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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Animal House was the ambitious foray of the National Lampoon magazine into silver-screen entertainment. Universal execs politely allowed the filmmakers to go wild in their own special way, quietly hoping Animal House wouldn't damage the company's checkbooks. Donald Sutherland famously chose several thousand dollars in payment over a percentage of the box-office gross, expecting the film to be a bomb and be quickly forgotten. However, Animal House 's charmingly dark and hard-hitting observations on college life, as well as its undeniably quirky brand of vulgar humor, was so refreshing to moviegoers in the late 70s that the film recouped its $2 million budget 50 times over. Donald Sutherland, as you might imagine, was not pleased, and it probably explains why he never appeared in any interviews or in Where Are They Now?: A Delta Alumni Update, a direct-to-DVD short which suggested the film had been a documentary and Landis was catching up with some of the cast (played by their original actors).
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Subverted. Otter's argument in Delta's defense before the tribunal, as he points out that one might as well logically blame the general breakdown of society for the disastrous toga party. But his insistence that Delta consists of a just a few "sick, perverted individuals" is disingenuous: the entire fraternity is like that, except for the relatively straightlaced Robert Hoover (and anyway, Hoover, while the Deltas' nominal leader and ostensibly opposed to every bad thing they do, still goes along with their antics). The boys gladly indulge in all sorts of depravity and then have the nerve to insist "Don't stereotype us like that."
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: John Belushi partied as hard in real life as Bluto did here. It killed him.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Assume the position!" "Thank you sir, may I have another!"
    • Also, the iconic image of John Belushi in the "COLLEGE" sweatshirt. If you went to college, you saw the poster on someone's wall. Guaranteed.
      • If you go to THE Ohio State University, it's on the wall of the President's office. Sending what message, I don't exactly know.
    • Don't forget those toga parties.
    • Nor should we forget "You're all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me twenty!"
      • Heck, you could say that about the entire Neidermeyer character. He's appeared in two Twisted Sister videos, was mentioned in the Twilight Zone movie, and has a trope named after him. Specifically...
    • "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
  • Moral Event Horizon: For Niedermeyer, it's when he tries to shoot Flounder with a high-powered rifle.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Kevin Bacon in his film debut as one of the snotty frat dudes. "All is well!"
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: This film was to Comedy what Jaws and Star Wars were to Blockbusters. So many of its tropes (The idiotic but loveable protagonists, the strict authoritarian villains, the final scene where the slobs beat the snobs) have been used so many times its impossible to see it the way audiences in 1978 saw it. Even worse is that its copiers haven't managed to be anywhere near as witty or talented, leading Animal House to be unfairly lumped in with its unorifinal, unfunny counterparts.
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