National Lampoon's Movie Madness is an 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 1983, 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. Its title song, "Going to the Movies", was sung by Dr. John. The film was a critical failure.
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.Peter Riegert as Jason CooperDiane Lane as LizaCandy Clark as Susan CooperTeresa Ganzel as DianaSchnootie Neff as Jennifer CooperAndy Shakman as Josh CooperTamar Howard as Judy CooperIan Fried as Jeffrey Cooper
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 croaks, and is then romanced by a Greek shipping tycoon, and ultimately the US president (Fred Willard).Ann Dusenberry as Dominique CorsaireRobert Culp as Paul EverestTitos Vandis as Nixos NaxosBobby Di Cicco as Nicholas NaxosMargaret Whitton as First Lady Lousille FogertyFred Willard as President Robert FogertyOlympia Dukakis as Helena Naxos
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).Robby Benson as Officer Brent FalconeRichard Widmark as Stan NagurskiChristopher Lloyd as Samuel StarkmanBarry Diamond as JunkieJulie Kavner as Mrs. FalconeElisha Cook as Mousy
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. 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." Eventually, the screenplay was trimmed down to four segments: a "divorce movie", a "making-it-big movie", a "cop movie" and a "terrorist movie". 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."
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.
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. The film was completed in 1981, but not released until two years later.
A fourth segment intended for the film was entirely removed. 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." 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."
This film holds a zero percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, from five reviews. 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."
There was never an official soundtrack released, but four songs are known for appearing in the film.
- "Going to the Movies" by Dr. John
- "Growing Yourself" by Don McLean
- "You Don't Love Me"
- "Feelings" by New Orleans Nighthawks