Meatballs: Special Edition – DVD Review

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Sony Pictures presents Meatballs: Special Edition. Written by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg, Janis Allen and Harold Ramis. 94 minutes. Rated PG. Originally Released in 1979

Directed By:

Ivan Reitman


Bill Murray. Tripper Harrison
Harvey Atkin. Morty
Kate Lynch. Roxanne
Chris Makepeace. Rudy

The Film:

After taking a more serious turn in films like Lost In Translation and Broken Flowers, it’s easy to forget that Bill Murray used to be a wacky comedic genius and this special edition of Meatballs, his first starring role, is here to remind us of that. Before Peter Venkman, before Carl Spackler, the first time Reitman and Murray worked together was on this summer camp cult classic.

Meatballs set the standard for which all summer camp movies would attempt to emulate. You have the loud obnoxious counselor that breaks all the rules, and that is Tripper (Murray). You have the quiet kid who’s really nice but everyone ignores him but the counselor who shows him how to be cool and finally in the end succeeds. Whew, deep breath. You also have every other stereotype imaginable and they all come together to make a great film.

What makes this movie work is that it doesn’t solely rely on humor to carry the film; it’s just one joke after another. It takes its time and builds the characters and makes you care about them. It gives them tender moments that are nice and doesn’t rush them through. The other reason this film works is that it doesn’t rely on nudity and cursing either. It’s a PG film and anyone can enjoy it.

But above everything else, this film works because of Bill Murray. At this time he was still coming into his own and already he was a force to be reckoned with. Murray steals the show and chews the scenery in every single seen pushing the envelope as far as he can and other metaphors as well! You can tell he’s ad-libbing most his lines and almost every one of them is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Perhaps the film is a little dated but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Meatballs is a film that reminds us all what childhood is all about and while we can’t go back there we can at least let Bill Murray take us on an hour and a half trip there so we don’t forget.

Bill Murray as Tripper the wacky counselor.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1. This transfer has been remastered in High Definition under Reitman’s supervision and the film looks great. It still looks like it was filmed in the 70’s but it’s a clean transfer and big improvement on that last DVD release.

The Audio:

The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. I really don’t see the point for a 5.1 mix of this film. There really isn’t a lot going on sound wise and 5.1 doesn’t seem to improve the film. Doesn’t hurt it though, the film sounds fine.


Summer Camp: The Making OF Meatballs: This is a great making-of that takes you from Ivan Reitman’s initial idea for the story, to him practically begging Murray to make the film and finally to the completion and ultimate success of the film. Sadly, Murray himself is nowhere on this DVD.

Audio Commentary by Ivan Reitman and writer/producer Daniel Goldberg: This is an alright commentary. Much of what they have to say is also talked about in the Making Of so it’s redundant at times but Reitman does provide some amusing stories involving Murray and that’s always fun. Again, sadly, no Murray. Where are you Bill Murray?

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Meatballs
(OUT OF 10)






The Inside Pulse
If you’re a Bill Murray fan then this film is a must see and is an essential to your collection. And even if you’re not, you should still see it cause it’s a classic and it’s hilarious. The biggest thing missing from this release is Bill Murray on the special features. Oh well.