Check Out a Classic Bill Murray Comedy - Stripes
Jun 17, 2008 (Updated Oct 8, 2008)
Review by Marie Dragonfire
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Funny, entertaining movie. Murray.
Cons:Crude humor will offend some viewers. Might be too silly for some.
The Bottom Line: Stripes is a fun, entertaining comedy that is worth watching, especially for fans of Bill Murray.
After being on Saturday Night Live, Bill Murray went on to have a successful movie career. I have seen and enjoyed many of his movies. I recently watched Stripes, one of his classic comedies, again.
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After having a really bad day, John Winger decided it would be a good idea to join the Army. He managed to convince his best friend Russell Ziskey to join as well. They made some new friends during basic training while dealing with Sergeant Hulka, their drill sergeant, and Captain Stillman, the man in charge of the base. John and Russell managed to start relationships with Stella and Louise, two members of the military police before being stationed in Europe where they almost started a war.
Stripes was poking a lot of fun at war movies and the Army in general. Much of the humor came from things that happened once John and Russell were in basic training. Some of those things were somewhat silly, but they did work for the movie. There were crude jokes used throughout the movie as well. Those jokes were funny, but they might offend some viewers. John was at least somewhat involved in the things that made me laugh. I do think the humor worked well for the movie, though some other viewers may think the humor is too silly.
The plot for Stripes was simple and straight forward even though there were a few different things going on. A little bit of time was taken to show John’s horrible day, which was what motivated him to join the Army. Barely anything about Russell was shared before they enlisted except that he was teaching English to people from other countries. Most of the movie was focused on what happened after they joined the Army. There were a few developments later in the movie that were interesting without being complicated. I didn’t expect a few things that happened, but I wouldn’t say that the movie was suspenseful or had any mystery.
John had a girlfriend when Stripes began. She quickly left him because she was fed up with him and his lack of ambition. That did add to John’s horrible day and his reasons for joining the Army. It didn’t seem to take him long to get over the breakup since he was hitting on Stella when he was leaving for basic training. It didn’t take much time for them to meet up again and start a sexual relationship. Russell also met Louise at the same time and started a sexual relationship with her as well. There weren’t any actual sex scenes, but it was made very clear that they were having sex. There was a small amount of female nudity in a few scenes, including one scene that involved mud wrestling. There was some silliness to that scene as well. The women were mostly just shown topless though a bit more was shown at one point when Captain Stillman was spying on the women’s shower room. The nudity, along with the crude humor and some swearing, got the movie rated R. It isn’t a movie for children to see, though the edited version that turns up on television isn’t as bad.
John and Russell were the main characters in Stripes. They had been friends for a while, which was why John was able to talk Russell into joining the Army as well. John was more of the ring leader of the two, with Russell always being convinced to go along with whatever John thought up. Russell tended to take things slightly more serious than John did. I thought that Bill Murray and Harold Ramis handled their parts very well. Stella and Louise turned up in several scenes without being very developed. They were just sort of there as love interests for John and Russell, so P.J. Soles and Sean Young didn’t have much to do.
Sergeant Hulka, Captain Stillman, and the other men in the unit were around for much of the movie, though none of them were that developed. Captain Stillman was a bit of an idiot. John Larroquette was really good in the part. Sergeant Hulka was very strict and tough. Warren Oates was very good in the part. Dewey, or Ox, was the overweight guy who joined to lose weight. John Candy was good in the part. He was involved in some of the funnier scenes. Francis, or Psycho, had some anger issues and kept threatening everyone. Elmo still managed to have all sorts of drugs even once he was in the Army. The other guys in the unit really didn’t stand out.
John Candy - Dewey/Ox
Conrad Dunn - Francis/Psycho
John Larroquette - Captain Stillman
Bill Murray - John Winger
Warren Oates - Sergeant Hulka
Harold Ramis - Russell Ziskey
Judge Reinhold - Elmo
P.J. Soles - Stella
Sean Young - Louise
Ivan Reitman - Director
I received the extended cut DVD of Stripes for Christmas last year. The DVD contains both the original theatrical version of the movie and the longer extended version. The longer version has six more scenes that add eighteen minutes onto the run time of the movie. I think that most of that time was covered by one of the scenes. Most of them were rather short and didn’t add that much to the plot. While watching the extended version, it would state at the bottom of the screen when an added scene began and ended. There is an hour long documentary on the making of the movie with new interviews with the cast. I haven’t taken the time to watch that yet and I’m not sure if there are any other extras on the disc.
Stripes is a funny and entertaining movie that is worth watching even though it is a bit silly at times. People in the mood for a good comedy should give it a chance. Fans of Bill Murray will probably enjoy it.
Bill Murray Movie Reviews
Garfield ~ Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties ~ Ghostbusters ~ Ghostbusters 2 ~ Scrooged ~
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