With the sad news of the death of Harold Ramis, many of use are reliving our younger years remember all of the great movies he was involved in. You can’t talk about comedies in modern film without discussing many movies that Harold Ramis helped get made, whether as a writer, director actor or mentor.
It pretty much started when he and two friends wrote “Animal House” and then it snowballed from there, with all-time classics like “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters” and “Vacation” following. There were many more.
So enjoy the clip of Ramis acting opposite Bill Murray in “Stripes” and all of the other clips and stories about Ramis being shared this week. He will be missed.
I am always excited to see my favorite filmmakers stretch beyond what they normally produce and explore other genres. For that reason, I applaud Kevin Smith for stepping away from the talky, visually underwhelming comedies for which he is known with his latest film, Red State, a nasty, tense, visceral thriller that, while satirical and occasionally funny, is miles away from a comedy.
Red State is a cinematic middle finger to the vicious, hateful Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, an organization best known for the highly tasteful and respectable practice of protesting funerals in order to garner controversy. Though Phelps is eventually mentioned by name in the film’s narrative, his overt fictional surrogate is one Abin Cooper (Michael Parks), a malevolent, fire-and-brimstone preacher who looks a bit like a more diminutive Kris Kristofferson with eyeglasses. Cooper and his followers regularly hold demonstrations in which they hold up signs offering such charming sentiments as “Anal Penetration = Eternal Damnation.”
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