January 5, 2013
Bill Murray and Chris Makepeace
These are the camp rules. They'll be in here if you want to
check them out later.
If you were to ask people my age who the coolest
actor is of our generation, a lot of people wouldn't even think twice
before they answered "Bill Murray." After all, stories of
Murray being awesome in real life are found practically all over the
internet. Do a google search sometime on Bill Murray and
awesome, and see how many stories you can find of him just showing up
at some random guy's party and partying with everyone. Or of
him just showing up at some bar unannounced and paying for everyone's
drinks. Or how he practically ad libs every movie he is in
and he doesn't like to work with a script. In fact, I don't
think that in my 38 years of life on this Earth, I have ever someone my
age say "You know who I don't like? I don't like Bill
Murray." He is one of those actors that practically everyone
Bruce Lee, patron of self defense, pray for us
Now, if you wanted to see the coolest actor alive at the very peak of
his coolness, most people would agree that you want to go watch his
stuff from the late 70's/early 80's. You would want to watch
him on SNL. You would want to watch him in Caddyshack.
You would want to watch him in Stripes. In fact, I
would guess that practically any Bill Murray fan alive would agree that
Stripes and Caddyshack (and maybe Ghostbusters too) are the pinnacle of
Bill Murray in his cool smarmy awesome years.
However, there was another Bill Murray movie in that time period too.
And sadly, although it was once a big hit, it is a movie that
you rarely ever hear about anymore.
It is Meatballs. And in my opinion, Bill Murray was never any
cooler or more awesome than he was in Meatballs.
The Swiss trained him to kill and he knows how to do it
Meatballs is the story of a summer camp. And really, that is
about it. It is the story of Camp North Star, located
somewhere in Canada. And it stars a bunch of nobody Canadian
actors doing predictable meaningless summer camp things.
Honestly, there isn't one distinct thing I can tell you about
ninety percent of the actors in the movie. They all just look
like random forgettable 70's people.
Oh yeah, and then there is Bill Murray right in the middle of it.
Which, in the grand scheme of things, is like throwing Babe
Ruth into the lineup of a 12 year old little league team.
To say that Bill Murray carries the movie is like saying that
Charlie Sheen has a slight problem with substance abuse.
In fact, there may have never been another movie in movie history that
was carried by one person as much as Meatballs was carried by Bill
By the way, five important trivia facts about Meatballs.
The first important trivia fact is that this was Bill Murray's first
movie. He was fresh off of his success on SNL, and this was
his big transition into becoming a movie star. And when the
movie turned out to be a big hit, well at that point the sky was the
limit. Caddyshack came soon, and so did Stripes.
And then he got Ghostbusters. Bill Murray was
already a comedy movie legend by the year 1984.
The second trivia fact about Meatballs is one that I have always loved.
Apparently Bill Murray never actually signed a contract to
star in this movie. Because, well, because Bill Murray
doesn't have an agent and because he doesn't sign contracts.
Most of the times when he stars in a movie, he just makes a
gentlemen's agreement to show up and then he shows up. So
when he signed on to do Meatballs, the producers weren't one hundred
percent sure if he was actually going to show up or not. In
fact they weren't sure he was actually even in the movie until THE DAY
THEY STARTED FILMING. That was when Murray finally arrived on
set, and the Hawaiian shirts he wears in the movie were from his own
wardrobe. Which just backs up my old theory that Bill Murray
is an f'ing badass.
The third thing that I would like to point out about Meatballs is that
even though it has a reputation for being a raunchy R-rated summer camp
sex comedy, it really isn't. It is actually a very
gentle, very sweet... in fact it is almost a family movie.
So don't write off a movie like this just because it takes
place at summer camp and because summer camp movies are dumb.
Meatballs isn't dumb, and it isn't raunchy. It is
actually one of the sweeter and most good natured movies you are ever
going to see. There really isn't even all that much profanity
The fourth thing I would like to point out about Meatballs is the fact
that Bill Murray practically ad libbed the entire movie.
Remember at the beginning when I said that Bill Murray rarely
ever uses a script? Well that was certainly the case in
Meatballs. I heard the producers joking about it on the DVD
commentary. Bill Murray showed up on set, the producers gave
him a general idea what the movie was, and what the story was all
about, and he said okay I will take it from here. So he
practically ad libbed every single line in every single scene in the
movie. Now that is a comedy god.
Oh, and the fifth thing I would like to mention about Meatballs?
Well this is the movie that introduced the world to Chris Makepeace, of
course. Who I like to call one of the greatest teenage actors
of all time. Chris Makepeace never made a bad movie in his
brief but brilliant career, and at no point in his career was he more
perfect than he was in Meatballs.
