Yeah, But Where's Pinto?

Of late the cast of Animal House has been making the film-fest and talk-show rounds promoting a movie celebrating its 25th birthday; what else does poor John Landis have to do save celebrate a career highlight that fades a little bit more each time one of his movies gets released straight to video or not at all? Certainly the film deserves its rep as a modern classic, as they call it on TNT; for better or worse its influence survives in every cell of an American Pie or Van Wilder or Old School. And though you may know its every joke by now, it loses little of its anarchic punch; it may not make you laugh, but will never fail to elicit the random giggle.

The selling point of the 25th-anniversary Animal House DVD--subtitled the "Double Secret Probation Edition"--is a where-are-they-now? mockumentary directed by Landis and starring most of the original cast members in character. It's hardly cause for purchase, especially for those already in possession of the 20th-anniversary special-edition DVD, itself replete with bonus features (most of which are duplicated here, including the making-of Yearbook). It's notable for those curious to see how well, or otherwise, the cast has held up; only Kevin Bacon's voice-over as the Reverend Chip Diller, presented as an audio letter to Landis, is as funny on screen as it must have read on paper. Most of the major and a few minor characters appear, among them thrice-marrieds Boon (Peter Riegert) and Katy (Karen Allen) and Tim Matheson's gyno Otter and even DeWayne Jessie's Otis Day, but curiously absent is Tom Hulce, as Pinto, who knew when to leave swell enough alone. Really, you have to ask yourself if you're truly comfortable paying for a short film by the man who made Oscar, The Stupids, Blues Brother 2000 and other films so bad that showing them on airplanes violates several FAA regulations.


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