Stripes (1981)

On his way to the premiere of Meatballs, Ivan Reitman got a great idea: Cheech and Chong join the army. He pitched it to Paramount Pictures and they greenlit the film instantly. The stoner duo’s manager loved the movie, but they wanted full creative control. That’s when Reitman got another great idea. He decided to revise the script for Bill Murray and Harold Ramis.

Within a few hours, John Winger (Murray) loses his job, his apartment, his car and his girlfriend. So he does what anyone else would do. He talks his friend Russell (Ramis) into joining the army.

After getting treated like, well, rookies by Sergeant Hulka (Warren Oates) and angering Captain Stillman (John Larroquette), our men at least get some romance from MPs Louise Cooper and Stella Hansen (Sean Young and PJ Soles, who gets “the Aunt Jemima treatment,” a scene that Murray totally improved making her reaction genuine).

There’s a great cast here, with Dave Thomas, Joe Flaherty and John Candy joining Ramis from SCTV, as well as Judge Reinhold and even a brief part for Bill Paxton. John Diehl is also pretty awesome as Cruiser.

By the way, that scene where John Candy gets his head shaved? He had no idea it was going to happen. That’s why he looks so depressed when he picks his hair up.

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