Tag: Chevy Chase

DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of National Lampoon

by on Apr.30, 2017, under Movie Reviews

drunk stoned brilliant dead the story of national lampoonSatire can be a word that is hard to define. It’s like one of those “I know it when I see it” kind of things. However, if you’re looking for a clear example of it, you should see if you can find a copy of National Lampoon. The magazine, not the movie series, which ran from 1970 – 1998, is satire and parody at its finest.

DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of National Lampoon presents a thorough, entertaining documentary about the history of the magazine and the empire it spawned. The film covers the early days when the initial founders of the magazine worked for the Harvard Lampoon and how they evolved beyond  Harvard (thank God) and its limitations and after some early mistakes, found their footing and eventually created a genre defining magazine.

They pushed boundaries in terms of writing, art work and attitude and out of their bold work emerged some of the greatest comedic talent we’re still enjoying today. If not for National Lampoon, we wouldn’t have SNL, The Simpsons, Family Guy and Animal House alongside more movies than you can imagine and not to mention the talent…

One thing that really amazed me was how the talent was cherry picked from the staff and from the comedians that were contributing to the magazine and its various offshoot projects. At one point, National Lampoon had a radio show on over 600 radio stations that featured the talents of John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and his brother Brian Doyle-Murray, Ivan Reitman, John Hughes, and the list keeps going and going. And this is before SNL, so you can see where SNL got its starting lineup. Not to mention the Lampoon’s presence on Broadway and eventually movies.

Intertwined with the story of the magazine, is the story of one of its founders Doug Kenney. Kenney was seen as one of the masterminds behind the Lampoon’s universe and had a profound impact on many of the big comedians of our time now including Judd Apatow. People featured in the doc besides numerous contributors over the years includes Chevy Chase, Kevin Bacon, Beverly D’Angelo, Christopher Guest, and many more. There’s a lot of great, historic footage throughout this doc you won’t see anywhere else.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Vacation (2015)

by on Jul.10, 2016, under Movie Reviews

vacationThere are remakes and sequels and sometimes films that are both, this is a film that falls in the last category…

Rusty Griswold is back but this time he’s all grown up with a family of his own. Just as obsessed as his father in the original film, Rusty decides to take his wife and kids on the same trip to Wallyworld that he had to endure as a child. Hijinks ensue as said family treks across the country to fulfill their dad’s dream of vacation glory that was lost the first time ‘round with Clark at the steering wheel…

If you’re looking for something original here, you’ll want to look elsewhere; judging the premise and the poster, you’ve probably already figured that out. That’s ok though, this kind of film isn’t meant to surprise, it’s there to entertain. Unfortunately the film’s entertainment value isn’t great. This version plays out just like the original where Rusty and family drive across the country towards the promised land of Wallyworld with many obstacles thrown in their path along the way. The gags are hit and miss with some LOL moments but mostly not. The film feels and comes off much as a retread of the original rather than blazing any trail of its own.

The movie has some talented actors involved, most notably Christina Applegate and Ed Helms. Applegate is great, she’s funny, quick and enjoyable on screen. Helms comes off annoying unfortunately and kind of a dick so there isn’t much sympathy there where Chevy Chase in the original role managed to balance a smarminess with a sense of being pathetic that made him much more endearing. The real standout though is Chris Hemsworth who comes off hilariously in his bit role which you have to see for yourself as I can’t do it justice here. The lineup is rounded out by Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Regina Hall, Ron Livingston, Keegan-Michael Key and Norman Reedus. It’s a jam-packed roster to be sure, but it doesn’t help the film enough to pull it out of the mediocre mire it lands in.

I wouldn’t go out of your way to see this one, but you might want to check it out if there’s nothing else on. Ultimately, I would suggest to just watch the original and Christmas Vacation; those two should satisfy all the vacation you’ll really need…

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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