Meatballs (1979) is not about spaghetti, or about some scientist who created living food items. No, Meatballs is a tale about summer camp! I know, I know, ANOTHER story about summer camp? Jesus! Who the fuck goes to summer camp? That's for rich kids! Most of middle america doesn't go to summer camp!
Well, all that's true, and not only did I never go to summer camp myself, but I never met anyone who ever went to summer camp. Honestly, I think the whole "Summer camp" concept is a lie told to kids to make them feel bad about not having friends. Or maybe that's just me.
So, Meatballs! Basically, it's a tale of Counselors In Training, and a bunch of not-well-to-do kids facing off against a team of very well-to-do kids. And losing. Horribly. Bill Murray plays the head counselor for the guys, and a completely unknown actress plays his love interest. Chris Makepeace, who had some small fame in a series of 80's movies, plays a poor lonely kid named Rudy who bonds with Tripp (Bill Murray) and ends up filling in at the big all-star end-of-summer-olympics.
There's no monsters in this movie. I don't know why I like it so much. Maybe because I always identified with Rudy, the lonely poor kid who has no friends. Probably because I first saw it when I was 10, and wished my parents had enough money to send me to summer camp so I could make a friend. Maybe because Bill Murray is hilarious enough to want to hang out with all summer long.
Definitely because there's a lot of cute 1970's chicks in this movie. I think my hormones kicked in around the age of 9, so by 10, I was already fully in their grip.
This movie made a lot of things popular. It started the whole summer camp movie trend, and spawned 4 sequels of it's own. I watched them all. None of them were as good as the original. One even had an angel in it. I think she was played by Sally Kellerman. This movie either coined the term "Spaz" or made it popular (or maybe it didn't, this was 35 years ago, who can remember?), associating it with being extremely clumsy, geeky and otherwise uncoordinated. As a spaz myself, I've heard this term a lot. It also coined the phrase "Wudy the Wabbit" which, I'm sure you never heard of, but I still use it to this day! Okay, I don't, and that would be weird, but I did use it for at least a decade or two after this movie came out. Also, it launched Bill Murray's movie career, was the first movie he ever starred in, and made him the man he is today! Or, maybe that was the substance abuse. Only Bill knows for sure.
Let me sum up the good points about this movie, and why you should watch it despite it not having boobs, nudity, monsters, martial arts, aliens, gunfights or explosions in it. Jesus Christ. It has none of those things? Wtf. I think one of the sequels at least had an alien. Uh, anyways. It's funny, and a feel good movie. At least, it makes me feel good when I watch it. I don't want to give too much away about the movie, but Wudy the Wabbit makes friends, and is lifted in the air by his team-mates.
Have you ever been lifted in the air by your teammates for winning the game? I have. It's awesome. It hasn't happened lately, because, well, I'm a pretty big guy nowadays, but back then I was a little kid. And goddammit, I felt just as good about it when it happened to me as Rudy did when it happened to him. What can I say? I'm a winner.
If for no other reason, watch this movie for the pep talks by Bill Murray. I swear to god the man should have become a professional sports coach. Absolutely brilliant. And the pranks they played on Morty? HOLY SHIT. HOLY. SHIT. I'd have been laughing too damn hard just trying to get him into the awkward spots they put him in to actually finish getting him there.
Well, enjoy the movie if you can find it. It's currently playing on Sundance Network.
What's that you ask? What did I do all summer when I wasn't going to summer camp? Roasted. Never had a pool. Never went to summer camp. Aside from a short two weeks of vacation time per year when my parents had off and we went camping, I spent the summers moping around, dreading the return to school in the fall, and avoiding the bullies prowling my street, looking for little geeks like me to beat on. Life was tough when I was a kid! :-o
That's all for now, campers! Are you ready for the summer? Hope you're looking forward to it. After the unusually harsh winter around the states, all the forecasters say it's going to be a cold and wet summer, but I'm going out on a limb here and calling it as one of the hottest summers ever. June will be sweltering, July will be the hottest and driest my area has ever seen, and august will be stormy and full of hurricanes. Just glad I live in NY and not down south. Poor bastids down there are in deep shite. And the weathermen say they get it right 75% of the time. Suuuuuuure. Well, we'll see who's right.
I'm going to be moping around without a pool. Sweating. I already had to break out my fans and get them running and it's only mid May. But don't worry! May and June around here is Spring, July and August is Summer, and September and October are fall. Then I have six months of snowy winter to cool off in! And yes, we get snow from november to april. Every year. So it's winter, no matter what the calendar says.
I need to move somewhere warm. Somewhere with a pool. This being too cold for six months and too warm for the other six months is getting old.