- Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated
- There is a new Encyclopedia volume for Ann Dusenberry
- There are 372 new pictures in sections C, M, N, O, P, R, and S of the
Encyclopedia (updated volumes in yellow)
National Lampoon Goes to the Movies (1983)
(aka National Lampoon's Movie Madness)
know I'm not the only one who shed a tear watching poor, old, overweight Willie
Mays stumble after fly balls when he tried to extend his career with the Mets.
Sad, indeed. Perhaps the only thing sadder than seeing the fall of a great and
admired institution is watching people try to be funny without knowing how.
This movie managed to break my heart by combining BOTH of those
conditions. It was the Lampoon's next movie after Animal House, as publisher
Matty Simmons says in the trailer. When I was just out of college, the National
Lampoon zeroed in exactly on my sense of humor. I had 24 of the first 25
issues. Still have 'em, bound in two yellow National Lampoon binders. I also
have a bunch of their specials, like the legendary "1964 High School Yearbook
Parody", and "The National Lampoon Encyclopedia of Humor", which is one of the
funniest and most brilliant books ever published - erudite, profane, witty, and
daring. The Lampoon's Animal House movie is a treasured generational memory for
people my age, and a beautiful evocation of college life in the period before
the cultural revolution of 1967. I was in college for one year before the world
changed. I actually pledged the Animal House, and attended some parties almost
exactly like the ones in the movie. Flounder's freshman year was a lot like
mine, and I knew several upperclassmen who could be compared almost one-to-one
to characters in the film.
The Animal House world was over
quickly for me. For better or worse, the world changed in the summer of 1967,
and the world of pig parties and gross-out competitions was replaced disappeared
from college life, replaced by some serious marijuana consumption and an
ever-so-serious political consciousness that dominated my last three undergrad
years. During my college years, the Animal House years ended and college
students made the transition from "carefree" to "scared and angry." The
combination of a war and a system of forced conscription will do that!
At any rate, the guys at the National Lampoon, especially Doug Kenney, Henry
Beard, and Michael O'Donoghue, were the comedy writers I admired most in the
early 70s. But the Lampoon could not sustain the quality of its glory years.
Henry Beard and Doug Kenney had a 5-year buyout clause in their contract with
21st Century Communications. They exercised the option in 1974, and that sounded
the death knoll for the Lampoon. Beard left as soon as the contract was settled.
Kenney stayed on until 1977, when he co-wrote the screenplay for Animal
House, but would be dead within three years, although still in his early
30s. O'Donoghue went off to write for Saturday Night Live, and also died
After those three guys were gone, the National Lampoon kept
putting its name on products, but they rarely if ever approached the quality of
the material produced in the 1970-77 era. Some of their later efforts were
respectable (the Chevy Chase Vacation movies), but others failed miserably, like
Willie Mays in the Mets' outfield. This movie is one such example. To their
credit, they knew it was a turkey, dumped it out of the original release,
shelved it, and released it quietly some years later on video.
is supposed to be three genre spoofs:
In episode one, a hard-charging young lawyer dumps his life and
misplaces some of his children in his efforts to attain "personal growth."
In part two, a women who is raped by butter at a convention of
dairy producers resolves to destroy the butter industry by using her wiles and
sexual cunning to become the queen of the margarine world, then marrying the
richest man in the world, then marrying the President of the USA. If I remember
right, she pulled all that off in about three days. It was, more or less, a
parody of those Dynasty/Dallas sorts of plots.
The last episode is a parody of those "mismatched buddy" cop
flicks, in which an idealistic young do-gooder is paired with a jaded and
alcoholic veteran. Despite Robby Benson, Christopher Lloyd, and Richard Widmark,
this segment is no better than the others, and doesn't even have the gratuitous
nudity which spiced up the other two segments.
Do you recall how you felt the last time you watched an SNL skit
that just wasn't working, but it dragged on and on and on? Well, imagine three
of those dragging on for thirty minutes each, and you'll be able to imagine what
this film is like. I don't think I laughed or even smiled once in the entire
The nudity, however, is not so bad at all: