For those of you have seen it, you know how much this film has to offer in hilarity. Filmed just a year before I was born, this movie was always on the shelf at home, and when the parents were out, my brothers and I would put this on and laugh our butts off! Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy, and plenty of other well known actors started their cinema roots with this off kilter homage to a military that was still pristine in image and was known for making men out of even the most wimpy souls in America.
If you had nowhere else to go, no ambition, or nothing better to do, the army would put you through basic and make a man out of you! It was the perfect stage for a comedy like this one. A bunch of life's miscreants join up for their own individual and mostly stupid reasons, and come together to form one of the worst, miss-guided and downright terrible troops the U.S military ever produced. Not for lack of trying however, it's just... when you get bunch of lemons, it's hard to make champagne.
The jokes are silly of course, some fall flat, and most are out dated by most comedic standards, but that is what makes it so damn good! And for some reason this movie has like... 6 acts (It's a bit like 2 movies in one to be honest, the original in the first half, and a sequel covering the second half of the film). Yet it still holds its edge and lightheartedness against the rude and crude comedies of the 2000 era.
Grab a few beers, sit down, and try to remember that there was life before nightly terrorism updates, mortgage bubbles, and Justin Bieber. Simply Class.
Starts with an army recruitment Commercial that is set in what looks to be in Vietnam.
Billy Murray starts off as a Taxi cub driver. Who is a photographer taking photos of customers in taxi while driving a taxi.
A Rustle teaching basic English in foreign language but has never taught the class before.
Bill Muray stops in the middle of a high traffic bridge in the city.
Next we see him with pizzas and someone takes his car because behind in payments.
Bill Murray as John quit his job and find his girl with pictures he took of her in the apartment.
His girl leaves and John plays baker Ball in his apartment and throws basketball out his apartment window.
They keep braking windows.
Army only way to get out of failure.
Ox Dewey Huxbucky John Candy ask female MP'S "Excuse me stewardess is there a movie on this flight."
Welcome to Fort Arnold
Join army it's free a way to loose weight.
Pacifist never hit anyone in anger.
I will be behind you
Chicks dig don't wear underwear stories you tell. I volunteer leadership to team.
Round of applause to sergeant
Cast is mostly made up off big Saturday Night live actors of late 70's.
Jack and Jerry's CafĂ (C) Bar club Women in mud wrestling in a club. Then Dewey Huxbucky John Candy pays money to mud up bikini women in mud. Before MP's arrive.
Actor who plays Billy from Beverly Hills Cop wears Death before Disco sweater.
General Banekey gone for two weeks.
We are American dogs. all different but loyal. old Yeller. Do what I do. Follow what I do.
Urban assault vehicle with armor and missiles. RV is secret weapon in Italy. All terrain vehicle.
Take RV to Germany
Americans borax in search for RV go into Russian Checslovokia boarder and cross barricades.
Far fetched and not like army. It was a cheesy film that I did not find too funny. Often what I found funny were the far fetched ideas of what the army would do or get away with. Often I got no laugh or a light chuckle. I was disappointed. I was expecting with how many said this was great that it would be a much better film.
Stripes is very much like the Goldie Hawn vehicle Private Benjamin from the year before, only this time it has more of a buddy comedy concept. Both films also featured a performance from P.J. Soles. Heavier and more outrageous in nature, Stripes proves to be less character-oriented and maintaining less subtext in favour of a significantly more ridiculously goofy series of comic archetypes, action scenes and romantic comedy. Admittedly, the romantic comedy seems like an irreverant plot point just thrown in there for the sake of adhering to 80's tropes, but the concept is utterly so ridiculous that it delivers plenty of laughs.
