In honor of the 41st anniversary this week of National Lampoon’s Animal House, the uproarious frat comedy that is still vibrant, raunchy, refreshingly un-PC, and hilarious as ever, Universal Pictures has released a “Best of Bluto” video that compiles some of the most memorable scenes by John Belushi‘s iconic and slovenly character.
Watch the 10-minute compilation video here below (note – it contains explicit language).
Directed by directed by John Landis and written by Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, and Chris Miller, the 1978 comedy Animal House takes place in the early 1960s at fictional Faber College, but really, it could have been set at any time. The film avoids any trappings of having its narrative locked within its timeframe, save for some Peter, Paul, and Mary tunes; some great R&B-like Sam Cooke; beatnik personification played by Donald Sutherland; and some hair styles. The story and the zany cast of characters (played by Tim Matheson, Tom Hulce, Mark Metcalf, Karen Allen, and Kevin Bacon) are able to mostly flow free in the picture and it’s that sense of abandon that contributes an extra pep to the gags and even gives them an enhancing lift.
Led by John Belushi, the behemoth in many ways who already was prepping his cherubic, arrow-to-the-gut comedy on Saturday Night Live, brings it to full force crystallization here in the picture. He doesn’t have much to say; all his dialogue in the film probably wouldn’t even have filled three pages, but he speaks with his physicality, much like his legendary predecessors did on screen (Curly, Lou Costello, WC Fields). But here he does it with a kind of R-rated grossness, a brutality belabored by the fact of his zestfulness in the most possible dangerous extreme. His John “Bluto” Blutarsky character is sloppy, slovenly, overweight, careless, curious, rebellious frat boy. Most these characteristics are accented simply with an arched eyebrow (a Belushi trademark), a belch, or a vocal utterance which blusters up some sort of gas burner of a line, and it becomes like sawdust-filled confections thrown in the face of the viewer in the most aerodynamic comedy.
Viewed today, Animal House still has a fresh vibrancy, a lunatic fringe of a fringe and a not too much, not too little irreverence, and a balls-out feel to the whole picture. The jokes still work, the frenzied climax is still over the top and bombastic, just like it felt then and just like it ought to be. With the larger than life Belushi on screen, whose presence lingers even when he isn’t on screen, it solidifies the reason why the movie is still considered one of Hollywood’s great funny films of its era or any era for that matter.
You can watch all the uproarious antics in the “Best Of Bluto” video here below, many of which are now considered cinematic comedic folklore.