Stripes (1981)


Bill Murray would be a great war hero.

Bill Murray stars as John Winger, an indolent sad sack who impulsively joins the U.S. Army after losing his job, his car, his girlfriend and his apartment … and, for good measure, he cajoles his best friend (Harold Ramis) into enlisting, too. After making it through boot camp, the duo appropriates a state-of-the-art military vehicle for a weekend furlough, landing behind the Iron Curtain — and in the midst of an international incident.

This is one of those films that could be categorized as an war-comedy film, mostly due to its subject of the war, but doesn’t quite fit it as well.

Stripes has that anarchic taste to it, mostly because its about how these low-life’s actually fight the system and do everything their way. I have to say this film is very very funny. There are many times in this film where the jokes aren’t totally sexed up, but are still very funny. The way the script is written is to create a sense of slacker comedy, where everybody in this film is just different and each have something funny to say.

Still, you can’t shake the feeling that Stripes, while undoubtedly funny in spots, should have been a lot funnier. Yes, it is a comedic classic, but that doesn’t mean its great. I feel like the plot squanders for a bit mostly cause by the end it loses its comedic charm and falls into the action thriller role. yes, this part was entertaining but it just didn’t hold my attention and excitement as much as the first two acts.

Bill Murray gives his best early performance, in doing a great job at playing the rebellious slacker. Ramis is good providing a lot of good dramatic scenes as well, in the middle of the film. Also, there is a nice debut performance from John Candy who is very funny, and shows that he has so much talent at just being a big goofball.

Consensus: Stripes is a comedy classic, despite the squandering plot and weak last act, but has enough comedy, and good performances to make this still a lot of fun.

8/10=Matinee!!!

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