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Fat, Drunk, & Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House Hardcover – April 10, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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In the mid-1970s, Simmons was riding high as publisher of the wildly popular humor magazine National Lampoon. The publication’s success spawned an entire industry, including live theatrical shows, radio programs, books, and comedy albums. But its most successful spin-off was just on the horizon, the classic 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House. Simmons and most of the movie’s top-shelf talent, including fellow producer Ivan Reitman, director John Landis, and a then-unknown Kevin Bacon, take a fond look back at the raucous making of their underdog production, which became an unexpected blockbuster, turned the late John Belushi into a superstar, and, according to the book, changed the course of mainstream American comedy forever. Animal House is the granddaddy of the gross-out genre that includes American Pie, but Simmons argues it was the daringly subversive political commentary and gut-busting jokes that set it far above all followers. Previous books have covered similar ground, and Simmons’ writing style is more fizz than pop, but loyal fans of Animal House will find much to like in this engaging read. --Chris Keech
“[A] one-of-a-kind book… A unique look at the one movie that, more than any other, told Americans it's okay to access your inner frat boy. In fact, it's recommended.” ―Washington Post
“Loyal fans of ‘Animal House' will find much to like in this engaging read.” ―Booklist
“A fond look back on the ‘little movie' that turned into a blockbuster, made John Belushi a star, and spawned dozens of badly made imitations… Simmons had a front-row seat at the film's creation, and he provides a detailed look at how the movie was made, as well as its unanticipated success.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Simmons brings a singular perspective to this behind-the-scenes look… Simmons's tone is breezy, and he offers amusing anecdotes about cast members.” ―Library Journal
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Like Ned Tanen, the head of Universal and the one who greenlit the film, kept giving the filmmakers awful suggestions. But, in the end, he always acquiesced and said "Make the film you want." He has to be given credit for trusting the people he hired.
But I do have a few qualms.
One is that Martha Smith, who played Babs in the film, was "apprehensive" about auditioning for the Mandy role because of the long nude scene where Bluto is spying on her. I find this hard to believe from someone who was Playboy's Playmate of the Month in July 1973.
Also, I couldn't believe that Matty doesn't know that the famous Bluto "COLLEGE" sweatshirt is, in fact, a very dark green and not navy blue. If they're still selling them and they're navy blue, that would be.....incorrect.
There is a quote from Peter Reigert where they have spelled the name of his character "Boone" instead of "Boon" as it is in the rest of the book. An editor should have caught that one.
But these are minor quibbles. The book is easy to read, not very long, and perfect light summer reading.
I just wish he would have addressed one thing: it is known to anyone who knows anything about "Animal House" that Ramis, Miller, and Kenney each wrote a third of the movie. But, to this day, I have never been able to find out who wrote which third. That would have been nice to find out, once and for all.
Reading this book revealed so much more for me than what had already been said in the featurette documentaries featured on the Universal DVD releases of Animal House. In this book, we learn about reactions to the film upon its release in Summer, 1978. We get to learn about the casting process and the experiences the actors and actresses had upon reading for their respective roles. Plus we learn about how long it took to whittle down the original screenplay to create the definitive work of comedy we've come to love for almost 35 years.
This book touches upon many aspects of the film from inception to legacy as well as help readers learn about the beginnings of National Lampoon Magazine, the production of National Lampoon's Lemmings, and a real treat for fans, some stories about an unproduced sequel to Animal House that never made it further than the story idea stage!
There are some things that true die hard fans like myself do unfortunately have to miss such as deleted scene explanations. Many of the scenes that I would have liked to read more about were scenes that involved director John Landis making a cameo as a student dishwasher and having a tug of war over a leftover cheeseburger during the 'What A Wonderful World' sequence in the cafeteria. Another scene many have pondered over the years was the deletion of one of Otter's (Tim Matheson) excursions to the Rainbow Motel with a coed played by the late Sunny Johnston.
However, these little forgotten gems aside, the book is an amazing read for anyone who has loved National Lampoon's Animal House and is a great companion to Animal House writer Chris Miller's 'The Real Animal House' and also Josh Karp's 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture' bio on Animal House writer and Lampoon wunderkind the late Doug Kenney.
Whether you've seen National Lampoon's Animal House for the first time or the hundredth time, if you're interested in learning just a little more of what happened to those crazy Deltas and how they came together under one outrageous frat house, be sure to check out Matty Simmons 'Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House.'
"Knowledge is good"-Emil Faber.
I was hoping to read a book focused on the filming of the movie. This is not that book.
a good job of recent interviews looking back.
It was time well spent with this book.