National Lampoon announces DVD of the Month Club

by Jon Minners

Here is something that just seems out of the ordinary. 

National Lampoon’s movies are known far and wide.  The company that made classics like National Lampoon’s Animal House, Vacation, European Vacation and Van Wilder, along with their recent Strip Poker series, has decided to dabble in the DVD club business. 

National Lampoon’s new DVD-of-the-Month Club, which can be found by logging in to www.NLdvdClub.com, is supposed to, according to the company, make it easy for movie fans to get fresh, laugh-out-loud comedy every month.  The fear is that the recently launched National Lampoon DVD Club is supposed to “showcase the funniest comedy movies that didn’t come to a theater near you” and delivers each month’s selection directly to your home. 

The issue is that most movies that do not make it to the theaters don’t make it there for a reason, but Stephanie Silver, a company spokesperson, explains otherwise, stating: "Determining what movies get broad distribution and studio marketing support is a complicated process, and unfortunately, how funny a film is isn’t the only consideration.  National Lampoon has put together a collection of ridiculously funny movies that never got the exposure they deserved, and is making them easily available to fans everywhere at a great price.”

According to company spokespeople, the sophomoric, over-the-top, but downright hilarious film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, was the inspiration for this potentially embarrassing experiment.  The largest advertising venture taken on by a fast food giant, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle emerged well after its initial release to become an iconic comedy, similar to the great films of National Lampoon’s broad history. 

Believing that they had similar, less known movies to offer the public, the experts at National Lampoon started watching hundreds of movies, looking for other great movies that comedy fans will want to know about.  One find is The Rage in Placid Lake, the story of a precocious, off-beat high school graduate, much akin to Napoleon Dynamite, who discovers that the secret to rebelling against his hippy parents is to embrace conformity and get on the fast track to corporate success. 

Even though few movie fans have heard of it, much to the club’s credit, on the popular movie website IMDB.com, The Rage in Placid Lake receives a better rating then some of the most popular comedies of the last decade, including Meet the Parents, American Pie, There’s Something about Mary, and Napoleon Dynamite

Another great discovery included in the club is Bad Taste, which was the first film directed by Peter Jackson.  That’s the guy who created Lord of the Rings and King Kong.  The film features Lord Crumb and his band of alien invaders, who come to earth to acquire human flesh, the main ingredient at their intergalactic fast-food chain.

Several of the films National Lampoon found showcase uncensored performances from early in the career of great comedic actors.  For example, the little-known movie Bongwater stars Luke Wilson, Jack Black, and Brittany Murphy in the story of a drug dealer and stoner with big plans, and an even bigger “concentration problem.”  This movie received some great reviews and therefore could spell future success for this fledgling club. 

The only problem comes in the form of National Lampoon’s ego.  The club also includes selections from National Lampoon’s own library of movies, like National Lampoon’s Blackball – a movie starring Vince Vaughn which puts a British spin on alternative-sports comedies like Dodgeball, Happy Gilmore, and Kingpin.  Horrible movie.  Vaughn, while funny, deserved his name to be attached to a much better film.  This movie was a real snoozer.  The inclusion of National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon does little to increase interest in the club. 

One compelling feature of the club is that it is an ownership club; meaning members actually get to keep every movie they receive.  Also, because National Lampoon has strong industry relationships, they can offer the club’s movie selections for less than $5 a DVD, allowing members to own a movie for about the cost of a rental.  If they are lucky and get a good film, that’s actually quite a steal and possibly worth joining for. 

The jury is still out on this club, but Joe Iovino, one of the first subscribers to the National Lampoon DVD-of-the-Month Club, had this to say (in a release provided by the company): “I loved the first couple of movies that I received.  Bongwater was ridiculous – I don’t know how I missed that movie…  I can’t wait to see what I get next month.” 

I am sure that it was an unsolicited comment.  Yea…um…right.  I wonder what others had to say when asked to provide their opinions. 

In the end, it is all up to you.  The National Lampoon DVD Club is making it easy for movie lovers to at least give it a try.  They are offering anyone with an email address a free DVD so that they can try out the service.  For a limited time, customers who decide to become paying subscribers to the club will receive two free movie tickets, good for any show, any time, when they join. 

All criticism aside, it may not be a bad idea to just give it a try.  To check it out for yourself, go to http://www.NLdvdClub.com

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