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Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story Of The National Lampoon Blu-ray Review

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead- The Story Of The National Lampoon Blu-ray

“Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story Of The National Lampoon” is a surpisingly bland documentary.

As the title suggests, this documentary film is entirely about the National Lampoon brand which includes the magazine, radio show, albums, books, stage shows, and, of course, the movies. The film starts off by delving into National Lampoon’s origins as a magazine titled the Harvard Lampoon before it evolved into the National Lampoon magazine founded by Doug Kenny and Henry Beard. From there, the docu details the magazine’s rise to fame, the various staff members, the hit radio show (which contained the talents of Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Belushi and Harold Ramis), the now iconic films, the rampant drug use at the Lampoon office, and so forth. In typical documentary form, the film contains hundreds of stills, archival footage, and numerous interviews with editors, contributors, producers, directors, and celebs such as Billy Bob Thornton, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, Meatloaf, Chevy Chase, John Landis, Judd Apatow, Ivan Reitman, Tim Matheson, Mike Reiss, Al Jean, etc.

As a sucker for documentary films, I went into “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” expecting something special. Knowing that the National Lampoon brand was undeniably influential and groundbreaking in its spoofs, satires, and raunchy content, I figured there would be a lot of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories about its long run. As it turns out, there are not as many interesting stories as one might think (at least not in this movie).

While the film is a loving tribute to National Lampoon and the talent it spawned, it is a surprisingly tedious experience. Yes, there are some memorable moments (I for one didn’t know about John Hughes truly raunchy work on the magazine), but for the most part, the movie delves into Doug Kenny’s self destructive habits, the business aspects of the magazine, the quarrels among staff members, and its popularity. Maybe I was expecting too much or have been spoiled by other great documentaries as of late, but I didn’t feel like this movie went deep enough. Heck, it barely even touched on the movies and notable pieces in the magazine!

With all of that said, “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” does deserve credit as being a respectable ode to an edgy publication that was ahead of its time. It may not have much to offer about its past as much as one would like, but it is watchable and will certainly appeal to fans of the NL brand.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The newly shot interviews look crystal clear while the stills and archival footage obviously vary in quality.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD. How does it sound? Since this is largely a talking heads documentary (with some songs thrown in), the track doesn’t have a ton to do, but it’s still sufficient.

* Magnolia trailers.
* Additional interviews with Tony Hendra, Mike Reiss, Stan Lee, Henry Beard, Sean Kelly, PJ O’Rourke, Judd Apatow, Michael Simmons, Meatloaf and Peter Kleinman.
* Extra scenes involving Chevy Chase telling a story from the “Caddyshack” set and various interviewees talking about “Animal House,” drugs at the National Lampoon office, a Lampoon movie that was never made, living in NYC, SNL, memorable National Lampoon pieces, and National Lampoon artists.
* John Goodman reading a Doug Kenny story and Beverly D’Angelo, Kevin Bacon, Stephen Furst, Anthony Michael Hall and Chevy Chase reading John Hughes material.


April 8, 2016 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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