Movie: Animal House
My Rating: 3 stars
Now, here’s an old standard. Although, I had forgotten just how dated this movie is. This classic fraternity movie was made in 1978. But, it feels like it’s set in the 60s, maybe, with all the huge hairdos the girls are rocking, and their pointy bras and sweater sets. Did anyone else notice that? Was this intended to be a period piece when it came out? It feels like it to me. But, I can definitely see why this movie started a whole genre of rowdy, drunken frat films. It’s fun and irresponsible in the way we’d all like to be if there were no consequences for our actions. Plus our protagonists, the rough-and-tumble Delta house, really get to give it to their rivals, the snotty, be-sweatered Omegas. And, there’s nothing like ruffling the feathers of some uptight hotheads.
If you’ve seen one of these movies, you’ve seen ‘em all. A bunch of college boys, pounding beer and whisky in a decaying frat house. That’s how they fill their time when they’re not trying to get a glimpse up some girl’s skirts, or peeking into their windows while they’re undressing or having topless pillow fights. Or, perhaps that’s just John Belushi. But, the Delta house is known for their super-destructing pranks around campus—bombs in toilets, tearing up the sports fields, or causing some other grievous bodily injury to their adversaries. And, then there’s the liberal use of casual racism, which serves as comedic punctuation. There are plenty of really cringeworthy elements—both when the Deltas interact with black people and Jewish students. Yikes!
We’re supposed to be rooting for the Delta house but they really are bunch of slovenly wastrels. Not that I care for the Omegas at all . . . . They’re pretty terrible too, and definitely worse. But, where are all the normal guys on campus? I guess not in a fraternity, that’s where. I wouldn’t really know. I didn’t go to a school that had a Greek system. But, I’ve never been into the frat guys. My image of them is just a bunch of muscly bros in tank tops, hugging each other at Vegas pool parties. I go for more of the lumberjack, hipster type. I guess it’s all subjective.
You’re going to want to see this movie, even if it’s just to enhance your cultural literacy. Although, you’ve probably already absorbed a fair amount of the substance of this film, just by being out there, existing in the world. But, I’ve learned my lesson about assuming I know everything about a film after just seeing a few clips. I was completely surprised by how much better those old Marilyn Monroe films are than I’d assumed! Although, Animal House doesn’t really fall into that category. The clips really are enough to understand the tone. You’ve seen enough of these mad-cap comedies to understand what’s going on. And I don’t think anything will surprise you. But, this one is the original, and I guess that counts for something.