Movie of the Day – Stripes
May 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Now this might seem crass or tasteless to post a comedy about military service on Memorial Day. Personally, while other hoorah military movies might serve to sate those who want action oriented war movies, I am not necessarily looking to be reminded about a ragtag group of soldiers that singly handily win a war. I am not being insensitive about the actualities of war and the toll that it takes on society, but some days we need a little something different instead of being bombarded with symbolism and explosions. I get enough of those things when watching CNN or Fox.
So with my explanation on the Memorial day choice of Movie of the Day out of the way, now I can start enjoying the remainder of the weekend. What better way to spend a Monday than watching Bill Murray movies, Stripes being one of my favorite comedies. You got Ivan Reitman directing, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis acting side by side in movie reminiscent of old Sgt. Bilko shows, and multitude of side characters all versed in comedy. Let me say though, the last third of the movie is where the movie kind of falls off track, but still an enjoyable movie.
The plot is very straightforward, Bill Murray plays John Winger, a slacker almost all his life who in the span of a day has quit his job, lost his girlfriend and dropped his pizza (probably the worst thing to happen honestly). So heading back to his apartment to sulk and talk to his Russell Ziskey, played by Harold Ramis, an ad for army recruiting plays on the television. Deciding that is what Winger needs to get in shape and get his life together, there is the added benefit of getting women as well (the uniform man, the uniform). They both head to the nearest recruiting office and sign up for basic training.
In traditional comedy fashion, the Drill Sergeant doesn’t like Winger, they are placed in a group of general clowns and fuck ups and they generally don’t have much regard for discipline and rules. So many antics are bound to ensue.
That is where I will stop with the plot because the meat of the action happens to during their time at basic training. The latter third of the movie is geared toward their time graduating from basic training and heading up a special mission in Germany. This is kind of where the movie drags as comedy kind of takes a back seat and they shoehorn in an action set piece. Not the strongest point of the movie, so there is good and bad to the movie as a whole.
If anything, this is a movie for slackers. Winger is the epitome of the slacker mentality where his character just swaggers through life and damns the establishment, although ironically being a part of the establishment. The confrontations that take place between Winger and the drill Sergeant are gold. Lots of funny back and forth banter and snide remarks just roll right off the tongue of Murray, making for a natural feeling of dialogue. The movie, like many of his other movies, are highly quotable. Something about 80′s movies that just has these one line bits of dialogue that stays with you decades on.
You can enjoy this piece of comedy gold on Netflix Instant Streaming today. Have a good remaining Memorial Day.