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A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

TV-MA | | Biography, Comedy | 26 January 2018 (USA)
In the 1970s and '80s, National Lampoon's success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Douglas Kenney.

Director:

David Wain
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2,838 ( 283)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Gingerich Frank Gingerich ... Doug - Age 12
Morgan Gingerich Morgan Gingerich ... Doug - Age 12
Annette O'Toole ... Stephanie Kenney
Harry Groener ... Harry Kenney
Martin Mull ... Modern Doug
David Wain ... Interviewer
Domhnall Gleeson ... Henry Beard
Will Forte ... Douglas Kenney
Ben F. Campbell ... Harvard Jester (as Ben Campbell)
Jon Klaft ... Preppy Student
Camille Guaty ... Alex Garcia-Mata
Brad Morris ... Peter Ivers
Carla Gallo ... Lucy Fisher
Beau Bassewitz ... Umpire
Rick Overton ... First Publisher
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Storyline

An old version of humorist Douglas Kenney tells the story of how he and Henry Beard parleyed their success in their campus magazine, Harvard Lampoon, into the commercial magazine, National Lampoon. Drawing upon their checkered lives and an aggressively puckish sense of humor, the pair created a publication that would redefine American comedy with outrageous drollery that grabbed the zeitgeist of the decade that expanded across various media. Unfortunately, for all his success, Doug Kenney with his overhanging insecurities, ego and irresponsible appetites began to consume him until he alienates everyone who ever cared and supported him even as they imitated him. In the end, this iconoclastic funnyman would come to a tragedy that comes when your comedy doesn't have enough distance. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Being the King of Comedy is No Joke. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Wain the Director is also listed as "interviewer" on the cast list. When shooting the second movie Douglas sneaks himself into the set as an actor because "they wouldn't pay an author to be on set". See more »

Goofs

The waterfall's water visibly jumps in the short time it is on screen although it is a supposed continuous shot. See more »

Quotes

Tom Snyder: Mr. Kenney, it's a fine line between being clever and offensive, isn't it?
Douglas Kenney: Look, if I could just say something in defense of National Lampoon for one moment...
Tom Snyder: Please.
Douglas Kenney: We come from a tradition of truth-tellers. A long time ago, there was someone else society found offensive. They thought that what he did was radical - dangerous. They persecuted him... and eventually killed him. Of course, I'm referring to Dracula.
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Crazy Credits

After the end credits have rolled, Martin Mull is shown singing the song "Time of My Life" with members of the cast. See more »

Connections

References Caddyshack (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Animal House
Written and Performed by Stephen Bishop
Courtesy of Universal Studios
See more »

User Reviews

 
A creative but cliched biopic on a unique man
25 June 2018 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

It's weird watching this immediately after Drunk Stoned Stupid Dead (Im also reading the Making of Caddyshack, which is basically about the making of National Lampoon) and....

Joel McHale as Chevy is inspired casting. A lot of the casting is - Will Forte and Domnhall Gleeson at the top and their scenes in the first half of the film making up the real heart of the thing (like Social Network but totally wiseass, which is fun).

But that framing device is just pure WTF, and it ends on a note that maybe Kenney would have appreciated if he were alive, but he's not and we are and it feels so... I dunno. It's also strange to be living in 2018 and (as David Erhlich pointed out, im sure he wasnt alone) have a straight-faced take on the "wrong kid died" cliche that was mocked ten years ago in Walk Hard. Sure it did happen here, but Wain's treatment doesnt skirt the cliche, it just is one.

There are enough fun bits here to make it watchable (grading sort of on a Netflix curve), and the actors are all trying their best. And... It's fine. Which is not the kind of praise Kenney would've wanted.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 January 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Futile and Stupid Gesture See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.90 : 1
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