Luke Blackall: Curtis tips an unlikely hat to Animal House
Man About Town: The film might not have been the first of its kind, but its success made a big impression
The question "what's your favourite film?" is an awful one. Try it as an ice-breaker, and it can have the opposite effect, paralysing conversation as one scrambles around for a single, definitive answer.
Indeed if you're a film-lover, how can one piece stand above the rest? And you can't necessarily give the same answer every time. On a date, you might want to convey your sensitive, intelligent side. To a film buff you might to show off your esoteric knowledge of films. If you're a man on a blokes' night out, you'll pick a gangster classic rather than admitting that you "really love You've Got Mail". Or you might pick an Oscar-winner, safe in the knowledge that you have that to fall back on should your answer be questioned.
Richard Curtis, a film director who will surely soon be the bearer of the title "National Treasure", was asked to do something similar this week. To celebrate Universal Pictures' 100th birthday, he was asked to pick his favourite film from the studio's extensive back catalogue. Earlier this week he introduced that film to an audience at the Electric Cinema in, appropriately, Notting Hill.
He could have chosen an Oscar-winner such as All Quiet on the Western Front, opted for one of the Hitchcock thrillers, or a classic such as Jaws or Scarface. Instead, he went for the 1978 comedy Animal House. For those unfamiliar with the film, it tells the story of a fraternity house in a US college, who challenge authority through a combination of pranks and parties.
The film might not have been the first of its kind, but its success made a big impression. Indeed its importance can be seen with this week's release of American Reunion, the fourth big-screen instalment of the American Pie series, which owes much to Animal House.
While Animal House might have helped spawn the "gross-out" genre beloved of boys everywhere, it was also called "culturally significant" and selected for the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress. Curtis said that by choosing it, he was standing up for the "sketch comedies" and those unsung heroes that aren't elevated to "classic" status often enough.
These might not be the award winners, and they might not be challenging in the traditional sense, but they're often the ones that bring us the most joy. And we should probably admit to their being our favourites more often.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Manny Pacquiao begs Indonesia president to spare life of drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso about to be executed
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...