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A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Where to Watch A Futile and Stupid Gesture


A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a captivating biopic from 2018 that delves into the life and contributions of Doug Kenney, one of the most influential figures in American comedy. Directed by David Wain, this Netflix original drama successfully blends humor, emotion, and history to paint a vivid picture of Kenney's remarkable but tragically short-spanned career.

Frank Gingerich and Morgan Gingerich star as the young and adolescent Douglas Kenney respectively while Will Forte brilliantly portrays the adult Kenney, unveiling a masterful depiction of comedic brilliance countered by personal struggle. The film's brilliant ensemble cast also includes Domhnall Gleeson who gives a note-perfect performance as Henry Beard, Kenney's co-founder of the humor magazine "National Lampoon".

A Futile and Stupid Gesture is far from your typical biopic. Told in a unique non-linear fashion, it flips between the 1970s, the height of Kenney's success, and a fictional 2018 where an older, imagined version of Doug, played by Martin Mull, is narrating the story. This innovative storytelling technique allows for an engaging and immersive insight into Kenney's life, bouncing between past and present self-awarely and humorously commenting on the nature of biopics, folklore and exaggerated history.

The film essentially tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of a comedy legend. Born into an upper-middle-class family, the movie follows Kenney as he breaks free from his parents' traditional expectations and decides to make his own way. After forging a partnership with Beard at Harvard University, the two go on to co-found the National Lampoon magazine, which soon becomes a groundbreaking comedy institution.

The narrative of Kenney's life is brought to life as the movie takes audiences through the creation of the infamous and equally loved comedy franchises, including the radio shows, stage productions, and the iconic films 'Animal House' and 'Caddyshack'. The movie deftly explores how Kenney’s immeasurable genius and innovative comedic voice pioneered a new sense of humor that stretched the boundaries of American comedy.

Beyond just comedy, A Futile and Stupid Gesture portrays Kenney as a complex character, revealing his struggles with drug addiction, success's pressures, depression, and relationships. As the audience laughs at the hilarity of Kenney's work, they are also moved by the profound tragedy of his life. Annette O'Toole brilliantly depicts Douglas Kenney's mother, adding another depth to understand the protagonist's life.

As the movie progresses, what grips us is not just the depiction of the birth of a comedic dynasty, but the insightful exploration of the man behind it all. The film's title, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, intentionally reflects Kenney's remark about his own life and gives audiences a clear insight into Kenney's view of the world, his creations and his own existence.

Complementing its compelling script, the film features a host of hilarious cameos from comedy industry veterans such as Joel McHale and Jon Daly, who play acting legends Chevy Chase and Bill Murray respectively. These meticulous casting choices not only offer comedy gold but also pay homage to those who were instrumental in Kenney's journey and legacy.

The set designs and costumes effectively transport the audience back to the '70s, accentuating the narrative's authenticity and heightening the viewers' connection with the characters and their experiences. The film is aesthetically pleasing as it is thought-provoking with its seamless blend of drama, comedy, and emotion that lend it an appealing realism.

In a nutshell, A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a touching tribute to an unsung creative genius. It's a blend of genius, humor, and intense emotions that operates at various levels- for comedy history enthusiasts, it offers insight into how modern comedy was forged, and for general film lovers, it delivers an unforgettable dramatic biography. Funny, vulnerable, irreverent, and profound, A Futile and Stupid Gesture serves as a engaging exploration of the fine line between being funny and being truly happy. It's a powerful tribute to those who dedicated their lives to make others laugh, reminding us that behind all the laughter, there are often tears.

A Futile and Stupid Gesture is a Comedy movie released in 2018. It has a runtime of 101 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.7. It also holds a MetaScore of 55.

How to Watch A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Where can I stream A Futile and Stupid Gesture movie online? A Futile and Stupid Gesture is available to watch and stream at Netflix.

David Wain
Domhnall Gleeson, Emmy Rossum, Paul Scheer
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