on July 18, 2004
I think there are two types of people in the world -- those who get Bill Murray and those who don't. For those of us who intrinsically get him, he simply has no peer when it comes to pulling off the kinds of comedic characters that he portrays. It's not so much about what he does, but who he is and how he presents the character that matters. As the head camp counselor "Tripper", Murray is funny but he is also so much more than funny: He gives the movie it's heart and humanity, without which, it would be nothing more than a series of sophomoric pranks. In my opinion, that is why this movie works when all of the others in the series are deplorable.
To be sure, this is one of the definitive "summer camp" movies of all time; just as Caddyshack is one of the greatest golf movies ever made. But for those who somehow just don't get Murray, there is little that can be said that will convince them to like either movie. Even with as much commercial success as he has had, I believe his comic genius is still way underrated. I have given this movie four stars because I reserve five star ratings exclussively for movies which I believe are exceptional, and because the transfer of this movie to DVD should have been handled with greater care. Otherwise, it's a solid movie with plenty of laughs and some tender moments as well.
on November 17, 2002
I can hardly call this a great film but it is entertaining. In my case I, at the time this film was released, was the same age as some of the junior campers in the film. For me watching this film brings back the memories of my camp years. While some of the pranks that takes place in this movie, like carrying the camp director out in his bed and leaving him on the side of a road, strung up in the trees or out on a lake, are a bit over the top some of the other pranks are not. When I went to camp the campers and counselors pulled similar stunts such as running underwear up the flag pole, canoe battles and boys raiding the girls cabin. As I grew older I realized these night raids to the girls cabin that I participated in were carefully orchestrated by the counselors so that we wouldn't find the girls in embarrassing situations but at the time I thought it was real and it was fun. That's what MEATBALLS (MB) is.
MB captures not only the scenic beauty of camp surroundings but the beauty of being young and carefree. MB gives a great example of pre-teens, teens and young adults living their summer with no concerns other than guys hooking up with girls and girls hooking up with guys and booth having as much fun as they can before they head back to junior high & high school and college. The opening title song that goes "Are you ready for the summer?...no more homework no more books, no more teachers dirty looks..." describes exactly how summer is viewed by school kids.
I personally enjoyed the two campers Spaz and Fink. What boy, nerd or jock, didn't spend all camp trying to cozy up to some pretty girl camper? What guy didn't want to be accepted by the other campers and counselors? While these two characters are somewhat over the top I bet everybody who watches the film can't help but to like these two guys. These two characters are a mix of Charlie Brown from PEANUTS and Jack Tripper & Larry Dallas from THREE'S COMPANY. I would bet that most viewers even cheer for Spaz in the egg carrying competition and for Fink as he attempts to "beat the stomach" in the hot dog eating contest.
Lastly, this movie had normal looking kids and counselors. No super models for counselors or campers that wore trendy clothing. It is fun to just kick back and watch this film and remember when life was as fun as this movie.
