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Meatballs (1979).

January 5, 2010

The Scoop:
Maybe it’s because I was raised on them, but the juvenile comedies of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s are a lot more entertaining than those that came before or after. The masters of the genre were Ivan Reitman, John Landis, Harold Ramis and the alums of the original “Saturday Night Live” cast. You can see their best work in “Animal House,” “Caddyshack” or “The Jerk” but, sadly, not in “Meatballs.”

Directed by Reitman (and written by Ramis, Len Blum, Dan Goldberg and Janis Allen), “Meatballs” is the episodic, disjointed story of a summer among the misfits at Camp North Star. Bill Murray stars as activities director Tripper alongside a bunch of folks you’ve probably never heard of. Murray sleepwalks through this, his first film role, but as he’s proved repeatedly in his 30+ year career, he can still do that and be entertaining. The rest of the film is fun too, although pretty insubstantial; there’s no plot to speak of and many of the jokes fall flat. Despite some nice moments between Tripper and Rudy (Chris Makepeace), “Meatballs” really isn’t essential viewing.

Best Bit:
Tripper explains the perks of rival Camp Mohawk.

Side Note:
This was filmed at Camp White Pine in Haliburton, Ontario, during summer camp season. The real life campers were used as extras in several scenes.

Companion Viewing:
“Stripes” (1979) and “Caddyshack” (1980).


Take a Look:
The trailer:

It just doesn’t matter!

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