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The Wonder of the Cinema

#9 Animal House

“Well, as of this moment they’re on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!”  Why wasn’t college more like Animal House?  Lock Haven University, my alma mater, was nothing like the fictional Faber College.  It has been said that “Lock Haven is where the men are men… and so are the women.”  Ah, well, at least could watch Animal House.

The cast is a veritable Who’s Who of acting and comedic talent from the late 70’s.  John Belushi in one of his finest roles despite having only a few lines.  Belushi would die of a drug overdose just four years later.  After filming Kevin Bacon went back to his day job as a waiter (where no one believe he had been in a movie).  The lovely Karen Allen was an unknown actress before Animal House and went on to star in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Starman among others.  Stephen Furst (Flounder) began his Hollywood career as a pizza delivery boy; he later went on to a recurring role in the TV hit series St. Elsewhere.  Tom Hulce (Pinto) went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for best actor for his role in Amadeus.  Donald Sutherland thought the movie would be such a flop that he took the $50,000 salary rather than “points” on the profits which would have earned him over $18 million(in today’s money that’d be about $61 million!)  Director John Landis had directed two films prior to Animal House (Schlock and Kentucky Fried Movie); however, they were flops.  Following the tremendous success of Animal House–which was made for about $2.5 million and returned over $150 million–Landis directed The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller, and Trading Places.

The plot is simple, the gags and jokes are now classics, the alcohol, drugs, sex… (hey, that’s just like LHU). The copycats are still being churned out yearly.  Everybody in Hollywood is looking to bottle lightning.  But there was only one Animal House.  Do yourself a favor and watch it again.

Interesting trivia: Flounder (aka Kent Dorfman) was from Harrisburg.


About Rob Sterner

English teacher, Film buff, Filmmaker, Writer, Musician, Photographer, Runner, Taoist, Thinker, List maker...


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