Though Stripes has a military based concept, it always has the right tone. The story never takes itself seriously and instead parodies war movie tropes on a level which is consistently humourous without sinking down to being a spoof. It keeps a balance between serious military plot points and a genuine comedic mood to match it, turning a wacky concept into a Saturda Night Live style buddy comedy sketch. But I will admit that the material has its downfalls. With the extended edition of Stripes running for a total of 118 minutes, there is a feeling that the film stretches on quite a bit. As the idea of popular comedy has changed over time, Stripes reflects a time when popular comedy largely came from goofs contrasting to serious subject matter. Considering the anti-war themes that would overtake much of popular cinema in the 1980's, there is a sense of nostalgic value that comes from seeing a film that contrasts the darker edge of these films by putting the subject matter in a lighter context. But times have changed, so the subject matter of Stripes is no longer relevant to the extent that it remains as funny as it once was, and nearly two hours of it can be a little much. The gimmicks wear off in the modern day, and although there are plenty of creative gimmicks to fill the narrative.
Essentially, Stripes lands more jokes than it misses over the course of its running time, and that proves to be enough. The film gains a lot of momentum from the simple nature of its story context while the scenery and set pieces do a strong job encouraging a sense of believably in the film. And the way that the action is integrated into Stripes works brilliantly. Staying true to the unserious comedic roots of the genre, Stripes plays out like an episode of The A-Team. With all the explosions and gunfire that goes on, people are seldom hurt or killed but rather subject to the humourous results of the misadventures of Pvt. John Winger's platoon. All things considered, Stripes is actually edgy in parts while playing it safe in others by going back on the traditional roots of the film as a Bill Murray comedy.
As is the case with essentially any Bill Murray movie, Stripes gains the best of its momentum through its success as a vehicle for the comedic legend. Seeing him firing guns and leading soldiers to war is such an unexpected plot point, and he absolutely nails it without even having to try too hard. The man's instinct overtakes Stripes. Since the film is so embroiled in being a distinctively 1980's comedy, putting Bill Murray in an action-comedy themed role from pre-Ghostbusters is just brilliant. The story is loosely serious and less wacky than Ghostbusters, but Bill Murray matches the pitch of the atmosphere by approaching the material with his natural persona. Stripes presents one of the most definitive examples of him at work because as he remains distant from conveying much emotion in the role and so predicated on driving the material into comedic territory that he brings everyone along with him in the process. The man has some innovative moments where he shifts his comic spirit into dialogue which would traditionally be dramatic, finding a strong way to embody a military stereotype with plenty of light humour being brought out of the situations. Bill Murray is the entire reason that Stripes works, and it is a perfectly wacky star vehicle for the comedy legend.
Harold Ramis also delivers justice. Working from the days when he was still friends with Bill Murray, Harold Ramis captures a much less determined character than Bill Murray since his natural persona has a sense of neuroticism to it, yet it works to the benefit of the fish-out-of-water comedy. He shares a great chemistry with Bill Murray which gives the film an effective leading comedy duo, but as well as that he genuinely manages to make Pvt. Russell Ziskey seem like an intelligent character. He has to confront the burden of being thrown into an unwanted situation and approaches it with a realistic balance of reluctance and professionalism, putting a sense of reality into the story. Harold Ramis works excellently alongside Bill Murray in Stripes.
John Candy is a very welcome presence in Stripes. A popular comedic actor in the 1980's, John Candy stands out as one of the most notable supporting characters. Any fan of his will appreciate seeing him team up with Bill Murray and Harold Ramis because they really encourage the distinctive comedic style of the era. Like the lead actors, John Candy brings his stereotypical persona to the film and works to make himself a notable figure in the story. His screen time is brief, but he brings a likable character and effective sense of physical comedy to the film.
P.J. Soles has a very friendly demeanour to her, though what she really brings to the film is sex appeal and that ability to create a good chemistry with Bill Murray, and Sean Young shares a passionate interaction with Harold Ramis.
Lastly, Warren Oates is a brilliant touch since the man has a legacy. And so putting him back into a war uniform and having him challenge Bill Murray achieves humourous results.
So Stripes may not be as funny now as it once did and it has a tendency to stretch on for a while, but with ridiculous plot serves as a perfect front for Bill Murray's hilarious antics.