Any movie with Chris Makepeace in it was awesome
Meatballs isn't the greatest movie in the world, and it certainly
wasn't trying to win an Academy Award. But it is a movie that
is very sweet, and is very memorable, and at one time it was very
popular and it was loved by a lot of people. And then for
some reason in the late 80's or early 90's it just sort of disappeared.
Nowadays you hear people talking about how Bill Murray was
awesome in Caddyshack, and how awesome he was in Stripes, but you never
ever EVER hear people talk about how awesome he was in Meatballs.
And that is a shame. Because Meatballs was a
fantastic movie for its time, it is a movie I must have seen a hundred
times on TV when I was a kid growing up, yet these days hardly anyone
even remembers it.
And if they do remember it, they usually remember something like "Hey
wasn't there a Meatballs 2 and a Meatballs 3 and a Meatballs 4?
And weren't they all direct to video pieces of shit?"
Well yes. Yes they were. But Meatballs the original
didn't have anything to do with the rest of them.
And Bill Murray and Chris Makepeace were only in the first
And Spaz too. We mustn't forget about Spaz.
In short, if you want to give a random movie from the 70's that you
never seen a chance, you can't really do much better than Meatballs.
It is a sweet, good natured, feel good summer camp comedy
that really doesn't even feel like it is a movie. When you
watch it it really feels more like a documentary. It feels
like they plopped down a bunch of cameras at Camp North Star in Canada,
and then they brought Bill Murray into town and they told him to have
fun with everyone. And then they just started rolling the
cameras and recorded what happened. Because nearly every
single person in this movie (yes even Murray) feels like he belongs at
a summer camp. Everything and everyone just seems natural and
Bill Murray chilling with a bunch of Canadian kids
Like I said before, I have probably seen Meatballs more than one
hundred times in my life. It is one of those movies that was
ALWAYS on in the background in the Lanza house. My brother
and I used to quote it endlessly. And that wasn't really even
all that hard to do, since I can think of very few movies that are as
quotable as Meatballs. All it is is Bill Murray goofing
around with Canadian kids, making friends with and mentoring Chris
Makepeace, and spouting off random one liners for 90 minutes.
Oh and imploring everyone at camp that "it just doesn't
Really, what more do you want from a movie than that?
"The real excitement, of course, will come at the end of summer during
Sexual Awareness Week. We import 200 hookers from around the world and
each camper, armed with only a thermos of coffee and $2000 in cash,
tries to visit as many countries as he can. And the winner, of course,
is named King of Sexual Awareness Week and is allowed to rape and
pillage the neighboring towns until camp ends."
By the way, when I introduce people to a movie like
Meatballs, one of the comments that they often have is that "the movie
is dated." Or, "it is too distracting to watch because it was
made in the 70's." Well no shit. Of course it is
going to be dated. What do you expect from what is basically
a documentary of a Canadian summer camp starring real Canadian kids in
1978? In fact I can think of very few movies aside from maybe
science fiction movies that are NOT in some way "dated." When
you watch a movie like this, don't think of it as dated, think of it as
a time capsule. Think of it as a single moment in time (1978)
that was frozen and the fashion, the people, the dialogue, and the
music were preserved on film for all of eternity. In other
words, dated isn't bad, dated just means authentic. "Dated"
can often be good.
However, those short shorts are dated
* My favorite Meatballs
quotes (there really are a ton of these, Murray just fires off one
liners all movie):
Tripper [on loudspeaker]:
Attention. Here's an update on tonight's dinner. It was veal. I repeat,
veal. The winner of tonight's mystery meat contest is Jeffrey Corbin
who guessed "some kind of beef."
Tripper, I'm looking forward to some action this summer. I hope you can
I'll supply it for you, but the guy you gotta watch out for is Spaz.
He's a sex machine.
couldn't wake me up with a trumpet and a drum!
Well I went out with him one night and he got off six nurses by
himself, and four of them couldn't report to work the next morning.
Tripper: [on loudspeaker]
Attention all campers, it's 9:30... and that's lights-out time here at
Camp Northstar, 9:30 as you know. Tomorrow is parents day, and you must
look rested or Morty will be sent to the state penitentiary.
Rudy: I saw
you dancing with Roxanne.
yeah? Well, she sort'a cornered me and there was nothing I could do
without embarrassing her.
Rudy: Do you
Well I feel sorry for her, you know. She's got a glass eye. And, uh,
I'm one of the few people who knows exactly which eye to look at when
they're talking to her, so she's sort of fixated on me.
I like her.
Well you're not exactly known for your taste. I'll probably just use
her for the rest of the summer and then throw her on the scrap heap
with all the rest of the women that I've destroyed.
