A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE REVIEWED
“A Futile and Stupid Gesture” is just a clever biopic. Somewhere between the self-aware Martin Mull framing device and the present-day acknowledgment of troubling issues, the film trucks on. Honestly, the cast is so strong because David Wain pulls on friends and well-wishers that he has assembled from “Wet Hot American Summer” to the present day. Yet, it takes a guy who worked on something like The State to start getting an idea of what makes Lampoon talent gel. But, the other half of the film’s magic belongs to Will Forte.
I’m a giant Lampoon fan, but I came in a generation too late. It did make picking up old issues on the cheap into a fun teenage hobby. But, what it also did was give me that removed appreciation for comedic writing icons. Trying to get my wife to appreciate how well Thomas Lennon nailed the nuances of Michael O’ Donoghue fell on deaf ears. She grew up riding horses and doing outdoorsy stuff. I was the little shut-in that could who would watch the first five years of SNL until my tapes broke. Then, I watched Mondo Video on a loop until the DVD dropped. I still have my original VHS copy with correct Sid Vicious music.
Nostalgia and a love of the subjects will carry you a long way into the film. Hell, the ability to identify with the lead character will take you even further. Also, mad respect to Domhnall Gleeson. That guy killed it in the rather thankless role of Henry Beard. The same goes for Joel McHale stepping in as Chevy Chase and Natasha Lyonne nailing it as Anne Beatts. This is such a trap movie for me, as it scratches so many itches. I wanted to see Lemmings start, the Radio Show take off and the problems with SNL stealing their writers.
Hell, they threw in the famous quotes like it was nerd fan service. Well, it serviced this fan and he hates that he became such an obsessive dork for 2 hours. But, I also appreciate getting to look at the fun that came with defining humor for the underground. Even though, Lorne Michaels would later ruin it forever. If you enjoy this one, use it to test our your friends and family. Those that dig it, keep them close. The others are to be shunned immediately. That’s what Jesus would’ve wanted.
- 1 hr and 41 minutes
RELEASE DATE: 1/26/18
The Plot Thus Far
In the 1970s and ’80s, National Lampoon’s success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Doug Kenney.