on January 21, 2002
'Meatballs' is one of my all-time favorite films. I can watch it repeatedly and never grow bored with or get tired of it. It works successfully on several different levels. It has some truly memorable funny moments, a lot of them. It also has some touching, moving and poignant ones, as well. Anyone who has ever been to summer camp, just camping or been a kid, will find much to identify with and relate to. I really don't understand why so many well-known film critics "reviewed" this warm and wonderful family film so harshly. I always feel good and upbeat when the film's end credits roll to a close, although I am always sorry and a little bit sad when it is over. Anyone who is looking for an entertaining, enjoyable and bright family film won't be disappointed. Anyone who loves summer and has wonderful memories of summers gone-by will enjoy 'Meatballs'. It is about having a good time, making friends, memories, being a kid, growing-up and saying goodbye. It is very realistic, especially for anyone who has ever had a wonderful time and been left with bittersweet memories of the day it all ends and you have to say goodbye to good friends. It is a real pity that the so-called sleazy and cheaply-made sequels chose to start off in the gutter and go downhill from there. Start and stay with this wonderful family comedy film and avoid the would-be and in name-only sequels. You won't be sorry. These later, cheap rip-offs didn't have Bill Murray or anything else that made this film so wonderful and most fortunately, none of them can possibly do anything to give this fine film a bad name or reputation. It has lasted and stood the test of time and stands sturdily on it's own merits and truly towers over any subsequent films that have very misleadingly used the name 'Meatballs' in their titles. Bill Murray has never been better or more natural. He must have had a great time making this film. The supporting cast of young and mostly unknown Canadian actors and actresses are bright, warm and appealing. Chris Makepeace really shines as 'Rudy', the lonely outcast befriended by 'Tripper Harrison' (Bill Murray}. The on-location filming at Camp White Pine in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada, really adds a lot of realism and believability to the film, as well. The management and staff of the summer camp reportedly were worried at the time of filming that Bill Murray would be a disruptive, corruptive and bad-influence on it's real-life campers! Do yourself a favor and don't miss seeing this truly great comedy. It will also evoke wonderful memories for anyone who grew up in the late 1970's, as I did. It is like making a wonderful trip to the past, one you won't want to see come to an end. See this wonderful film, you truly won't be sorry. It is still every bit as fresh, funny, entertaining and uplifting as the day it was first released. Please see 'Meatballs'. It might even make you long for being a kid, going to summer camp or just camping and growing-up again. I can guarantee that it will at least make you laugh and feel good. It is really a very special film. Please don't miss out on any opportunities to see it!
on June 26, 2000
Anyone who grew up in the eighties has to remember and love this film.
Please don't listen to reviewers who call this movie sophmoric and cruel. It does have a little low-brow humor BUT for the most part the film is surprisingly kind-hearted and sentimental (a perfect way to remember childhood).
Even if you don't purchase this movie, do yourself a favor and rent it. You won't be disappointed.
Some classic lines:
(what other movie has so many quotable lines?)
"the kids wanted adventure so this year each camper will stalk and kill his own wild bear."
"Spaz, Spaz, Spaz, Spaz, Spaz! "
"You can change that record, but don't you change! Promise me! "
"Wun you wascally wabbit! Wun! "
"Come on Morty, make up your mind! "
"IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER! "
RUDY: "I'm going away." TRIPPER: "You goin to Vegas? Cause if you were going to Vegas I'd be up for it!"
"Well, that's life in the slam-bang, live-on-the-razor's-edge, laugh-in-the-face-of-death world of junior league soccer!"
"You make one good friend a summer, and you're doing okay."
"Spaz! What are you a homo or what? "
"THE EGG TOSS! Probably the most PUNISHING of all food-related sports"
"Ya gotta WANT it, Larry! "
"Come on, Fink, this is weenie WAR! "
TRIPPER: "Roxanne, I have what doctors call very active glands. You're the only person I've told. My folks don't even know."
ROXANNE: "Well, maybe you can have surgery without them knowing." TRIPPER: "Awwww, heck with surgery! LET'S WRESTLE! "
"SHARK INFESTED WATERS! "
"YOU, ON THE WATER SKIS! "
on February 21, 2000
This is one of my favorite movies from childhood, and I still love it (I'm now 27).
Bill Murray is terrific as head counselor Tripper Harrison in this warm and funny feel-great movie. All of the players in the ensemble cast are good, and the music is also really effective. If you like summer, good times, goofy humor, if you were born in the seventies (or even if you weren't) check out "Meatballs". It's a great way to spend a Friday evening--make something strange for a midnight snack and put on "Meatballs".
As for the DVD transfer, here are a couple of comments:
1. It does include the trailer. 2. It's a "matted" widescreen version, which means you actually see less than you do on the full-screen VHS version, because they simply lay black bars across the top and bottom of the full-screen image (I compared the two versions scene-to-scene). 3. For some reason, some of the music has been changed in the DVD version. I found this unfortunate, because the music is one of my favorite parts of the movie. Whenever the song "Meatballs" plays, for instance, an alternate version is played. Also, the "Makin' It" song at the "big social" scene is cut differently.
