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film review

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon documentary takes a look at the history of the American comedy publication and production company, National Lampoon, from its beginning in the 1970s to 2010, featuring rare and never-before-seen footage.

"We had an attic full of culture that had been accumulating from 1945 to 1970, and we opened the trap door and nobody had been up there and we just basically looted it."

In this marvellous documentary on the frenzied, outrageous and short-lived humour magazine National Lampoon, co-founder Henry Beard spoke of the pent-up need for the sort of wild, ungoverned satire that Lampoon produced. It was the 1970s – the goings got weird, and the weirdos, such as Beard and the magazine's soul Doug Kenney, turned pro.

Douglas Tirola's doc does the era and National Lampoon justice. The tone is sharp and freewheeling, the craziness is infectious and the pace is cocaine-quick. Just as Lampoon took on the idiocy of a generation (as Chevy Chase suggests in the film), Tirola takes on the madness of an inimitable and required magazine.