A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

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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.—Kenneth Chisholm ([email protected])



Will Ferrell

Lars Erickssong

Rachel McAdams

Sigrit Ericksdóttir

Dan Stevens

Alexander Lemtov

Mikael Persbrandt

Victor Karlosson


Martha Smith, who played Babs in National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), has a brief cameo as a bus tour guide at Universal Studios. This is a reference to the ending of Animal House, where Babs was said to have become a tour guide at Universal Studios. It’s also referenced after the credits of several movies at the time in an advertisement for the studio tour (“Ask for Babs”).





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