Main Plot Points:
- From the 1970s thru the 1990s, there was no hipper, no more outrageous comedy in print than The National Lampoon, the groundbreaking humor magazine that pushed the limits of taste and acceptability – and then pushed them even harder.
- Parodying everything from politics, religion, entertainment and the whole of American lifestyle, the Lampoon eventually went on to branch into successful radio shows, record albums, live stage revues and movies, including ANIMAL HOUSE and NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, launching dozens of huge careers on the way.
- Director Douglas Tirola’s documentary DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON – tells the story of its rise and fall through fresh, candid interviews with its key staff, and illustrated with hundreds of outrageous images from the mag itself (along with never-seen interview footage from the magazine’s prime).
- The film gives fans of the Lampoon a unique inside look at what made the magazine tick, its key players, and why it was so outrageously successful: a magazine that dared to think what no one was thinking, but wished they had.
What We Thought:
- Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon is a fascinating look at the rise of National Lampoon and the careers it made for some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
- I grew up watching the National Lampoon movies, you know Animal House, Vacation, etc. I knew it came from some Harvard kids, but it wasn’t until years later that I knew about the magazine, radio show and everything else that spun out from these brilliantly talented people. The documentary gives you an in depth look at how the magazine got off the ground and is filled with surprising guests and former writers.
- What’s great about National Lampoon is that it pretty much came about from two insanely smart kids wanting to poke fun at society and pop culture. It became sort of a spin off of the Harvard Lampoon, but tackled politics, religion, Hollywood and everything in between.
- The documentary has some amazing footage and interviews of the original team and those that came after. One of the original founders Douglas Kenney would go on to work on Caddyshack and Animal House before his mysterious death.
- That’s the most amazing thing about the film, the talent that came out of it. We think of Saturday Night Live as the launching point for Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and John Belushi, but they all worked with National Lampoon before SNL. The footage of these comedians back in the day is worth the price of this movie alone. I pretty much came to tears watching the old Belushi footage. That guy was a god among men and just so ridiculously funny.
- If you are the typical PC police of today, you’ll hate the movie. I thought it was hysterical. As a Boston man born and bred, the Ted Kennedy Volkswagen joke is beyond brilliant. For those that don’t know, the Kennedy that wasn’t killed actually killed a girl by driving into water. Lampoon of course crucified Kennedy with a floating VW car saying if Ted Kennedy drove a VW, he’d be president. Amazing.
- Plus the documentary has a ton of celebrity guests who grew up loving the magazine. Everyone from Judd Apatow to Richard Belzer to John Goodman and Billy Bob Thornton. On top of that, as a Simpsons nerd, I loved seeing Al Jean and Mike Reiss in it because they wrote for National Lampoon before heading to The Simpsons.
- A lot of my favorite films this year have been documentaries. You can add Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon to that list. It shows how politically correct we’ve become today along with insanely talented people. If you like old SNL, 80s comedies and big name funny people, find this documentary.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Judd Apatow
- Kevin Bacon
- John Belushi
- Chevy Chase
- Bill Murray
- John Goodman
- Al Jean
Recommended if You Like:
- National Lampoon
- Saturday Night Live
- Animal House/Vacation/Caddyshack