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Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead might not be the definitive doc National Lampoon fans are waiting for, but it's still almost as transgressively funny as the magazine in its heyday.
All Critics (62)
| Top Critics (18)
| Fresh (54)
| Rotten (8)
What makes Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead feel particularly vibrant is how the Lampoon's specific art direction is put to use.
The movie is an orgy of boomer self-congratulation -- yet it lacks even that movie's ironic notation of how a bastion of white-male privilege managed to pass itself off as radical.
Tirola's documentary is brisk and entertaining, if not especially thoughtful. But then neither was the magazine, whose militant bad taste spawned "Saturday Night Live" and so much more.
We can only imagine with glee what these comic geniuses could have done with some of today's political and cultural figures.
A frenetic, rough-edged, unapologetic tribute to the Lampoon, featuring some amazing archival footage, nifty bits of animation and dozens of straightforward talking-head interviews that crackle and pop.
The tone is sharp and freewheeling, the craziness is infectious and the pace is cocaine-quick.
This is a celebration, not an examination, and those looking for a critique of the ribald publication, radio show, off-Broadway play, and film franchise [should go] elsewhere.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant did convince me that the Lampoon has a colorful, even important, journalistic history, and that some extraordinary talents were involved, however often they were drugged out.
Director Douglas Tirola makes the anarchic but nonetheless productive rise of what would become a multimedia franchise great fun.
With this sensitive yet playful voice, Tirola shows how decades of richly comedic material found its cultural maturity.
A fluke phenomenon like this couldn't happen now, but we should be grateful it ever happened at all.
The film understandably assumes that everyone who had anything to do with National Lampoon was a comic genius, but that's simply not the case.
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