Tripper: [on loudspeaker]:
Attention campers, afternoon swim schedule is as follows. Advanced
dolphins, report to the dock for survival swimming and I.Q. testing.
All senior silverfish, meet on the beach for nude sunbathing. All
junior salmon, trout, and herring, report to the nearest
delicatessen. 6-year-old tadpoles, report to the swamp. And
all lobsters, GET OUT OF HERE! YOU'RE A MENACE!
Tripper [on loudspeaker]:
Important announcement - Some hunters have been seen in the woods near
Piney Ridge trail and the fish and game commission has raised the legal
kill limit on campers to three. So, if you're hiking today, please wear
something bright and keep low.
Kids are starving in India and you're walking around with a sombrero
full of peanuts.
name's Morty, not Mickey.
[after Tripper tells a scary ghost story about a killer with a hook for
Jackie: It's true. I
heard it before.
I heard it was on a beach.
No, I heard it happened at a park.
Spaz: Oh, I
heard it, but the guy was missing a foot.
could the guy have a hook on his foot!?
favorite IMDB trivia about Meatballs:
to one of the featurettes on the DVD, several of the shots in the movie
were added after initial filming ended. These included the scenes of
Rudy and Tripper at the bus station and of them playing blackjack for
peanuts. During the time off, Chris Makepeace had entered puberty and
had the beginnings of a mustache. Bill Murray decided that it had to go
so he took Makepeace over to a sink, lathered him up with soap and
shaved off his mustache. So Chris received his first shave from Bill
According to the DVD
commentary, scenes of the first day of camp were the first day of
actual shooting for Bill Murray. He was signed to do the film at the
last minute because of his commitment to Saturday Night Live. His
outfit, the Hawaiian shirt and red shorts, were his own clothes that he
showed up on set with.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Meatballs
Why do all the movie
critics miss the boat on this? - 9 October 2011
pleased to see so many good comments on this movie here. What I don't
get is that Meatballs is always advertised as this kind of bawdy, teen
sex comedy when you see a write up on it. Even IMDb in its description
Meatballs is really not that kind of movie. It is a
very sweet little film about a bunch of misfits who find that they are
not so bad after all. It also is the story of how one boy goes from
outcast to hero after he is taken under the wing of a caring counselor.
there are jokes and highjinks, and a few teenage sexual references, but
nothing over the top and they are all characteristic and true to form
for summer camps.
I love this movie. I loved when I was a kid,
and I love it still today, and think it should almost be mandatory
viewing for any young kid who feels like an outsider.
The Original Summer Camp
Comedy..........Classic Bill Murray! - 23 July 2007
The plot is predictable. It has been done many times in other movies.
You have competing summer camps in this one: the rich kids vs. the
underachievers competing for "bragging" rights in the typical camp
contests, while the kids and consolers pursue pranks, sex, and "a good
time!" "Are You Ready For The Summer?" Meatballs is the first (and
best) summer camp movie for feel-good comedy. As others have posted,
it's no Citizen Kane, but this type of movie isn't meant to be. The
film works because of the wonderful comic timing and classic one-liners
of Bill Murray. His scenes with a camper where he tries to raise the
kid's self-esteem are very good. Bill's one-liners throughout the film
are very funny.
I also like that this movie isn't dirty or explicit like so many other
"teens at camp" movies today. There is some mild sexual innuendo and
maybe one or two cuss words in the entire film. But Meatballs is the
type of teen movie that is actually appropriate for the younger crowd.
It's rated PG.
This is a movie that you have to see a few times to get all of the
jokes! When Bill Murray is on the screen or making one of his classic
"PA Announcements" you are drawn to the film. Bill seems to carry the
movie all by himself. But he does it so well, that when you see
Meatballs, you will realize that this is the film that made him a star!
A side note to this review is to avoid ALL of the Meatball movie
sequels. They are horribly bad.
Murray makes it work. -
17 June 2007
Luckily for Bill Murray this is such a light-weight project since he
pretty much has to carry it. Meatballs is the story of low-rent Camp
Northstar and how its counselors deal with the campers as well as one
another. Then there is much made of their wealthy rivals from across
the lake named Camp Mohawk which culminates in a two-day Olympiad
competition. Above it all is Bill Murray clowning around and making a
pretty memorable film debut.
The film is sprinkled with medium-sized laughs, chuckles, and more than
a few guffaws along the way. The biggest laughs come from the pranks
played on the nerdy camp director. Three of them involve the counselors
moving his bed outside in various locations while he's sleeping. Morty,
or "Micky" as everyone calls him, wakes up along the side of a road,
strung up in some trees several feet above the ground, and finally
floating on a raft in the middle of the lake! There are also some funny
moments involving the counselors hitting on one another, but this is a
PG rated film with little in the way of raunchiness.
