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A Movie A Day: Quint on MEATBALLS (1979)
Is that a bra you're wearing or are you expecting an assassination attempt?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Today we follow the Murray blood line from yesterday’s MOVING VIOLATIONS to today’s MEATBALLS. Ever since I was a kid I knew I should be watching this one. It’s always been in the background… Hell, I’ve seen the second one, thanks to HBO… I think because Pee-Wee Herman was in it. Anyway, it was a long time coming, especially considering how much of a whore I am for Bill Murray, and now the time has come. And I was underwhelmed. The flick doesn’t really stand up to any of the classics of the era. The PORKYs, the STRIPESes or ANIMAL HOUSEs or the CADDYSHACKs. Know what this film reminded me of the most? You’ll think I’m crazy for a second, but bear with me. This film reminded me most of BACHELOR PARTY. It’s slightly awkward, a lot clunky, but in both cases the filmmakers took an exploding comic star and just let them run. In the case of Bachelor Party, it was Tom Hanks. Shots hold too long, but you don’t mind because it’s fascinating trying to watch Hanks wing it or do something bugnuts insane to fill the time. I got the exact same feeling about MEATBALLS. Bill Murray isn’t constrained. He’s like Animal from the Muppet Show. His chains are removed and he’s out of the gate, going a million miles a second, sometimes knocking shit over, but just completely unrestrained. The comedy is all character-driven, not story driven. There’s a crazy summer camp, the craziest of the counselors pushes the kids to kick another summer camp’s ass at their annual games.

However there is a lot of hear to the movie and I found that’s what I was most drawn to. Bill Murray’s character, Trip, takes an awkward young kid, Rudy (played by Chris Makepeace), under his wing and fills in as goofy big brother, helping him talk to girls and survive puberty. There’s a natural feeling to this film that I also appreciated. Everybody feels like they’re having a good time and it doesn’t feel overly cast. Even Murray looks like he comes from the real world, and wasn’t cast out of some magazine. Maybe there’s a disconnect for me due to expectation of a great missed comedy. Maybe I never really had the summer camp experience as a kid… Whatever the reason, I didn’t love the flick, but I can say I do love moments of this movie and I love what they were going for. Final Thoughts: Murray is a ball of comic energy in this thing and the real heart in how he deals with the kids makes it a worthy flick, but I was expecting another Stripes from the team of Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray and I didn’t quite get it. Looking at it in Bill Murray’s career timeline, it’s fascinating watching him tackle his first starring role. It’s not a bad movie at all and one I expect to grow on me each time I see it.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Tuesday, July 22nd: CAST A GIANT SHADOW (1966) Wednesday, July 23rd: OUT OF THE PAST (1947) Thursday, July 24th: THE BIG STEAL (1949) Friday, July 25th: WHERE DANGER LIVES (1950) Saturday, July 26th: CROSSFIRE (1947) Sunday, July 27th: RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE (1973) Monday, July 28th: IN HARM’S WAY (1965) -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing

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