National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead  (2015)

Without National Lampoon, you don't have Saturday Night Live. Without National Lampoon, you don't have The Simpsons. Without National Lampoon, you don't have Conan O'Brien. Without National Lampoon, you don't have Animal House, Caddyshack, Vacation,Ghostbusters, Old School, Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin. The group of writers that started The National Lampoon have inspired generations of comedy, and continue to do so.

Harvard University was the birthplace of "The Harvard Lampoon", a satirical magazine. In 1970, the magazine developed a national audience with a rebranding, changing the name to "National Lampoon". No topic was safe from mockery, from politics and religion, life and death, sex and drugs and rock n roll. The group of writers and artists were the perfect blend of insanity and intellect. The satire ranged from broad to subtle, the jokes covered the spectrum from highbrow to bawdy.

This documentary was an awesome look at the origins and growth of National Lampoon, as told by most of the people that were actually there. Most of the people that started it never went beyond behind-the-scenes success, but as the magazine grew, the influence expanded to music and television. With that, people like Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Christopher Guest, Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman all joined the extended family.

I'm always fascinated to hear about the culture of that time, from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. I've seen plenty about how that generation was rebelling so hard against the conservatism of their parents, it just seemed like everything was raw and hedonistic. Musicians, artists, comics, they were all embracing new values. Even the bosses of record labels or magazine distributors were taking part in the sex and drugs and freedom. It was almost a mentality of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what stuck. "Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead" is a great look back at a time that, as cliche as it sounds, changed everything.

 

 

On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead" gets a 7 out of 10.