I’m presuming that sooner or later it will sink in amongst ubers and early adopters that Doug Tirola‘s Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead — The Story of the National Lampoon (Magnolia, 9.25) is one of the punchiest, funniest docs of the year and an absolute must-see if you have any interest in the traditions of anarchic comedy over the last half-century. I realize there are probably tens of millions who don’t give a damn about where SNL-styled comedy came from or who couldn’t care less about sampling the sensibilities of the original architects. GenXers and boomers will eventually wake up to it, I’m guessing, but if you’re a tiny bit younger Drunk Stoned is an important thing to absorb and take stock of.
All I know is that attending the world premiere of this film at last January’s Sundance Film Festival was like being on a viewing grandstand at Cape Canaveral in the early ’60s when one of those Atlas boosters lifted off and sent a Gemini team into space. The vibrational hum, the crackling excitement. And now Tirola’s film has been screening at elite festivals for the last seven months. I wish I’d been able to attend the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival last April. But now that the opening is just a few weeks off, it feels like the sand is leaking out on the floor. For guys like me, I mean.
Maybe it’s just my downish mood this afternoon but while the film will always be necessary and eternal, it seems as if the communal celebration aspect of Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead is winding down and the best part is over.
You just can’t sample the rocket-fuel experience of watching Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead at the Park City MARC theatre in a large theatre filled with effete texting hipsters, and then find yourself several months later inside the shitty little Wilshire Screening Room where the energy is always low and slumbering and management always has the sound turned down for the usual nickle-and-dime reasons. You can try to reconnect with that Sundance vibe but you can’t because it’s vanished. Tirola’s film will always deliver like a champ but boy, do I miss the good old days of early ’15.