Classic College Portrayal

… Essay, Research Paper

Animal House: Classic College Portrayal or Inspiration to do Something Dumb?

The often considered classic National Lampoon s movie Animal House is a raunchy, screwball comedy about a motley collection of students belonging to the Delta fraternity at Faber College back in the early 60 s. The story line has been used over and over: students are drinking, a problem arises, the students drink some more, and then they figure out a way to defeat the system and win back their pride. Movies such as PCU and National Lampoon s Senior Trip share this common story line as well. The emphasis on the students drinking and acting wildly takes center stage from almost the beginning of the movie and continues through the last frame. Is this such a good idea? With images like this will students try and live up to the crazy antics portrayed in the movie under the impression they won t be severely reprimanded?

Usually people see movies like Animal House while they are still in high school, a time when they are most likely to be influenced by images seen in movies. Seeing things like John Belushi s character Bluto drinking beers out of a two liter wine glass and smashing beer cans into his head could be an influence for people to become partying alcoholics. Also, the movie takes two characters, Flounder and Pinto, and portrays them as geeks. When they try and pledge Omega (a clean cut and dry fraternity for the prep kids) they are blatantly denied, however when they get down the street to the Delta house they are fed beers and made pledges. Almost as if to say if you re a loser drink some beers and get wasted. There is the distinct possibility that insecure high schoolers may see this movie and eventually turn to alcohol and a lifestyle that involves parting too much to make themselves fit in once at college.

While some might argue that some of the stunts in Animal House are so ridiculous that it is improbable they could ever occur in real life (take D-Day riding the motorcycle up to the second floor of the Delta house for example), real college students, who at times are almost as out of control as the Delta crew, are being encouraged to try and do the improbable to make their college experience as memorable as the movie. Haven t you always wanted to go to a togo party (or have you already been)? Or start a enormous food fight in the cafeteria? With a little bit of inspiration from a movie like Animal House, perhaps someone might get the urge to do something they might not have otherwise done, and worst of all, they might do it ignorant to the rules that apply in the real world (starting that food fight will cost you your meal plan, for example).

The amount of beer and alcohol consumed in the movie is incredible (as is the amount that gets wasted by having bottles thrown into walls). At one point Bluto actually drinks an entire bottle of Jack Daniel’s in one giant swig (see the cover page). It is images like this, along with the attitude towards drinking that encourages recklessness among college students.

My advise to you is to start drinking heavily.

You better listen to this man, he s pre-med.

Bluto and Otter to Flounder

after his brother s car got wrecked

-Time: 01:21:10

Along with the alcohol, Animal House has college antics: pranks and other random things that college students supposedly do for fun. From the first midnight run to the dorms to wake the pledges up with fire extinguishers till the grand finally where Delta destroys the town of Cottage Grove, Animal House portrays college guys as crazy, panty raiding, horse stealing misfits. The Delta gang engages in many senseless acts, most of which, according to director John Landis, were based upon true anecdotes from the producers and writers. These acts of mischief have been, and continue to, reenacted by real college students across the country. Most every school has at least one toga party, many have frat houses similar to Delta (run down houses, abused on many occasions by drunk students), and one school has even crowded into an empty parking lot wearing togas to drink and sing Louie, Louie while concocting the world s largest mixed drink (as was the case at the University of Wisconsin).

By using fake alcohol in all (or maybe just some) of the scenes in Animal House the movie can have it s characters drink more then any real person ever could (once again, Bluto and the bottle of Jack). This encourages binge drinking among students, if the college kids in the movie are pounding a case of beer a night, why can t we, the real students? Also, the road trip sense shows four of the main characters hop in a car with a flat of beer (almost 50 beers), the next morning cans are strewn about, presumably consumed in the night while on the road. These negative images of alcohol persuade more and more people, college age and younger, to consume larger amounts of alcohol in more dangerous environments.

The effects on college students is obvious, movies such as Animal House have a large group of followers: people trying to make their own college dwellings animal houses. People who hold at least one toga party every year. People who go out of their way to get belligerently drunk at night and drink all day (much like Bluto). The movie Animal House has definitely changed the way college students live by influencing them to essentially become animals.



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