By Marc S. Sanders
When a film opens with two students walking across a college campus as the classical horn music of proud alumni accompany them, and then one of the students stops to pull up his fly, you know you are probably in for a contrast of ideals.
Animal House set a new standard in comedy featuring a John Belushi whose expressions and improvisations appeared too fast for the camera to catch everything he’s doing. The script never gave him much dialogue because his routines of smashing beer bottles, smashing guitars, smashing beer cans and just getting smashed merited no dialogue. He might have looked like a dirty slob, but he was a craftsman of facial expressions.
Every scene of Animal House plays like an episode of an ongoing sitcom; a raunchy one at that. A dead horse, a pledge ceremony, a toga party, a sabotaged parade, and a food fight. Each topic is the title of a sitcom’s various episodes.
John Landis directed the snobs vs slobs script co-written by Harold Ramis, and 40 years later the material still holds up. Then again, 40 years later, I wonder if this film would even get made. I’d rather not dwell on that.
What I do know is that this movie is still funny. Outrageously funny.