When I was 9 years old, I was introduced to the world of National Lampoon. As I sat in front of the TV, watching a VHS copy of National Lampoon’s Vacation, and hearing Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham for the first time, I knew my outlook on comedy would never be the same.
In the following years, I’d watch and fall in love with the additional Vacation films, Animal House, and Caddyshack. Ever since then, I’ve held a great appreciation for the satirical stylings of National Lampoon that began with Doug Kenney and Henry Beard many moons ago.
Finally, writers Michael Colton and John Aboud, with the help of Netflix, created A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which tells the amazing tale of how two Harvard grads with an affinity for obscure comedy built an empire that still holds up to this day. (It should be noted that I’ve respected Colton and Aboud ever since the summer before 6th grade where I watched I Love the ’80s 3D, 1983 just about every single day.)
Anyway, the film begins with Kenney (played by Will Forte) and Beard (played by Domhnall Gleeson) meeting at a Harvard student mixer. It then leads to the debauchery of the Harvard Lampoon as the two figure out what their plan is post-graduation. They then decide to take the Harvard Lampoon into adulthood by creating National Lampoon’s Magazine.
They band together a collection of irreverent brains that makes National Lampoon a national success. Like any other success story, Gesture shows the ups and downs of Doug Kenney’s life while showing comedic greats like Chevy Chase and Bill Murray in the early days of their careers.
While the title uses “futile” and “stupid”, the execution is anything but as it comedically and concisely portrays the story of one of the most famous pop culture empires of all time.