National Lampoon's Movie Madness

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National Lampoon's Movie Madness
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBob Giraldi
Henry Jaglom
Written byTod Carroll
Gerald Sussman
Shary Flenniken
Pat Mephitis
Ellis Weiner
Produced byMatty Simmons
StarringRobby Benson
Richard Widmark
Diane Lane
Candy Clark
Christopher Lloyd
Peter Riegert
Ann Dusenberry
CinematographyCharles Correll
Tak Fujimoto
Edited byJames Coblentz
Music byAndy Stein
Distributed byMGM/United Artists Distribution and Marketing
Release date
  • April 23, 1982 (1982-04-23)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$5,027,193

National Lampoon's Movie Madness is a 1982 American comedy film produced by National Lampoon as the second film from the magazine. The film was originally produced under the title National Lampoon Goes to the Movies; completed in 1981, the film was not released until 1982, and was reedited and retitled as Movie Madness.

Movie Madness consists of three short segments which satirize personal growth films, glossy soap operas, and police stories. The first two segments of the film, Growing Yourself and Success Wanters, were directed by Bob Giraldi, while the film's final segment, Municipalians, was directed by Henry Jaglom, and featuring Julie Kavner's first film appearance. Its title song, "Going to the Movies", was sung by Dr. John. The film was a critical and commercial failure.


Growing Yourself[edit]

Growing Yourself has a confused family man (Peter Riegert) who throws his wife (Candy Clark) out of the house in order for him to "grow" a new path in life and raise his four children on his own.

Success Wanters[edit]

In Success Wanters, Dominique Corsaire (Ann Dusenberry) is a young college graduate determined to succeed in life, who in a few days time lands a job as a stripper, then becomes the mistress to the owner of a margarine company which she inherits when he dies, and is then romanced by a Greek shipping tycoon, and ultimately the US president (Fred Willard).


Municipalians includes a naive rookie Los Angeles policeman (Robby Benson) paired with a cynical veteran (Richard Widmark) of the force to catch an inept serial killer (Christopher Lloyd).


National Lampoon Goes to the Movies was the second film produced by the magazine National Lampoon, after Animal House. National Lampoon Goes to the Movies was conceived as a parody of ten film and television genres.[1] In A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Josh Karp described the project as "a cocaine-fueled fiasco; nobody had a sense of structure or any idea how to write a screenplay."[1] Eventually, the screenplay was trimmed down to four segments: a "divorce movie", a "making-it-big movie", a "cop movie" and a "terrorist movie".[2] Writer Shary Flenniken said of the project, "We cut stuff and boiled it down. It lost its purpose and just became a bunch of crazy crap."[1]

During the filming of "Success Wanters", Bob Giraldi required an "opulent, yet tasty enough bedroom"; Muhammad Ali provided his own for the shoot, and Giraldi also filmed another scene in Ali's dining room. Ali received the standard location fee for the use of his rooms and props.[3]


Flenniken states that a test screening of the film in Rhode Island was met with extremely negative response, and that audience members tore up the seats in the theater to express their dislike of the film.[1] The film was completed in 1981, but not released until two years later.

A fourth segment intended for the film was entirely removed.[4] A disaster movie parody directed by Jaglom, the segment was entitled The Bomb, and starred Kenneth Mars, Allen Garfield, and Marcia Strassman. Steven Bach, United Artists' vice president of production at the time, later wrote that the film's "high commercial promise was dashed when its two directors delivered three good, funny segments and a fourth that rendered the other three pointless because it was of an awfulness that made the whole picture--too short with merely three sections--look unreleasable."[5] Nonetheless, images from the segment appeared in press materials, despite not appearing in the final film.


Leonard Maltin gave the film a "bomb" rating, describing it as an "incredibly idiotic parody", describing the segments as "each one worse than the next [sic]."[6]

This film holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, from five reviews.[7] Producer Matty Simmons later said, "Scenes between Peter and Diane in Movie Madness are possibly worth the price of admission but the rest of the movie didn't come off as well."[2]


There was never an official soundtrack released, but four songs are known for appearing in the film.

  1. "Going to the Movies" by Dr. John
  2. "Growing Yourself" by Don McLean
  3. "You Don't Love Me"
  4. "Feelings" by New Orleans Nighthawks


  1. ^ a b c d Karp, Josh (2006). A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed ... - Josh Karp - Google Books. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 9781556526022. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  2. ^ a b Simmons, Matty (10 April 2012). Fat, Drunk, and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House - Matty Simmons - Google Books. St. Martin's Publishing. ISBN 9781429942355. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  3. ^ Jet - Google Books. Johnson Publishing Company. 1981-05-14. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  4. ^ Weldon, Michael (1996). The Psychotronic Video Guide To Film - Michael J. Weldon - Google Books. Macmillan. ISBN 9780312131494. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  5. ^ Bach, Steven (1999). Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven's Gate, the Film that Sank United Artists. Newmarket Press. p. 6. ISBN 9781557043740.
  6. ^ Maltin, Leonard (24 September 2010). Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide - Leonard Maltin - Google Books. Penguin. ISBN 9781101108765. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  7. ^ "National Lampoon's Movie Madness". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-08-30.

External links[edit]