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Review of Stripes

    The military, a nation's metaphorical sword and shield. No matter what you say about the people in charge, you have to respect the courage that brave men and women have shown around the world. These people are constantly doing their best to defend the country, family, and friends. As such, it is only natural that we salute their heroism in service to our country… Or, we could just make a comedy movie about how much basic training sucks. That’s exactly what happened when Ivan Reitman came up with the idea of Stripes.

    Originally written by Len Blum and Daniel Goldberg, Stripes, was supposed to be, “If Cheech and Chong joined the army.” However, when the comedy duo’s manager told Paramount that they wanted full creative control, Ivan Reitman suggested they ask Harold Ramis to tailor the script for himself and Bill Murray to play the two main characters.

    Murray plays John Ringer, a cab driver who loses everything he has in just a few hours. Because he no longer has a job or place to stay, he decides to join the army, talking Ramis’ character, Russell Ziskey, into joining him. Over the next hour of the film, the duo go through basic, before leading a rescue mission with their girlfriends (played by P.J Soles and Sean Young) to save their platoon from Soviet hands.

    So, how good is the movie, you ask? Well, that depends entirely on what you’re looking for, and what you qualify as a “good” movie. The ending is incredibly rushed, the romance between our two main characters and their girlfriends is forced at best, and there's practically zero diversity among the main characters of the film. But if you can overlook these glaring details, you’ll find that the film is very enjoyable.

    Some of the actors do extraordinarily well in their roles. Most notably, Bill Murray as John, Harold Ramis as Russell, John Candy as “The Ox” and Warren Oates as Sergeant Hulka. The jokes are mostly funny, and there are some lines in there that I quote on a weekly basis. Two of my favorites are, “We’re so lost, where the hell is Innsbruck Austria?” and, “I've always thought of myself as a pacifist. As a boy, my father always told me, ‘Never hit anyone in anger unless you're absolutely certain you can get away with it.’” Most of the other actors perform rather well, and no matter how rushed it is, watching the EM-50 assault vehicle mow down a Soviet military base is always enjoyable.

    In the end, I’d recommend this movie to any lighthearted viewer who wants a simple, silly comedy that you don’t have to think too hard about. Stripes is funny, and it has funny people in it. But in the end, if you’re looking for a in-depth military flick, this won’t be the film for you. So my final rating is a seven out of ten. If you’re looking for the best of Harold Ramis’ writing though, I would like to take this moment to suggest to you the best comedy I’ve ever seen: “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” There is no way I can do the film justice by describing it, so I’ll just say that it is easily John Belushi’s best performance. Especially because they let him improvise whatever he wanted… Still, when it comes to Military comedy's, No movie has a higher rank than Stripes.
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