they somehow manage to link together through a slim storyline. But it is John Belushi which makes "Animal House" such the great movie that it is and whilst for many will think "Blues Brothers" was the best John Belushi movie for me it will always be "Animal House" and his can crushing antics as food fight loving, toga wearing Bluto.
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