Aside from these few complaints, I'll still give the disc five stars, because I love the movie so much.
on April 12, 2002
Bill Murray is basically this entire film. His character will make you laugh even if you are not a Bill Murray fan. He's as good as Caddyshack but with more screen time, but not as good as What About Bob.
Yes, it's also got a string of other more minor characters and the lead is shared by Chris Makepiece, whom everyone thought would become a star. But apparently after Mazes and Monsters he dropped off the face of the Earth. Chris' character was a little whiney which makes it difficult to root for him, but the underdog and rompy atmosphere of the second rate camp gets you rooting for everyone else.
With many oft quoted lines and several signature scenes such as Marty in a tree on his bed and Bill Murray leading the buses off on his motorbike, this is a must see movie. Personally, I put it on a must own list because I can watch it over and over, but some may not find the I'm a dufus but still get by humor as funny, therefore I give it a 4 out of 5.
on April 4, 2000
I remember summer camp very well, arriving there and hating it instantly,then as the days and weeks go by you get used to it and start to enjoy it. Meatballs is a perfect reflection of this, it's fun and Bill Murray never lets us down being the true comic genius, he talks to the campers on their level instead of talking down to them, he is basically a kid at heart himself. My favorite part was the summer olympics.Who can forget those at the end of camp? This movie never gets to out of hand, the scenes of competition are hilarious, the campers, though some are bratty, make a lot of people identify with them when they were young. I am not going to even acknowledge the following sequels they made to this film, Meatballs 2,3 and 4? Whatever, after the first one the rest became just a bunch of idiotic raunchy sophmoric teen flicks. If you want something a little more realistic and to just have a good time, this is the one worth watching.
on January 17, 2001
Meatballs is a comedy about a second rate summer camp that is made up of assorted losers, geeks and such. The movie concludes with an oympics against the rival camp that is a state of the art facility made up of rich and privileged kids. The movie brings out all the classic cliches, sex jokes and David vs. Goliath situations. The movie gets away with this due to its charm. The characters are all likeable and seem like real kids. This was Bill Murray's first movie and he shines in the film. He plays Tripper the head counselor at the camp and the movie's opening scene which has him addressing the camp counselors over the P.A. system is classic Murray. He more or less carries the movie and his just doesn't matter rant at the end of the film has become semi-famous. Meatballs isn't the finest moment of Mr. Murray's career, but it definitely shows he had the goods to be a major comedic film star.
on April 28, 2003
As a person who spent many of my summers at camp I found this movie to be excellent. It also doesn't hurt that this movie stars Bill Murray...one of my favorites. I've owned this movie on VHS for many years now and have watched it numerous times. I just bought the DVD and noticed that the actual song titled "Meatballs" (originally written and performed by Rick Dees) is different than it is on the VHS version. The DVD version is actually sung (or more like halfway spoken/rapped) by Bill Murray himself. There is also about ten seconds of footage added at the end of the cafeteria scene that isn't on the VHS. Not much, but to a fan of the movie it's kind of cool. I wish the DVD had more features on it (like deleted scenes), but none the less this is still probably the best camp movie you could ask for.
on May 10, 1999
"We are the C.I.T.s so pitious, The kids are brats the food is hideous..." so the song goes as Bill Murray and his helpful counselors sing at the end of this funny film. Bill Murray is at his best when he has a stooge who is seriously discussing something with him, like the reporter who asks why the camp costs so much. Also there is one great routine where Bill explains "It just doesn't matter..." This is a fun summer camp movie for just about any age of viewer. Also good Murray movies not to miss are "Kingpin," "Caddyshack," "Groundhog Day" and "What About Bob?" Chris Makepeace did a very good job in this debut movie and then did "My Bodyguard" and a few other lesser known movies including at least one vampire film. Tom Willett