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Wick's Review

Created Apr 01, 2017 12:38AM PST • Edited Jun 27, 2019 09:11AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    National Lampoon – the maidenhead of post-modern comedy – was the ultimate risqué magazine for “well-to-do nobodies” in the Seventies. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon lists in its title four conditions associated with the Lampoon, another being being ROFL. This great doc covers the long strange trip that began at Harvard, led to Animal House and ended with the rise of SNL.

    “The humor was a bit above my pay grade,” reports Kevin Bacon in 2015 about those halcyon days of the ‘Me’ Decade. Bacon went from craving the bare breasts that occasionally appeared in Photo Funnies, to playing Chip Diller, the snarky dude from Omega House who got bowled over at the end of Animal House.

    The humor was a bit above me also. That’s the brilliant part. Doug Kenney & Henry Beard, Lampoon’s founders, were brilliant Harvard men. Kenney went from writing Mrs. Agnew’s Diary to writing Animal House, where he played the small but vital part of Stork. Beard cowrote Bored of the Rings, to name one.

    Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead brings all this to life, a fascinating and often funny trip down memory lane for we Lampoon fans of a certain age. Big names like Chevy Chase and Kevin Bacon give it star power. But it is legendary Lampoon writers like Tony Hendra and Chris Miller who are the most special treats.

    For a boyhood fan of National Lampoon, DSBD revealed a treasure trove of memory and insight. Fans of Animal House, Caddyshack and SNL, its comedic offspring, are almost sure to be equally appreciative.

  3. Great 4.0

    Henry Beard, Doug Kenney, Michael O’Donoghue & Tony Hendra are the Mount Rushmore of upper-crust American comedy, with P. J. O’Rourke, Chris Miller & Bruce McCall nearby. Each gets ample run in Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, with Anne Beatts, Sean Kelly, Chris Cerf & Rick Meyerowitz also in view.

    Matty Simmons was the publisher who indulged them while he turned National Lampoon into a huge commercial success. “Our readership drank more than the average adult” said one of his ad salesmen, leading to ample booze ads.

    Animal House, Vacation & Caddyshack

    John Landis, Kevin Bacon, Tim Matheson, Chevy Chase, John Belushi


    Judd Apatow, John Goodman, Billy Bob Thornton, Meat Loaf, Christopher Buckley, Michael Gross, Judith Belushi Pisano, Ivan Reitman, Beverly D’Angelo, Gilda Radner

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Chevy Chase & Kevin Bacon look back from 2015, while John Belushi and Doug Kenney speak from archival footage predating their premature deaths.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.9

    National Lampoon reveled in the risqué, as does this documentary.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.0
  16. Violence Gentle 1.0
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.7
  18. Natural 1.0

    The self-indulgent college kids who created National Lampoon, bought it and laughed at it, are the original snowflakes. Speaking of snowflakes, imagine if Doug Kenney were alive now to lampoon President Trump. The author of Mrs. Agnew’s Diary would have a field day.

  19. Circumstantial Natural 1.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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