Thursday, March 15, 2007

March Matchups: Animal House vs. Revenge of the Nerds

Hello everyone and welcome to the "Rangers In Seven" Arena...the S.R.O. (Standing Room Only) signs went out early because we are jammed packed! The crowd is really on edge and you could cut the electricity with a knife! When word leaked out earlier today that this was the next match, all the big shots wanted tickets...hey we even managed to get WFAN's John Minko a press pass, imagine that! Let's go up to our ring announcer...

Animal House vs. Revenge of the Nerds
Animal House (pictured at the top), or more properly, National Lampoon's Animal House, was released in 1978 and starred John Belushi and Tim Matheson, and was written by Chris Miller who based the flick on his experiences as a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Dartmouth. Animal House was ranked number 36th according to Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies." There are 35 movies funnier? Now you know why I'm not big about lists. Incredibly, the U.S. Library of Congress selected Animal House for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2001. The movie cost three million dollars to make but has grossed nearly $200 million in VHS and DVD sales.

Animal House is about a bunch of party animals in a fraternity that take on the ruling class of the college. The movie's uniqueness is in the fact that it pushes the envelope to places that envelopes previously were not pushed. The actors are absolutely hysterical and really make the film. Notable scenes include, of course, the rallying cry for a toga party, John Belushi's character smashing the guitar of a folk singer ("I gave my love a cherry..."), D-Day's rendition of the William Tell Overture on his windpipe, the song Shout! being sung at the Delta house toga party, etc. The list of funny scenes is really endless.

Incidentally, Dartmouth is also noted in another great movie from the '70s. In The Godfather, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) met his future wife Kay (Diane Keaton) while a student at Darmouth. This is mentioned in Mario Puzo's book, but not in the movie. Also, in Puzo's book Luca Brazie takes on a much great role. For some reason, Luca was not as prominently featured in the movie.

Revenge of the Nerds was released in the summer of 1984 and has gone on to become a cult classic. The story is pretty basic and has been done many times to varying degrees: The outcasts at the fictional Adams College basically get tired of being humiliated by the football team, and decide to unite to form their own fraternity to gain respect. Yeah, I know people can say "been there done that." But this movie is different.

Robert Carradine plays the head nerd, Lewis Skolnick, with Anthony Edwards (Top Gun, E.R.) as his sidekick, Gilbert Lowell. Those two got the whole thing down to a science; not just in the clothes they wore (high waters, ugly shirts), the nerd glasses, and the pocket protectors, but the high-pitched nasally laugh by Carradine. John Goodman excels in the role as the obnoxious football coach, while Ted McGinley plays the arrogant athlete to a tee.

The film accentuates every stereotype to the max, and may offend some people. But really the only ones who would take offense to Revenge of the Nerds are those who take life a bit too seriously, and why wouldn't you? There's plenty of gratuitous nudity, including the hysterical pantie raid conducted by the nerds, while the Mission Impossible theme song plays. The movie included some great lines and the ending was classic with Queen's We Are the Champions serenading the formally outcasted Tri Lams, who rose to the top of the campus!

Parts of the movie were filmed at the University of Arizona. James Cromwell played Lewis Skolnick's father in the film. Meanwhile, Matt Salinger played "Burke," one of the guys who bullied the outcasts. Sallinger, is the son of J.D. Sallinger who penned Catcher in the Rye. Curtis Armstrong played booger; remember Armstrong from L.A. Law and Risky Business? A sequel was made that was OK, plus two additional made-for-t.v. movies that were awful. Plans for a remake were scrapped this past summer.

I absolutely love both of these movies and could watch them anytime, with virtually anyone. This is a really tough matchup, perhaps the toughest we have had here at "March Matchups." I love underdogs, so the winner of this contest is...Revenge of the Nerds!


Anonymous said...

Curtis Armstrong was on "Moonlighting", not "LA Law".

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Thank you. I stand corrected. I can't believe I got that wrong. I loved both shows, however. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

hey, no problem. Actually, it was a good time in that it launched me off on a thread to look up "LA Law" web pages, where one gets reminded of just what a in-your-dreams melt-down babe Susan Dey was. A pre-law undergrad Grace Van Owen could have cut a swath through BOTH of those frat houses... all of them boys would have been drooling helpless, and she could have had her way with any of them just by crooking her finger. But I digress.

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

That's one of the most well-thought out comments I've gotten on here! Great job!