So it begins.
Okay, so this isn’t that epic or extreme as much as I’d like to think it is. But even so, this is likely to be the last summer film challenge we do, considering that the world is about to end. (What an end it will be, though! Can you imagine a better year to end on than the one where The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Hobbit are all released?! But I digress.)
Back to business: National Lampoon’s Animal House.
Let’s all be honest with each other. Most everybody has seen this movie and everybody knows that this is among the funniest movies of all time (AFI says so!) and was so influential that not only did it effectively launch the careers of nearly everybody who starred in or worked on it (Ivan Reitman, John Landis, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Kevin Bacon, and on and on and on), it also invented the college frat sex comedy. Yes, The Hangover exists because of this movie (and that may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view).
Now, because this film has such a reputation and there has been so much written about it, I’m not particularly interested in doing a conventional review for this film. I think there’s something much more interesting that I would rather talk about. You want to know my general thoughts on the film, I’ll tell you. I loved it! I was laughing hysterically all the way through. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the climactic parade scene which fell flat for me, and was probably the most forced and least consistently funny part of the film (though it did have it’s moments). Here is a list of some moments that particularly stood out for me:
-The golfing scene (foreshadowing to Caddyshack, maybe?)
-The horse in the office
-Otter seducing a girl by pretending her dead roommate was his fiancee
-Two words: Donald Sutherland
-The toga party (duh!)
Final verdict: 9/10 See it! It’s hysterical and a classic!
Okay, got that over with. Now onto something that really fascinates me about this film: all of the women in this film are completely inconsequential. It’s incredible how much the women in this film have absolutely no bearing on anything that happens in the plot. From what I remember, there are five principal women characters in this film: Karen Allen as Katy, Boon’s girlfriend, then there was Mandy who was dating the head of the Omega house but wasn’t satisfied with him, there was her friend who wanted to get with Mandy’s boyfriend, then the Mayor’s daughter, and the Dean’s adulterous wife. All of these characters, with probably the exception of Mandy’s friend, are all jerked around by the men to fulfill their purposes and whims. Otter sleeps with the Dean’s wife for the sole purpose to get back at the Dean, Pinto sleeps with the Mayor’s daughter to lose his virginity, Mandy doesn’t do anything, and nearly every scene with Boon and Katy consists of Katy trying to convince Boon to grow up and get a life while Boon ignores her and does exactly what she asked him not to do in the very next scene. Mandy’s friend is the exception because she becomes the one who manipulates the Omegas to think that Otter slept with the Omega president’s girlfriend. However, nothing ultimately comes of it because she, like Mandy before her, isn’t able to arouse the Delta president (Mandy is apparently unaffected by all these happenings behind her back).
I guess why this is shocking to me is because it was so blatantly obvious that the female characters in the film had little to no impact on the characters (or the plot, to a certain extent). I realize that females generally get the shaft in films nowadays and always have, especially in comedies, so this is nothing new, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it to the extent where the female characters literally had no impact on the male protagonists. Even in most comedies, the woman has some influence on the actions that the man takes. That is not the case in this film at all.
The reason that I bring this up is because I’m fairly certain this was a purposeful decision. Many of our college experiences are defined by the women we meet and spend time with, yet that doesn’t seem to be the case for the characters in this film. Because the shafting of the female characters felt so blatant in this film, I can’t entertain the idea that this wasn’t done on purpose. My read on it is that they wanted to focus more on the comradery between the male characters therefore the women characters got pushed to the sidelines. And I guess it’s also funnier when idiot males objectify slutty females. There’s something… timeless about it.
And that’s it. Thanks for reading! If you want to comment, go ahead!
Next SFC review: A Town Called Panic