Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

Rated 3.0

This is a solidly entertaining documentary about the ups and downs of the National Lampoon magazine and production company. Back in the day, National Lampoon was a humor magazine that was a triple-R alternative to the much tamer Mad Magazine (National Lampoon had cartoon and real boobs). The doc chronicles the early days of the Lampoon's inception on through its hit movies (Animal House and Vacation) and the eventual demise of the magazine in 1998. Many stars, including Chevy Chase, Judd Apatow and Kevin Bacon, discuss their direct participation in Lampoon projects, or the way the magazine and films influenced them. Other stars sitting down for interviews include John Landis (director of Animal House), Beverly D'Angelo (star of Vacation) and Tim Matheson (star of Animal House). Before they went to Saturday Night Live, Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner all took part in Lampoon radio and stage productions. Belushi and Radner feature in archive footage, including the stage production Lemmings, where Belushi highlighted his soon-to-be-infamous Joe Cocker impersonation. No doubt, the magazine was a major influence in American comedy. It's a shame to see the label being used on crappy movies these days. Somebody should step in with a reputable project and return some respect to a great American institution. (Available for rent on iTunes, On Demand and Amazon.com during a limited theatrical release.)