10 Important Life Lessons Animal House Taught Us

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A film doesn’t become one of the most quotable movies of all time without imparting some level of relatable wisdom, and John Landis’ 1978 comedy classic Animal House does so in spades. Not so much a treatise on college life as Life itself, the work provides lessons that are as true today as they were on the Faber College campus circa 1962.

Here are 10 important life lessons we learned from Bluto, Otter, Boon, Pinto, Dean Wormer, and the rest.

10. “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

10. Dean Wormer

As gluttons and drunks continue to smile as empires burn, hedonism will always have its place. However, we mustn’t confuse debauchery with vitality, passivity with nobility, or fatuity with purity. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” And that guy was a drunken slob!

9. “Take it easy, I’m pre-law.”

“I thought you were pre-med.”

“What’s the difference?”

9. Pre-Law

Inside each and every one of us is the ability to rise above our stations and training to tackle whatever obstacle we may come across. And in our most desperate hour, time spent searching for an expert who knows what they’re doing would only exasperate the problem. Better to stand up, accept the leadership role, and ramble on like you know what you’re talking about.

8. “Thank you, sir! May I have another?”

8. Kevin Bacon

The need to belong in a group is a powerful psychological imperative, and we often sacrifice our beliefs, dignity, and comfort to achieve it — hence the popularity of fraternities. But whereas some celebrate the induction of pledges with libations, other more cruel organizations impart pain and humiliation. Now, which group would you rather be a part of?

7. “Will that work?”

“Hey, it’s gotta work better than the truth.”

7. Better Than Truth

Not everything carved on a stone tablet is sacrosanct. While honesty is said to be the best policy, we must look beyond the immediate effects of truth toward the long term and ask ourselves, “What will we gain by being honorable and forthright here?” When deception benefits us all, it is our social and civic duty to lie our asses off.

6. “Grab a brew. Don’t cost nothin’.”

6. Cost Nothin

Our fixation on material goods and financial status has become ingrained into not only our psyches but the very institutions that govern our lives. When global economies hinge upon our wanton need for objects to prove our wealth and happiness, we must step back, reassess, and partake in Life’s simple pleasures that don’t cost nothin’.

5. “He can’t do that to our pledges!”

“Only we can do that to our pledges.”

5. Our Pledges

Deep social bonds provide a direct conduit to our egos, opening ourselves to raillery and indiscretions that we wouldn’t tolerate coming from an impersonal acquaintance. So it is the testament of a loving relationship to be able to abuse, disgrace, and degrade our fellow man once you both belong to the same collegiate organization.

4. “Kroger, your Delta Tau Chi name is Pinto.”

“Why Pinto?”

“Why not?!”

4. State Your Name

It is in our nature to search for meaning in all walks of life, from the self-reflective “Who am I?” to the philosophical “Why am I here?” But obsessing over reason and logic is futile in a world governed by chaos and caprice. When events and concepts with clearly defined catalysts are rare, we must always deal with the here and now and leave the scientific method to the objectivists.

3. “We gotta take these bastards. Now, we could fight ’em with conventional weapons. That could take years and cost millions of lives. Oh no. No, in this case, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”

3. Futile and Stupid Gesture

Grand, noble acts of bravery are the stuff that sell history books, but we should never dismiss the impulsive and erratic deeds of those who’ve got nothing to lose. Because tactical endeavors borne from a bureaucratic braintrust and carried out on an indistinguishable battlefield are lost in the annals of war when matched with ten thousand marbles and a pirate costume.

2. “My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”

2. Drink Heavily

From the cradle to the grave, we’re told to face every one of Life’s challenges head-on without the slightest bit of hesitation or remorse. But we’re human and we need to occasionally self-medicate to feel a semblance of care and appreciation when it’s devoid in the outside world. And come on, who provides better advice than a future senator?

1. “What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

1. Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor

Motivation is an ephemeral beast, impossible to be captured and tapped like a keg of bottom shelf beer. However, when times look their bleakest and the last shred of hope is left drained and bloodied on the floor, there’s always irrational anger to get ourselves off our keesters and blindly forge into battle on false pretenses. Whatever gets the job done.

Want more words of wisdom? Check out all airings of Animal House on IFC. 

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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