There’s a reason you spent a few nights every year of college wearing a bed sheet and chanting “Toga, toga, toga!”, and that reason is John Landis’s seminal 1978 film Animal House. Toga parties took place in a few eastern US colleges in the 50s and 60s, and even made it into Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book The Pumphouse Gang, but their establishment in our collective collegiate fabric required one of America’s finest bawdy comedies. Ancient Romans occupy the place of wisdom, enlightenment, and ascetics in our popular imagination, so it’s only fitting that John Belushi donned a toga when he danced to “Shout” and skewered college life.
This is the legacy being celebrated by TIFF’s summer programming lineup, TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy. When you do a bit of accounting, the sheer amount of films influenced by Animal House is staggering: Porky’s, Stripes, Meatballs, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Airplane, and more modern classics, like Superbad, Old School, and Anchorman. From now until the end of August, TIFF is playing all of these great films (and a whole bunch more), along with hosting directors Ivan Reitman and John Landis to talk about some of their work.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to see Blues Brothers on the big screen (it’s number four on the DailyXY List of Things to Do Before you Die), stop by the TIFF bell lightbox.