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Stripes

Year: 1981
Studio: Columbia
Director: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Ivan Reitman/Dan Goldberg
Writer: Len Blum/Dan Goldberg
Cast: Bill Murray, Russell Ziske, P J Soles, Sean Young, John Candy, Judge Reinhold, John Laroquette, Warren Oates, John Diehl

Forget the hoity-toity Lost in Translation, Broken Flowers or the work of Wes Anderson. I knew Bill Murray's sardonic, smart-alecky was a great acting talent years before either. And the character of John Winger is tailor made for the faux-suave manboy of Murray's early career.

He's a slacker cab driver who loses his job, his girlfriend and his apartment all on the same day. While sitting around watching TV with his best friend, the only-slightly less hopeless Russell Ziske (Ramis), he decides on a whim to join the army.

The guys are installed in a platoon populated with some very familiar faces of early 80s comedy from John Candy as Dewey Oxberger to John Diehl as Cruiser and John Laroquette as the incompetent Captain Stillman.

The plot concerns bozos and slobs learning – as their brutal drill sergeant Hulka says – about courage, discipline, duty and honour, qualities they have to call on when the whole platoon is taken prisoner in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia.

But, with their MP lovers Stella (Soles) and Louise (Young) and the top secret EM-50 armoured RV, they'll blaze a trail of fun and chaos across Europe. It's the kind of movie you can't describe, you simply have to experience for the dozens of classic moments and lines, from 'oh God I wish I was a loofah' to 'We're not homosexual but we are willing to learn.'

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