6.8/10
11,344
47 user 40 critic

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

TV-MA | | Biography, Comedy | 26 January 2018 (USA)
In the 1970s and '80s, National Lampoon's success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Douglas Kenney.

Director:

David Wain
Reviews
Popularity
2,994 ( 360)
2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A look at the history of the American comedy publication and production company, National Lampoon, from its beginning in the 1970s to 2010, featuring rare and never-before-seen footage.

Director: Douglas Tirola
Stars: Danny Abelson, Judd Apatow, Kevin Bacon
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan develops a plan to get rich that shocks his fans and lands him in jail.

Director: Maya Forbes
Stars: Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

At a 1962 college, Dean Vernon Wormer is determined to expel the entire Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, but those troublemakers have other plans for him.

Director: John Landis
Stars: John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce
Paddleton (2019)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Director: Alex Lehmann
Stars: Christine Woods, Mark Duplass, Ray Romano
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Zach Galifianakis and his oddball crew take a road trip to complete a series of high-profile celebrity interviews.

Director: Scott Aukerman
Stars: Zach Galifianakis, Matthew McConaughey, Rekha Shankar
The Dirt (2019)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Based on the bestselling autobiography from Mötley Crüe, the film is an unflinching tale of success and excess as four misfits rise from the streets of Hollywood to the heights of international fame.

Director: Jeff Tremaine
Stars: Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon, Machine Gun Kelly
Caddyshack (1980)
Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.

Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

In a city where greeting card writers are celebrated like movie stars, Romance writer Ray used to be the king. In trying to recapture the feelings that once made him the greatest, he gets ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Paul Stephenson
Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Amber Tamblyn, Stacy Keach
The Clapper I (2017)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

15 minutes of fame destroys the life of a man who works as a clapper in television.

Director: Dito Montiel
Stars: Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Tracy Morgan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.

Director: David Wain
Stars: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter
Kodachrome (2017)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.

Director: Mark Raso
Stars: Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Six tales of life and violence in the Old West, following a singing gunslinger, a bank robber, a traveling impresario, an elderly prospector, a wagon train, and a perverse pair of bounty hunters.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Gingerich Frank Gingerich ... Doug - Age 12
Morgan Gingerich Morgan Gingerich ... Doug - Age 12
Annette O'Toole ... Stephanie Kenney
Harry Groener ... Harry Kenney
Martin Mull ... Modern Doug
David Wain ... Interviewer
Domhnall Gleeson ... Henry Beard
Will Forte ... Douglas Kenney
Ben F. Campbell ... Harvard Jester (as Ben Campbell)
Jon Klaft ... Preppy Student
Camille Guaty ... Alex Garcia-Mata
Brad Morris ... Peter Ivers
Carla Gallo ... Lucy Fisher
Beau Bassewitz ... Umpire
Rick Overton ... First Publisher
Edit

Storyline

An old version of humorist Douglas Kenney tells the story of how he and Henry Beard parleyed their success in their campus magazine, Harvard Lampoon, into the commercial magazine, National Lampoon. Drawing upon their checkered lives and an aggressively puckish sense of humor, the pair created a publication that would redefine American comedy with outrageous drollery that grabbed the zeitgeist of the decade that expanded across various media. Unfortunately, for all his success, Doug Kenney with his overhanging insecurities, ego and irresponsible appetites began to consume him until he alienates everyone who ever cared and supported him even as they imitated him. In the end, this iconoclastic funnyman would come to a tragedy that comes when your comedy doesn't have enough distance. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If You Don't Watch This Movie, We'll Kill Will Forte. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 January 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Futile and Stupid Gesture See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.90 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Multiple scenes from National Lampoons Animal House and Caddyshack were filmed for the production. See more »

Goofs

When Doug is driving a Jeep in Hawaii the Jeep has square headlights. These didn't appear on Jeeps until 1986. The scene is set in 1980. See more »

Quotes

Tom Snyder: Mr. Kenney, it's a fine line between being clever and offensive, isn't it?
Douglas Kenney: Look, if I could just say something in defense of National Lampoon for one moment...
Tom Snyder: Please.
Douglas Kenney: We come from a tradition of truth-tellers. A long time ago, there was someone else society found offensive. They thought that what he did was radical - dangerous. They persecuted him... and eventually killed him. Of course, I'm referring to Dracula.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the end credits have rolled, Martin Mull is shown singing the song "Time of My Life" with members of the cast. See more »

Connections

References Twisted Sister: We're Not Gonna Take It (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Louie Louie
Written by Richard Berry
Performed by The Kingsmen
Courtesy of Kingsmen International Licensing, Inc.
By arrangement with Wixen Music Publishing, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Very Good Mocumentary
11 March 2018 | by Eric266See all my reviews

POILER: I really enjoyed this film. I have watched several of the documentaries concerning Animal House and Caddyshack and Doug Kenney's name comes up quite often amongst the cast and crew. Chevy Chase and he were really close and Chevy still feels some guilt over leaving Hawaii right before Kenney's death. The man was apparently a comic genius who couldn't escape his childhood baggage.

The format is well played with Will Forte as the young Doug and Martin Mull as kind of older, alternate universe Doug, if Kenney had lived, narrating the film. The rest of the cast is well known, playing unknown actors and writers. It took me a second to recognize Natasha Lyonne (American Pie) as Anne Beatts, Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) as Micheal O'Donoghue, and Joel McHale (Community) as Chevy Chase. All of them are covered in 70s hairstyles and McHale does a really good job of mimicking Chase's speech patterns and even his trademark pratfalls.

The film excels in showing how Kenney rose from a malcontent to a Harvard grad to a fledgling magazine editor to movie writer. Forte is especially compelling and funny as Kenney. He doesn't quite have the acting range to pull off the downward spiral of the person, but he does an excellent job with the jokes and the other aspects of Kenney's life. Where the film fails is trying to shoehorn too many characters into its 100 minute run time. There is even a humorous scene of older Kenney (Mull) explaining to a bunch of supporting characters that there wasn't enough screen time for all of them so they get ignored. But the film goes to great pains to cram in other famous people such as Gilda Radner, Christopher Guess (Seth Green), Bill Murray, and John Belushi. The actors playing Murray and Belushi came off as actors lampooning (no pun intended) the famous comedians. Belushi was such a huge personality, I doubt anyone could portray him properly in such a short cameo.

Another special mention goes out to Emmy Rossum. She is a stunning screen presence and even though her appearance is short, as Kenney's last girlfriend, she lights up the screen. She is a gorgeous actress as well.

There is also a fun nod to Animal House with Mark Metcalf (Neidermeyer) portraying a publisher.

The movie moves fast through the various periods of Kenney's life, but I think he would have enjoyed it. He comes off as funny, yet troubled, a brilliant comedian, but an emotionally stinted adult. A Futile and Stupid Gesture is anything but. The only thing I would have added, is maybe some post interviews with the actual people portrayed in the movie who knew Kenney, even if they were archival for some (Belushi and Ramis). Still, this was a well-done film.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 47 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed