Now I know a lot of people are probably going to wonder why I didn’t review this movie earlier. Well, the answer is pretty simple, I decided to do all of the National Lampoon movies together. So, this is one of those comedies that came out and inspired countless comedies to follow. I have lost count of the number of times I would come across this movie on TV and sit down and watch it, no matter what point in the movie it was at. So it’s time to have some fun with the Deltas as I watch today’s movie, National Lampoon’s Animal House.
The plot: At Faber College in 1962, freshmen Larry Kroger and Kent Dorfman are trying to join a fraternity. The first attend a party at the Omega Theta Pi’s house but find themselves excluded from conversation and stuck in a corner with other “undesirable” candidates. Leaving the party, Kent suggests trying the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, saying his brother was a member which means he is a legacy and sure to get in. Arriving at the house, they are greeted by John “Bluto” Blutarsky, who invites them inside to the rush party. They split up meet several of the other Delta members including Robert Hoover, Daniel “D-Day” Day, Eric “Otter” Stratton and Donald “Boon” Schoenstein, and Boon’s girlfriend Katy, who is tired of Boon constantly getting drunk at the frat house. The next day, the Deltas vote to have Larry and Kent join the fraternity and are given the house nicknames Pinto and Flounder respectively. Meanwhile, Dean Vernon Wormer is talking with Greg Marmalard, the president of the Omegas, about trying to get rid of the Deltas and after learning that they are already on probation, decides to put them on double-secret probation and says he just needs one excuse to kick them out. The next day, Kent is attending ROTC training and is yelled at by Doug Neidermeyer, another Omega member and ROTC commander, and after seeing the Delta pin on his uniform, he assigns Flounder to clean out his horses stable. Boon and Pinto are talking with Katy about finding a girl for Pinto as they walk to Professor Jennings house, where they end up smoking pot. That night, after Flounder is yelled at again by Neidermeyer, Bluto and D-Day show up in the stable and talk him into getting revenge on Neidermeyer. They take Neidermeyer’s horse and put it in Dean Wormer’s office, then give Flounder a gun and tell him to shoot it, not telling Flounder that the gun is loaded with blanks. Flounder goes in there but points the gun at the ceiling and fires, causing the horse to have a heart attack and die and after seeing what happened, the three Deltas quickly leave. After the midterm exams are printed, Bluto and D-Day hunt through the trash to grab the answers but they wind up grabbing a fake answer sheet that Chip, an Omega member, had planted for them to find. After the Deltas get every answer on the exam wrong, Dean Wormer shows up and informs them of their double-secret probation and says one more incident will find them kicked out and after he leaves, Otter and Boon decide they need to throw a toga party. They head to the local grocery store to get some food and while they are there, Otter inadvertently hits on Dean Wormer’s wife and Pinto ends up asking the checkout girl Clorette to be his date to the party. At the party, the Wormer’s wife ends up showing up drunk and Otter takes her up to his room to have sex. Meanwhile Pinto and Clorette go up to Hoovers room to have sex but Clorette ends up falling asleep so Pinto takes her back to her home in a shopping cart, where he realizes that she is the mayor’s daughter. After the mayor complains about what happened to his daughter, Dean Wormer has the Deltas brought before a disciplinary hearing which is nothing more than a kangaroo court to revoke their charter and the Deltas end up walking out. After they see all of the stuff confiscated from the frat house, Otter and Boon decide to take Pinto and Flounder with them on a road trip. Otter manages to talk 4 girls from another college into going with them and they end up stopping at a bar when they see that Otis Day is playing there but don’t realize that it is an exclusive African-American bar. When some of the patrons threaten the guys, they end up rushing out of there, leaving their dates behind and damaging Flounder’s brother’s car as they leave. The next day, Boon goes to see Katy to try and patch things up only to find out that she had slept with Professor Jennings. Meanwhile, Babs Jensen tells Greg that Mandy was with Otter so they trick Otter into heading to a hotel, where Neidermeyer and some other Omegas beat him up. Dean Wormer gets the Deltas’ midterm grades and tells them that they are officially expelled due to their poor grades. As the Delta’s all gather in the frat house one last time, Bluto convinces them that they need to get revenge on Dean Wormer and the Omegas. During the Homecoming parade through town, the Deltas make their own float that they use to disguise Flounders damaged car, which has been turned into an armored car called the “Deathmobile” and end up ruining the parade. As the movie ends, you learn the fates of all of the Delta’s as well as Dean Wormer, Greg, and Neidermeyer.
National Lampoon’s Animal House met with mixed reviews when it first came out but has since become one of the best films to come out in 1978 and has a 91% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “The talents of director John Landis and Saturday Night Live’s irrepressible John Belushi conspired to create a rambunctious, subversive college comedy that continues to resonate.” When the film was released, Universal Studios spent $4.5 million to promote the movie at select college campuses and helped students organize their own toga parties. The movie was a box office success, earning over $141 million off of a $3 million budget. In 2001, it was deemed culturally significant and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
This is an absolutely funny movie to watch. The acting was good, with John Belushi (Bluto) turning in one of his best performances ever. The plot was somewhat a stereotypical misfit group verses establishment story but the writing and the various sight gags that were used helped make this movie more memorable. As for the comedy itself, some of it… ok, most of it might be considered crude or offensive but it was still funny. From the part with the horse dying (the freeze frame of the horse when the shot goes off is priceless), to Bluto’s pretending to be a zit, to the fiasco at the parade, and everything else adds up to a lot of laughs. So if you want to laugh about how crazy college could be, then you should definitely watch this movie.
Rating: 5 out of 5