Featuring rare and never before seen footage, this is the mind boggling story of The National Lampoon from its subversive and electrifying beginnings, to rebirth as an unlikely Hollywood heavyweight, and beyond. A humour empire like no other, the impact of the magazines irreverent, often shocking, sensibility was nothing short of seismic: this is an institution whose (drunk stoned brilliant) alumni left their fingerprints all over popular culture. Both insanely great and breathtakingly innovative, The National Lampoon created the foundation of modern comic sensibility by setting the bar in comedy impossibly high.
Henry Beard, Himself:
Its a time of dial telephones. There's no internet. There's no computers. There wasn't that much shared. But, what was shared was shared by everybody. They absolutely had everything in common and its, in a way, that will never happen again.
See more »
The edgy, twisted, often outrageously funny Lampoon died years ago, although I recall it continued as the walking dead for a few years. This documentary follows the magazine from its pre-creation with the Harvard Lampoon through its early success and then just the tip of its long, slow, painful decline. It is a talking heads documentary, but the talking heads are witty and illustrated with pages from the magazine that work as a Greek chorus and are often cleverly animated.
I probably started reading the Lampoon in the mid-70s - my favorite writers were Ellis Weiner and P.J. O'Rourke - but the documentary is most concerned with what it considers the magazine's glory days in the early 70s. Truthfully, the little bits of Lampoon stuff I've read by the early writers like Beard and O'Donoghue haven't really appealed to me, but the movie tells me they were amazing geniuses and perhaps they were.
The story the movie tells is a fairly superficial one. It gets into some of the drama and gives some nice background, but it sticks very closely to the geniuses-working-hard-and-having-fun. The decline is portrayed as the loss of geniuses to SNL and the movies, which seems simplistic, and there's not really much attempt to put the Lampoon into a larger societal context.
Which is fine, because it's an entertaining documentary, but for me it means people giving this 10 stars just have lower standards for a great documentary than I do. This is just a nice little history that fans of the magazine will enjoy. And it's probably pretty fun even if you don't know the magazine.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this