STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON
(Douglas Tirola, U. S.). Rating: NNNN Launched by Harvard Lampoon alums Doug Kenney and Henry Beard and publisher Matty Simmons, the original National Lampoon magazine repackaged the sexism, classism, racism and general hypocrisy of American culture so sharply, it was accused of being sexist, classist, racist and hypocritical by its own targets. ( The National Lampoon Radio Hour, with its coarse racial stereotypes, probably didn’t help.)
But it launched talents like John Belushi, Christopher Guest, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Anne Beatts, Harold Ramis, John Hughes, Michael O’Donoghue and P. J. O’Rourke and powered the breakout comedy of Animal House – though success came at a price.
Douglas Tirola lets the survivors tell their own story, relying on interviews with Beard, O’Rourke, Simmons, Chase, Beatts, writer/editor Tony Hendra, Animal House director John Landis and stars Tim Matheson and Kevin Bacon. The anecdotes are funny, the work we see is brilliant. Tirola doesn’t shy away from the dark stuff, but of course neither did the Lampoon. NW Apr 28, 9: 45 pm, Bloor Hot Docs; Apr 29, 3:15 pm, Hart House; May 2, 9: 45 pm, Bloor Hot Docs