Archives for posts with tag: John Vernon

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.

Generation Xers got screwed out of a lot of things, not the least of which was animation. Boomers and Millennials got Bugs Bunny, Pixar and Disney classics (“Pinocchio,” “Lion King,” etc.). We got Scrappy Doo and “Heavy Metal.” For whatever reason, Ivan Reitman thought 1981 was the right time for an animated anthology featuring the four food groups for 14-year-old Xer boys: weapons of war, rock and roll, purple eye shadow and huge breasts. The animation is typical of the early 1980s – artistic yet awful. The story is also typical – some kind of high-minded pacifism shrouded in blood and boobs.

Five minutes into “Dixie Lanes” (1988), I could have sworn it was a movie based on a play. Movies based on plays generally suck. After a few more minutes, I realized no play that sucky would have ever been adapted to the screen. All the overacting? They came by that honestly. It’s a period piece from 1945 that involves teen angst, war heroes with skeletons in their closet and an entire town of one-dimensional characters. Hijinks (and yelling) ensue. It all turned out OK in the end. That’s because it ended, which meant I didn’t have to watch it anymore.