Faber College has one frat house so disreputable it will take anyone. It has a second one full of white, anglo-saxon, rich young men who are so sanctimonious no one can stand them except Dean Wormer. The dean enlists the help of the second frat to get the boys of Delta House off campus. The dean's plan comes into play just before the homecoming parade to end all parades for all time.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Donald Sutherland in a 1981 interview with the New York Times, stated that he disliked working with a director more than once, and that after making Fellini's Casanova (1976) with Federico Fellini, it would be five years before he would even go to dinner with him. John Landis must have been the exception to this rule, as he made Animal House (1978) and The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) with him, within two years of each other. See more »
The grandfather clock in Dean Wormer's office (during the probation discussion) does not advance, including the second hand. See more »
You'll have to excuse me and some of the other proponents of 'National Lampoon's Animal House' if we seem a little defensive about the movie. That's because it's often not recognized as the superior comedy classic that it is. Instead, too often it is lumped in with the multitude of inferior films that it inspired, which is totally unfair.
Some of the conventional wisdom about 'Animal House' is absolutely right, though. John Belushi does give a bravura performance that is reminiscent of the great comics before him like Chaplin, Keaton (Buster, not Michael), the Marx Brothers, etc., and he does it with a wonderful economy of words. His character of "Bluto" Blutarsky is often emulated and imitated but many times the persons doing so have no idea what it was that made him and his performance so great.
Tim Matheson as "Otter" and his other frat house buddies were also prototypes that were much imitated too, and again often without success. Otter was the quintessential smooth talker, always working an angle on everybody, especially the ladies. When a woman tells him that his lovemaking wasn't that great, he cocks his head, points a finger at himself and mouths the words, "not great?" in mock disbelief. Before Tom Hanks got "Big" he made a career out of playing this character. Also John Vernon set a standard for straight men with his portrayal of the beleaguered Dean Wormer, plagued by his "zoo fraternity."
Not all of the movie's humor aims low, by any means; some of it is quite sophisticated. (Yes, you read it right.) The screenwriters and director John Landis did a great job evoking Kennedy-era America and they found a lot to laugh at. This comedy is an unqualified classic by the simplest definition-- it makes you laugh, long and loud.
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