The documentary “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon,” screened at the Clinton School of Public Service on Wednesday, is not for the prudish. But if you can make it through this history of the infamous National Lampoon magazine you’ll gain an appreciation for the publication’s brand of “cut and slash” satire that influenced a generation of humorists and witness the birth process of America’s most enduring film and television comedies, along with the rise of a Mount Rushmore of comedy legends.
The 92-minute film is directed by Douglas Tirola, who described the process of landing an interview with Chevy Chase as a pivotal moment for the production.
Arkansas Shorts Block 4, screened at the regal Scottish Rite Temple (why this glistening, marble columned wonder doesn’t host more events in Little Rock is a mystery), is a collection of five films ranging in length from the 3-minute “Overgrown,” directed by Bruce Hutchinson, to the 29-minute “The Space Station,” directed by Michael Sutterfield.
On the surface an unrelated group of stories, the films together almost describe a journey. The block begins with the 7-minute “The Tricycle,” written and directed by David Bogard, which opens in a claustrophobic kitchen where a little girl serenely uses her imagination to escape a troubled home life. The journey eventually takes us into orbit (or does it?), with the 29-minute “The Space Station,” an imaginative take on the old tale of the single girl and her lying boyfriend.
The five films, which also include “Pyro” by Cole Borgstadt and “What Was Lost” by Romello Williams, contain themes of regret over roads not taken, absent loved ones and finding grace where it can be found. Without a line, 7-year-old Ava St. Ana shines as the little girl in “The Tricycle,” which Bogard, a former judge, says was inspired by the child custody cases he once heard.
Arkansas Shorts Block 4 will be screened again at the Bill and Margaret Clark Room at 12:30 p.m. today and at The Joint at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Check out our guide to the Little Rock Film Festival here. There's still plenty to see and do.