The film takes a serious note involving a shy camper named Rudy who is
played by Chris Makepeace. Of course it's up to Murray to teach the kid
how to open up, and give him the confidence he needs to run a marathon
during the Olympiad. The sentimentality of Rudy's situation seems
tacked on to a great degree. Notice how when Murray first sees the kid
sitting alone in the grass after getting off the bus he tells him, "you
must be the short depressed kid we ordered." Makes you wonder if that
line was really in the script or Murray was just ad-libbing while the
cameras were rolling. In other words, Murray might as well have said to
Makepeace, "you must be that actor we hired to play the stereotypical
lonely kid you see in most summer camp films who doesn't fit in." But
before it's all over, Murray's performance makes this plot device more
than bearable. He really seems to have some good chemistry with
The film culminates with the games between the two rival camps. Very
little of the events we are shown are even slightly believable, but "it
just doesn't matter". This is a pretty good film on many levels. Don't
let the absurd 5.6 rating this film is currently getting scare you off.
Murray will keep you laughing throughout. Just be warned..... avoid the
sequels!!!! Especially the one with Corey Feldman!! 8 of 10 stars.
A comedy classic - 1
"Rattlesnake! Look out!" "Is that a bra you're wearing or are you
expecting an assassination attempt?" "Spaz, what are you a homo or
what?!" "OK way to go you guys! feed Fink, he's our hot man" "Do you
know they use the most sophisticated training methods from the Soviet
Union, East & West Germany and the newest Olympic power,
Trinidad-Tobago." "Oh Spaz you old make-out master!" "What, no
mustard?!" "Oh my God his nose is bleeding. Iit's gonna get
even bigger now" "Our political roundtable...Henry Kissinger will
appear. Yassir Arafat is gonna come out, spend a weekend with the kids
just rap with them."
These and many other great lines make Meatballs a hall-of-fame comedy.
Only in Caddyshack is Bill Murray funnier. He probably ad-libbed half
the lines. The high school actors seemed to have a blast being in the
same movie with him.
Hilarious movie to watch any time of year, not just the summer.
Terrific film!! - 28 June
I love Meatballs! Terrific characters and poignant situations make this
one dearly loved. Bill Murray is hysterical and you gotta love that
4-mile trail race at the end! A total classic and one of my favorites
now for about 20 years. It brings back fond memories of camp and deals
nicely with the experience of being rejected by foolish peers and the
empowerment brought one by being rescued by a sympathetic adult. Tons
of great one-liners and quite an assortment of wacko counselors. This
is the kind of movie where you repeat key phrases among friends for
years afterward. Also nothing overtly crude and what a sweet late '70's
soundtrack to bring on just the right amount of nostalgia. I can't say
enough about Meatballs; it's a classic. Be forewarned! All the sequels
are putrid stink bombs that simply bought the name rights for
marketing. They have no connection to Ivan Reitman's masterpiece.
This is one of my
all-time favorite films - 21 January 2002
'Meatballs' is a nice and surprisingly, bittersweet film. It remains
every bit as fresh, funny and entertaining as the day it was first
released. Forget the sleazy in-name only "sequels". This is the
one-and-only, the original. It is a very good-natured and uplifting
film. It makes and leaves you feeling good, but a little bit sad when
it is over. It perfectly captures the experiences of being a kid,
summer camp, camping and growing-up. It also captures just as well the
memories made by making friends and having a good time and the pain of
having to say goodbye. There are many memorably funny moments and even
some touching ones, as well. It is unthinkable how anyone could not
like this film or give it bad reviews. Having grown-up in the late
1970's, it is a nice trip to the past and fond memories of summers
gone-by. I highly recommend this warm, charming and upbeat film. Don't
favorite scene in Meatballs:
Just about any scene where Bill Murray is interacting with Chris
Makepeace is a good one. Those two had some amazing chemistry
together, their scenes really were the heart of the movie. In
fact when I was a kid at summer camp in the mid 80's, I remember always
thinking "Man, I wish I had a counselor as awesome as Bill Murray."
If I had to pick just one of their scenes as my favorite, I will pick
the scene where Tripper and Rudy are playing cards for peanuts.
I can probably reel off 10 great one liners just from that
scene alone. In fact the line "Twenty?! Is that what they
teach you in that school of yours, twenty?" may have been the line that
my brother and I quoted more than any other movie quote in the 1980's.
It was either that or something random from Johnny Dangerously.
I think I like history the most. I like imagining
I'm in some other place, some other time.
Shut up and look at your cards.
at the IMDB
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