DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of the National Lampoon

2015

Action / Biography / Comedy / Documentary / History

12
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1564

Synopsis


Uploaded By: LINUS
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Director

Cast

Billy Bob Thornton as Himself / Actor / Director
Bill Murray as Himself / Actor
Kevin Bacon as Himself / Actor
Chevy Chase as Himself / Actor
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
692.93 MB
1280*714
English
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
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1.44 GB
1920*1072
English
23.976 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 3 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Twins65 8 / 10

This was a nice diversion

I just watched this documentary about the rise & fall of National Lampoon magazine, a periodical I wasn't really supposed to be looking at when I was 14 in 1973, yet I did anyway (when I could find one). Despite average to good reviews here on IMDb, I found it quite enjoyable.

I especially liked the parts where we caught video of a pre-fame Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and of course John Belushi. Those guys WERE FUNNY! And it also allowed me to travel back in time to the mid-70's, a time when there was and actual "underground" comedy scene. And it seemed to poke fun of everybody (whites/blacks, Dems/Repubs, Jews/Gentiles) and you could laugh and not worry about "politically incorrect repercussions". Sadly, that time is long gone.

Also, I saw a sh*t-load of 1970's era natural breasts, in both black and white and color! Say what you will about that long-lost magazine, they sure did know how to make funny visual jokes around naked women.

I'm recommending this for anyone who'd like to take a nice 40+ year rewind.

Reviewed by Angus T. Cat 5 / 10

Entertaining documentary but doesn't put the Lampoon in the context of its times

I've given National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead a 5 out of 10. It's entertaining to watch: I was happy to find it on the Sky Arts channel here in the UK. But while the film traces the history of the magazine and its creators, and richly describes how the success of the magazine led to its expansion into radio comedy, comedy albums, stage shows, and movies, its images and interviews fly past quickly without the film explaining what factors led to the creation of the magazine and how it was related to other magazines, newspapers, comics, and cultural products of its time.

As the documentary pointed out, the magazine grew from the Harvard Lampoon, a Harvard humour magazine that didn't reach a national audience. In the 1920s there were nationally published magazines that collected articles and cartoons from universities around the US: "College Humor" was probably the largest, and was published from 1920 to the 1940s. These college humor magazines were aimed at a young but mainstream audience.

It surprised me that Drunk Stone Brilliant Dead didn't mention Mad magazine. It was Mad. first published in 1952, that brought radical and subversive humour that poked fun at authority figures to a country wide audience. Without Mad, there probably wouldn't have been a National Lampoon. It also surprised me that the documentary made no mention of the Underground press and Underground comics of the 1960s. The art style of the first issues of the Lampoon looked very reminiscent of the style of Robert Crumb and other artists from Zap.

I didn't like National Lampoon very much in the 1970s. I read my older brother's issues. Even back then, I thought they were indulging in printing pictures of naked girls and making jokes about drugs and sex simply for the sake of it. They didn't have the force of the Underground comics, which were breaking ground in discussing subjects that before then couldn't be mentioned, and were using the archaic spirit of Mad to take apart the establishment and cultural heritage of the era. I remember the issue of National Lampoon that printed a spoof of Mad, taunting that Mad was stuffy, middle aged, and had long forgotten the meaning of satire. I thought that while Mad didn't print cartoons of naked women and guys smoking pot and snorting coke, it still featured strips that aptly commented on society: strips that have been reprinted and discussed in many studies about US history and the growth of graphic novels.

I thought while I was watching the documentary that National Lampoon branched out very quickly into other media and became a brand: while Saturday Night Live wasn't officially associated with National Lampoon the show clearly stole their talent and their style of satire. I think the magazine pulled its punches keeping an eye on their advertising revenue and growing empire. I'm not saying it wasn't funny- I thought the record albums and movies were funny- but I think the humour of the magazine was aimed at pleasing its creators and audience of liked minded readers, rather than exposing the darker aspects of its targets. The publisher of Mad, William M Gaines, didn't allow advertising in the magazine because he said a satire magazine couldn't make fun of an advertising campaign and then print an ad a few pages later for the same product or a similar product. He also saw it as a practical issue, saying that the magazine would then try to attract more advertisers, and if it started losing some of its advertisers and the advertising income, the readers would still expect the same fancy package, but without the advertising income to pay for the higher production costs, the magazine was sunk. Which it seems, along with loss of readership, was what ultimately happened to National Lampoon.

Reviewed by glenonfilm 8 / 10

Review: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of The National Lampoon Is A Raucously Entertaining Doc

Director Douglas Tirola boasts (somewhat cheekily) that Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead features more bare breasts than any other documentary in history. Judging by the raucous end result that details the hard- partying genesis and spectacular flameout of the National Lampoon humour magazine, he may well be right.

