Great Character: John Blutarsky (“Animal House”)
Is there a better comedy than Animal House? I don’t think so. Make your arguments, I’m happy to hear them, but I am willing to make my stand on this big, dumb movie from 1978 (written by Harold Ramis & Douglas Kenney & Chris Miller). We may argue point by point, your comedy versus mine, but at the end of the day, I hold the trump card because of this great character: John Blutarsky.
First we have to acknowledge this fact: John Belushi, the actor who played Blutarsky, was one of the best physical comic actors of all time. Here he is impersonating Joe Cocker:
And here he is in Samurai Delicatessen:
But it’s more than just Belushi’s brilliance as a comic actor. Blutarsky’s character absolutely shines in every scene in which he appears in Animal House. For example, here is a scene in which the main points are (A) Bluto (his nickname) is to get food from the cafeteria and (B) imitate a zit:
Here’s a scene where the point is to bust into the Dean’s office with a horse:
Here’s a scene where the boys of Delta Tau Chi fraternity are expelled by Dean Wormer:
Blutarsky grabs each scene and takes the comedy to a whole other level. But the character’s fate is sealed in the Great Character Hall of Fame with this one scene:
And here’s the kicker: For all of his comedic brilliance in this movie, John Belushi got paid a mere $40K. Talk about a return on investment! The movie grossed $141M at the box office.
What character type does Blutarsky play in Animal House? Seems like a Trickster to me.
Capped off by the revelation that later in life, he becomes Senator John Blutarsky.
Any Animal House fans out there? What’s your favorite Bluto scene?
[Originally posted May 20, 2011]