That begs the question: with a dull story and odd happenings, how has this film continued to attract audiences? Well, maybe it's the cast. Tom Hulce (Amadeus, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Stephen Furst (Babylon 5), Kevin Bacon (Footloose), and many others keep the film enjoyable and zany. But the real star is the neanderthal-like John Belushi (The Blues Brothers). As John Blutarsky, Belushi keeps the audience guessing what he will do whenever he is on the screen. Belushi was cast in a heck of a lot of fun films, but there is a reason why this one sits towards the top of his whole filmography.
Okay, so the cast is fun to watch. There has to be more to this film than just a fun cast. After all, Batman v. Superman had a fun cast, but still was very unenjoyable. Animal House has become a sort of initiation into the comedy genre for cinephiles. Why is that? I think it has to do with the initial release of the film. In 1978, this was surely a huge shock for film audiences. Beer and topless women constantly pop on-screen as Landis decides to bring out fraternity life to the world. Sure, not all fraternities are well-represented by this film. Yet, there are definitely college students and fraternity brothers that are relatable to the characters in the film. The scattered story doesn't matter, so long as viewers can reminisce on their college memories. Even though most of us did not go through college like this, we probably know someone who did.
The Bottom Line: Don't expect a grandiose and well-rounded story, but rather a beer-cladden romp through a stereotypical fraternity.