Unseen films – Brian 1981

The first film I chose mainly because it was released the day before I was born. So my opening weekend was the same as this films!

It was the #1 film at the box office that weekend pulling in just under $4 million. That thought alone speaks to the difference in the times. Gone are the days where $4 million would win the weekend.

Rick Baker won the first ever Academy Award for Best Makeup with this film and the most famous scene may have been the reason. An iconic moment, that the film is probably most known for, is when the main character David first fully transforms into a werewolf. The graphic detail in which it shows his body turning from human to wolf form was groundbreaking at the time. The agony and pain that David has to go through is only softened by the slow ballad of Sam Cooke’s “Blue Moon” playing in the background. The slow ballad in your ears while your eyes witness horror actually epitomizes the theme of this films horror-comedy genre perfectly.

John Landis wrote and directed this now cult classic. His subtle merging of horror and gore with comedy is what drives this film. I only wish I was there when he pitched the idea of “Hey let’s have this heart to heart conversation between David and all the people he has killed so far. Their bodies will all be mauled and decaying, but none of them will seem to mind. Also, let’s have it take place in a porn theater with a raunchy romp happening innocently on the background”.  This conversation could have happened on a park bench, but Landis chose a porn house to keep the film light.

I feel this movie was perfect for its time. Had it been made today I can see most people being bored with it. Luckily for this film it started a genre instead of just another piece in it.

I enjoyed this movie. It’s plot and script are pretty basic. The cheesy dialogue in the beginning could almost turn you away and the ending just kind of stops. It certainly leaves more to be desired.

But sit back, grab some popcorn and just enjoy this 1981 classic film.

7 outta 10


An absolute comedy classic. This film was one that I heard my uncles and my father quoting all the time as a kid. Of course I never knew where it all came from, but now sense has been made. I’d like to go back to age six and be able to actually laugh when I hear my uncle quote John Candy’s “So, you might have noticed but I’ve got a slight weight problem”.
Directed by Ivan Reitman; starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis & John Candy. Several actors including John Larroquette and Judge Reinhold were featured in their first significant film roles and what was really crazy was seeing Timothy Busfield and Bill Paxton in featured background credits!
Bill Murray and his style of comedy are something of legend to movie goers today. Coupled with the success of 1980’s Caddyshack, this film was when he was first established as a star. It almost felt written for him. It’s quirky unrealistic scenarios merged with not so subtle one-liners from the deadpanned Murray create quite the chaotic adventure. The characters played by Murray and Ramis have decided to join the army. Of course they are sent to a unit filled with misfits, which is right where they fit in. An over-the-top hard nosed drill instructor, played by Warren Oates, attempts to whip them into shape and it appears all is lost on this group until the day before their basic training exam. An impassioned speech by Murray rallies the troupes -literally- to get their act together and pass the exam. A General just happens to be so moved by their final exam efforts that he not only passes the unit but rewards them with the most sought after assignment in the entire Army! 
I’ve always heard “What?!? YOU haven’t seen Stripes?”. I never quite knew why folks were always so blown away by that fun fact and now that I’ve seen it I worry what people think about me. Maybe if it was 1981 and I hadn’t had a lifetime of Bill Murray already this film would have played so much better. I laughed, mostly at John Candy and the supporting cast though. The plot line of the movie was so over the top and all over the place I had trouble getting invested into the film. 
I know, its a slapstick style comedy. However, by the end I felt like while writing it they just kept laughing at themselves while throwing in impossible scenario after impossible scenario. None of which held true to any of the characters or previous storylines. 
I know I am being too hard on it and it’s partially from my ‘never been a huge Bill Murray fan in the first place’ bias. The movie is funny. Ramis and Reinhold are perfect supporting cast mates while Candy never disappoints. Had the movie ended after that men complete the basic training I think I would have enjoyed it overall. Sadly though it goes on for another 45 minutes introducing brand new plot lines that probably would have been better served in the sequel. 
If you haven’t seen this film then I do recommend it. It truly is a comedy classic that was smack in the middle of a late 70’s/early 80’s comedy style genre. While watching you may pick up on so many things that all military comedies since have stolen and put in their films.
Turn off your brain, grab some popcorn and have a laugh at this classic film.
6.5 out of 10

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