Written by / 2/24/2014 / 1 Comment / , , , , , , , , ,

BILL MURRAY & HAROLD RAMIS WITH PJ SOLES IN STRIPES

Harold Ramis as Zitsky
"That’s my favorite kind of acting," PJ Soles said in a Cult Film Freak interview, "when something’s real and the responses are real and, you know, Bill led the way and I followed."

Bill Murray as Winger
After MEATBALLS, director Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray filmed STRIPES, starring Murray and Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the summer camp comedy and between both films directed Bill in the now legendary golfing venture CADDYSHACK…

In STRIPES, when Bill Murray’s John Winger, attempting to prove to his best friend Russell Ziskey, played by Harold Ramis, that he isn’t too old and/or out of shape to join the military, after completing only several trudging sit-ups, Ramis quips: "I think you're ready for the Special Olympics!” Well if not that, the Army, where Winger decides to go after having enough of a nowhere existence, and being dumped by his hot blonde girlfriend, who feels John’s antics just aren’t “cute anymore.” One of the funniest scenes (embedded below) involves the two friends in the recruitment office, awkwardly answering a particular question long before the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era… "We're not homosexual... But we are willing to learn."

Damn we love PJ
Since Bill Murray is usually the endearing, independent rogue, it’s often missed that STRIPES really is a bonafide buddy comedy. Throughout the boot camp classic, Ramis is right by Murray’s side – they even hook up with two lady MPs together.

PJ Soles recalls STRIPES with Bill Murray
Winger’s girl, Stella, is played by ROCK N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and HALLOWEEN starlet PJ SOLES, who recalls a sequence with Murray, along with Sean Young and Harold Ramis, when they use the general’s house for their own personal enjoyment…

Our scene that ended up being in the kitchen was outside, on a hill, looking at fireworks, and we were supposed to be going into the big kiss but instead, it was three o’ clock in the morning… 

We were in Westwood. It was getting late. They shot Harold and Sean’s scene… their little love scene. And Ivan was, “Uh, I don’t know, we have to show somehow that you guys like each other. We’re gonna have to do something inside because we can’t go outside now, it’s too late. We can’t have lights outside. It’s a neighborhood.” 

We were talking in the kitchen… And Bill opens the refrigerator and takes out a carrot. And I just looked at him and said, “What are you gonna do with that?” And Ivan just said, “Bring the camera in here. Let’s roll it.” And we shot that in literally twenty minutes. With coverage and everything. And I love that. It’s one of my favorite all-time scenes and because of the fact it just happened so automatically.

Conrad Dunn at Psycho
And yet, STRIPES is not all fun and games. The opening twenty minutes, showing Murray’s downfall as a taxi driver, his breakup and the enevitable game-changing decision, has the somber cadence of a movie that’s not relying on joke-a-minute laughs. Winger is a real guy with real troubles, and has no idea what he’s getting into…

HulkaMania!
Some great performances came out of the dire situation of two completely inept friends stuck in the hellish Boot Camp, including one scene leading up to the romantic tryst PJ Soles recollected...

When Winger attempts to go AWOL and Ramis’s Russell chases him outside the barracks, the two have it out, arguing intensely surrounded by ominous tanks...

Murray and Ramis are quite funny together, but they can get down and dirty too. There’s a real edge to their chemistry here... And in films before and after, Ramis wrote many of the characters that made Bill Murray an icon.

This should be real!
One of the great character-actors from the 1970’s, Warren Oates, playing the gruff Sgt. Hulka, inserts an edgy brand of realism throughout the comedic proceedings. One scene that brings out intense acting on Murray's part has Hulka and Winger meeting alone in the barracks bathroom... Hulka takes off his helmet and challenges Winger to punch him in the gut, off the record. In this scene a subliminal connection occurs between the two loggerheads. Meanwhile, Oates' edgy dynamic is countered by John Larroquette who, playing the doofus Captain Stillman, is truly the unlikable antagonist and plays more for the zaniness of the picture.

RIP for Harold Ramis on 2/24/2014
John Candy’s Ox is the endearing scene-stealer, and winds up, during the troop's night out, mud wrestling a bevy of babes... But let’s shed some light on a few wonderful character actors, including John Diehl as the dimwitted Cruiser, who has played everything from a vice cop to a psychotic… Speaking of which, one of the most memorable rants comes from Conrad Dunn's Francis Psycho Sawyer: “Now, any of you homos touch me, and I’ll kill ya,” he growls during the troop's initial introduction. Leading to Hulka’s now iconic reply, “Lighten up, Francis.”

StripesScore: ****
While a majority of the film occurs at Boot Camp, the film suffers after the troop passes a last-minute drill test, and, being sent overseas, Winger and Ziskey, along with Stella and Sean Young's Louise, steal an all-terrain recreational vehicle and wind up having to rescue their fellow soldiers, who had gone after them (mind you, Hulka never gets captured). This segment is awkward, way too long and not very funny, but STRIPES is the quintessential military comedy no matter… Even the flaws pass muster… And “That’s the fact, Jack!”

Like ANIMAL HOUSE, Elmer Bernstein's music plays for theme more than laughs. The piano bar riff embodying Winger's lazy countenance aside, a triumphant score blares throughout, as if part of a genuine gung ho war feature (yet also reminiscent of Berstein's patriotic marching romp from Steven Spielberg's zany 1941)...

This allows the humor to subtly intrude upon the gritty location, which is a character in itself: Harboring two buddies (and real life creative partners continuing in GHOSTBUSTERS and GROUNDHOG DAY) who will always be remembered within the high ranks of cinematic glory.
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

1 comment:

  1. What the??????? Ramis is dead? I didn't hear or know about it until I saw the obligatory year born/death under his picture in this post. All those early movies ARE HUGE big glowing EDIFICES of my youth. Damn.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

All Time Popular

Featured Post

MARLON BRANDO AND GEORGE C. SCOTT IN 'THE FORMULA'

Title: THE FORMULA Year: 1980 Rating: ** Most cult films start out generally unknown and unsuccessful till gaining a dedicated following but...

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

RIP ACTOR KEN HUTCHISON

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "A monkey in silk is still a monkey." Marlon Brando, Zapata

NEO NOIR & FILM NOIR CINEMA

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)OTLEY 2)HELL IS A CITY 3)ROBBERY 4)CANYON PASSAGE 5)THE FEARMAKERS 6)VIOLENT SATURDAY 7)HOT CARS 8)JUNGLE STREET 9)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 10)THE CROWDED SKY 11))THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 12)SHARKS' TREASURE 13)SWEENEY TWO 14)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 15)HARDCORE 16)THE SYSTEM 17)WHITE HEAT 18)AL CAPONE 19)TENTACLES 20)FALLEN ANGEL 21)NIGHT CREATURES 22)CURSE OF THE DEMON 23)ASH WEDNESDAY 24)KILLER FISH 25)AIR PATROL 26)DUEL IN THE JUNGLE 27)EASY LIVING 28)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 29)FRENZY 30)THE ROARING TWENTIES 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)JACK NICHOLSON 4)MARLON BRANDO 5)STANLEY BAKER 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN LANDIS 7)JOHN GUILLERMAN 8)VAL GUEST 9)JOHN CARPENTER 10)MICHAEL WINNER

BRITISH NEW WAVE CINEMA

RARITIES AND EXPLOITATION

HAMMER HORROR & THRILLER

Popular This Month

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

PEAKING INTO THE SIXTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

REVVING THE SEVENTIES

FOR HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS


Reviews for the British series The Sweeney

Most Popular Last Year

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE