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National Lampoon's Animal House (DVD) Review
Arriving on the scene in 1978, Animal House is the blockbuster frat house comedy that rewrote all the rules and created a generation of filmmakers hoping to replicate its comic genius. Original Saturday Night Live cast member John Belushi turned in a breakout film performance that made him a comedy rock star, propelling him to further fame with the release of Blues Brothers (1980). Tim Matheson also has his breakout role in the cult classic which features appearances by actors Mark Metcalf ("the Maestro" from Seinfeld), Donald Sutherland, and Kevin Bacon.
The film is set at fictional Faber College in the 1960s. Two incoming freshmen roommates, Larry Kroger (Tom Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst), visit the various fraternities on campus in an effort to find a good group with which to socialize. But the two get more than they bargain for when the meet the guys of Delta House - a ragtag bunch of beer-swilling, womanizing, party animals. The group is the complete opposite of another campus fraternity, Omega House, headed by the snide, condescending preppies Greg Marmalard (James Daughton), Doug Neidermeyer (Mark Metcalf), and Chip Diller (Kevin Bacon). Favorites of Dean Wormer, the Omega House continually taunts Delta House and conspires with Dean Wormer to have the members of Delta expelled and their fraternity banned.
Leading the charge for Delta House is John "Bluto" Blutarsky (John Belushi), ladies man Eric "Otter" Stratton (Tim Matheson), and Donald "Boon" Schoenstein (Peter Riegert). Pledging Delta House, Larry and Kent are given the nicknames, Pinto and Flounder. Brought into the fold, they witness the true diversity of characters they are now brothers with. Otter seduces Dean Wormer's wife, and Bluto spits egg on Greg Marmalard while Boon and his girlfriend work through their problems.
Things go well for the men of Delta House until Dean Wormer calls them into his office and places them on "Double Secret Probation". With Omega and Wormer aligned against them, Delta House is kicked off campus and its members expelled. But the great men of Delta refuse to go down without a fight. With the Homecoming parade set to begin, they unleash a fury of revenge on Wormer and company.
At the conclusion of the film, we learn of the whereabouts of all the various characters. The timeless humor of this film makes it no wonder that it has ascended to cult classic status. An original and witty comedy wielding a trailblazing influence on teen/college comedies, Animal House has earned its place in the hallowed halls of American cinematic classics.
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