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Lampoon Movie Worsts

From the Can

By Sam Ecureil

I LIKE MAY, and this May has been especially pleasant what with a mammoth new Nabakov novel (Ada) on he stands and the rock-opera by The Who (Tommy) due out any day now and Frisbees in the air, and as if all this weren't enough the Lampoon has seen fit to trot out yet another Movie Worsts issue which, if not exactly a wretched excess (it's an annual tradition after all) at least qualifies as somewhat gratuitous when seen in any halfway decent cultural or metaphysical perspective.

The current editors appear to have been motivated more by custom than inspiration, and the whole ad-riddled package conjures up images of a handful of debatably amusing people faced with the unpleasant necessity of wrenching forth the old humor magazine again. Articles entitle i am yellow (curious) and the living cinema are to be disregarded as late deadline copy dependent solely and unsuccessfully on puns and props to compensate for lack of anything else. The rest of the copy features a rerun double-bill. Steve Kaplan '68 treats "boy meets girls" scenes à la Stanley Kramer, DeMille, Bergman, and Busby Berkelye. The Berkeley pair (Sally and Dan) dance into the sunset doing something called The Balumbo, containing for my money at least one great quatrain:

You'll find you can give expression

To any romantic whim

In just one Balumbo session

You'll get what you want from him!

The second feature is Doug Kenney's immensely clever, albeit unfunny and ultimately unreadable, sunthesis of student radicalism and MY Fair Lady. File and forget.

President NAP fares better in his Vanitas with an odyssey to Ice Station Zebra accompanied by a Baton Rouge townie ("I peered at reflection in his jacket."). Zebra Lampon-style runs 6 months (the intermissions "scheduled to coincide with the migrations of the hummingbird"), and the article offers if nothing else a telling indirect observation of the director's style: "For the next five months or so the actors jockey for position in front of the submarine latrine, while a second camera keeps us informed of the submarine's depth." Still, Zebra get too much play in the issue (perhaps a wise MGM organized a theatre party foot the lads) and a funnier review by a knowledgeable colleague appeared in the pages of the very publication you now hold in your very hands.

WHICH BRINGS us to the Awards--thankfully lacking the moral righteousness of last year's, and making up for a general dearth of humor by being more-or-less accurate for a change. Our tuxedoed crusaders have played it safe by avoiding controversial art (Faces) or excellent but vulnerable Americana (Skidoo, The Legend of Lylah Clare), and have instead gone after sacred cows--The Lion In Winter, rosemary's Boby, Star!, Barbarella-- truly wretched films in need of a little deflating. For this we thank them, although somehow the point of a Movie Worsts issue tends to get lost when we find ourselves passively agreeing with it. The highlight of the ensuing presentation is the "Great Ceremonial Hotdog" award to Camelot's Franco Nero "for a zoom across two miles of field, up a castle wall and into his crotch while he sang 'C'est Moi.'" It's unfortunately the only highlight of an otherwise substandard creation.

Finally, the Lampoon should reconsider retiring the "Tedium is the Medium" citation when Tim Hunter (two-time winner for the worst students film) "graduates." The award is part of a great tradition and will prove increasingly relevant in future years as youth continues to foist the fruit of its Bolexes and Bell-and-Howells on an affluent and unsuspecting public. Hunter, an irritatingly egocentric critic and an excessive film-maker, can nonetheless sleep secure in the knowledge that even less able juveniles are pointing their cameras through forbidden windows. The Lampoon, if it ever decides to get it together at some future date, would do well to keep track of them.

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