Probably about a third of all modern comedies can trace their spiritual ancestry back to Animal House. This was one of my favorites growing up, but I worried how it would hold up now, and surprisingly, it flowed nearly as well as it did all those years ago.
John Belushi is still a pure force of nature as Bluto Blutarsky, and he steals the movie in several legendary scenes such as the peeping tom scene on the ladder, the food line scene, and the “Pearl Harbor” speech scene. That said Tim Matheson also carries a big part of this movie as well.
I think what attracted me the most to this movie as a young child was that none of the main characters had any morally redeeming characteristics but they all still came off as very identifiable and utterly likable. They were lazy, drunken, and goofball slobs battling authority and civilization one Toga Party at a time.
Now, I mentioned the debt that is owed to Animal House by most modern movies, and that is both a blessing and a curse, because for every movie that comes along in the spirit of Animal House, at least half of them miss the entire point and just proceed to pass off a bunch of lewd scenes and unlikable characters onto its audience.
Animal House isn’t successful because of its lewd content, even though its big part of its style, it is successful because of the screen presence and charisma of the actors that carry the day. There has to be likability somewhere, and Belushi and company here prove to be very adept at conveying that likability while behaving in very juvenile and unlikable manners.
The music here also deserves comment as this movie’s soundtrack boasts some great 1960s style stuff like “Shout” by Otis Knight, and “Don’t Know Much” by Sam Cooke.
Animal House gets a four out of five: GREAT.