Archives for posts with tag: Harold Ramis

Many years after “National Lampoon’s Animal House” first came out, a friend of mine re-watched it and said it seemed “slower” than he remembered it. Unlike the gag-on-gag-til-you-gag comedies of more recent generations, this film has a plot, and plot exposition, and relationshippy subplots, and there are several physical comedy scenes featuring John Belushi with almost no dialogue. And the shocking-for-1978 nudity and language is common now. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t aged well. Despite some non-PC asides, the big punchlines are still brilliant examples of comedic craftsmanship. Worthless and weak? This film changed comedy and, in some ways, college.

Billy Bob Thornton makes some weird Christmas movies. John Cusack just makes weird movies, period. These two superheroes of uncomfortable humor join forces in “The Ice Harvest” (2005) as a pair of moderately sleazy dudes who plot to steal money on Christmas Eve from an exceptionally sleazy dude (Randy Quaid). Noirishly comedic hijinks ensue, replete with double- crosses that might have been coincidences – or might have been triple-crosses. It comes off a little flat. It’s a Harold Ramis film, which probably explains why the opening credits font is the same as the one used at the end of “Animal House.”

I first saw “Ghostbusters” (1984) at a theater in Waikiki. Needless to say, I enjoyed it. Even though Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote it and Bill Murray and Aykroyd star, it isn’t considered a classic “Saturday Night Live movie.” It doesn’t have as many belly laughs as “Animal House,” “Caddyshack” or “Stripes,” but from a plot construction standpoint, it might be better written than those three. It makes sense, is fast paced, there’s Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver – what’s not to like? And there are some classic one-liners, like when dickless gets blamed for shutting off the power grid.