From an inauspicious start at Harvard to an ignominious end (that is mostly glossed over), National Lampoon magazine proved notable and memorable, with Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead reliving all the glory years of drugs, clubs, pubs, parties, and oh yeah, ground-breaking humour too. Focusing on the many disparate players that had a hand in the magazine (including numerous publishers, comedians, actors, hangers-on, and most importantly, the core writers that drove it all) Tirola wrangles a cacophony of voices and personalities into a digestible narrative that zips along with wit and verve.

It helps that his subjects are a motley crew of top-rate satirists, a group who at one time helped make National Lampoon the 2nd most popular magazine in the country and a world-changing counter- cultural force. Yet with the inevitable rise comes a crashing fall, exemplified by broken friendships, drug casualties, untimely deaths, and other assorted tragedies. It's an epic story and a must-watch for comedy nerds and casual fans alike.

Founders Doug Kenney and Henry Beard are the main subjects, although a litany of faces (many famous) chime in throughout on the impact and legacy of National Lampoon itself. Kenney and Beard are shown to be the initial visionaries who, along with the help of publisher Matty Simmons and a key group of art directors, launched the magazine. National Lampoon spun off a Harvard publication in 1970 and immediately showed an irreverent wit and willingness to go after any target with ruthless precision (the bigger the better). Politics, race, gender, the rich, the famous – they were all fair game and National Lampoon tore them to shreds with razor-sharp satire (like a more ribald precursor to Saturday Night Live, and later The Colbert Report and The John Oliver Show).

Behind the scenes it was a non-stop party, with the Lampoon's New York office being a hub of sex. drugs, and rock 'n' roll. The writers had free reign to imbibe and indulge in whatever they liked, so long as a magazine was produced each month. And with coke-fuelled marathon writing sessions and Kenney and Beard's dogged work ethic, they were able to keep up. It was highly dysfunctional but many of the talking head segments reveal former staff members looking back on their time in those madhouse offices fondly.

Tirola keeps the tone lively and fast-paced, using excerpts from National Lampoon's radio show and comedy albums as audio-only interstitials, and bringing many articles and illustrations to life through animation combined with vivid recollections from the folks who were on the front lines. Among them are Billy Bob Thornton, Tim Matheson, Kevin Bacon, and other actors who were related to the brand (a fresh-faced Bacon got his ass paddled in a memorable sequence from Animal House), as well as those that were profoundly influenced by the magazine and its spinoffs, like comedy hitmaker Judd Apatow.

There's great archival footage of early National Lampoon troupe members like Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Belushi and Harold Ramis performing, which sadly recalls that three of those four have passed away now (while the ever-elusive Murray appears only in old footage). Chevy Chase figures prominently into the narrative, as he was one of the first members of the comedy troupe and was a close friend to co-founder Doug Kenney. The making of Caddyshack (not an official Lampoon production but featuring many alumni) is recounted in detail, as is the uproar over and eventual exaltation of the classic Animal House, which helped make the careers of John Landis and Ivan Reitman (both of him appear on-camera as well).

For every interview that Tirola may have missed out on (an extremely young Christopher Guest is seen fleetingly in footage from the 70's), there's three great anecdotes that will have audiences either in stitches over some ridiculous tale, or watching raptly as the next drug trip goes bad or close friend is lost. There's a wealth of material to draw on, and to the movie's credit it remains fleet and sure-footed, nimbly picking which story to expand and which interviewee to probe.

Chase himself – once a titan of comedy but now often seen as an ungrateful blowhard – is humanized greatly and his relationship with the hard-living Kenney provides an emotional anchor for the craziness surrounding the Lampoon. The loss of life and shattered friendships are not glossed over but the film does make the needed decision to focus mostly on the main players of the Lampoon as there's only so much screen time.

The later years of the magazine become somewhat dire as much of its best writers and actors are poached by Hollywood and Lorne Michaels, but the film (and the magazine) soldier on in the face of adversity. The down slide is given less screen time and Matty Simmon's hand- waving away of the bad later years is both glib and appreciated in the context of the movie (when asked about Michaels, Simmons responds "Who?" with a smile). While the magazine ended in 1998, its brand and looming influence continues to live on.

The film is necessarily guided by who would speak with Tirola but in the end that turns out to be a surprisingly large number of notable individuals, recognizable entertainers, and even more names who may not be as familiar but whose contributions were great and deservedly remembered here. If a documentary's job is to be true to its subject while informing and entertaining, then Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead achieves that goal with ease. To paraphrase the Lampoon's most famous magazine cover, "Watch this movie or we'll shoot this dog."

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