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Movie Madness (1982)

R | | Comedy | 2 November 1983 (USA)
A parody of film genres composed of three shorts, spoofing personal growth films, glossy soap operas, and police stories.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Riegert ... Jason Cooper ("Growing Yourself")
Diane Lane ... Liza ("Growing Yourself")
Candy Clark ... Susan Cooper ("Growing Yourself")
Teresa Ganzel ... Diana ("Growing Yourself")
Schnootie Neff Schnootie Neff ... Jennifer Cooper - 'Growing Yourself'
Andy Shakman Andy Shakman ... Josh Cooper - 'Growing Yourself'
Tamar Howard ... Judy Cooper - 'Growing Yourself'
Ian Fried Ian Fried ... Jeffrey Cooper - 'Growing Yourself'
Barry Michlin Barry Michlin ... Fireman - 'Growing Yourself'
Trinidad Silva ... Carlos - 'Growing Yourself'
John Lawlor ... Mr. Haggis - 'Growing Yourself'
Susan Krebs ... Lady Who Beats Her Plants - 'Growing Yourself'
Nedra Volz ... Old Lady - 'Growing Yourself'
Stanley Lawrence Stanley Lawrence ... Sanitation Man - 'Growing Yourself' (as Stan Lawrence)
Ann Dusenberry ... Dominique Corsaire ("Success Wanters")


A National Lampoon anthology of three shorts spoofing everything from personal growth films, glossy soap operas, and police stories. In the first story "Growing Yourself", stars Peter Riegert as a confused family man who throws his wife out of the house in order for him to "grow" a new path in life and raise his four children on his own. In "Success Wanters", Ann Dusenberry stars as Dominique Corsaire, a young college graduate determined to succeed in life in which in a few days time lands a job as a stripper, then the mistress to a margarine company, inherits it when the owner croaks, and is then romanced by a Greek shipping tycoon, and ultimately the US president. In "Municipalians", Robby Benson stars alongside Richard Widmark as a naive rookie Los Angeles policeman paired with a cynical veteran of the force to catch an inept serial killer (Christopher Lloyd). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The first movie from National Lampoon since 'Animal House'




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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

2 November 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

National Lampoon Goes to the Movies See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA


Box Office

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The second National Lampoon's film. See more »


Stan Nagurski: Nagurski's Law Number Four: "Never go into a music store that's been cut into with an acetyline torch."
See more »


Spoofs Jaws (1975) See more »


Performed by New Orleans Nighthawks
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User Reviews

Extremely poor, even by Lampoon's usual standards. All copies should be ritualistically burned.
26 September 2004 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

Facts about National Lampoon Goes to the Movies, a.k.a. National Lampoon's Movie Madness:

1. The movie is poor, even by Lampoon's typical standards. 2. It's not funny. 3. No one goes to see a movie.

So, after I finished watching it, I began wondering why on earth it's called 'National Lampoon Goes to the Movies,' and why it was ever conceived, much less actually made. It would be like calling Austin Powers 'An American Guy Goes to the Movies.' How lame. He isn't American, and he doesn't go to movies. None of the characters in Lampoon's so-called 'satire' are funny, and none go see movies, which causes a bit of a problem. I had hoped it would be something in the vein of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but it isn't.

This was National Lampoon's first film after Animal House, although you couldn't tell it from the quality of film. Poorly developed, rough and amateurish by any standard, it induces headaches – not a good sign for an 89-minute movie that seems double the length.

I've noticed a pattern. Really bad movies are typically renamed – and this little disaster falls under that category. It has two separate titles -- probably to help try and promote it to people too stupid to remember how bad a panning it received from home video critics in 1982/83. 'Hmm, Movie Madness – I've never heard of this movie before! Let's rent it!' And then, the realization: 'Hey, wait a minute, this is just National Lampoon Goes to the Movies!'

It was shelved by MGM/UA, never to be released into theaters or DVD; it occasionally pops up on television a few times per decade, which is just about the only place you'll manage to find it.

It's split up into three stories – a parody of self-enlargement videos, butter and corporate ruthlessness, and police brutality/cop-buddy films (I guess). The first segment stars Peter Riegert (Animal House) as a frustrated guy who divorces his wife and does some other stuff. I'm not sure what because it was so boring my mind started to drift. Until the sex scene popped up.

Part II is about an exotic dancer raped by a stick of butter (don't ask) who decides to become Queen of the Margarine so she can cut off the supply of dairy products. Ouch! This contains the only funny line in the movie: 'Only I can make love with my son!' If you think that doesn't sound very funny, you're right – it's not. And just imagine – it's the highlight of this film!

Part III is about a cop who chases down a serial killer (Christopher Lloyd) only to lose his nerve and shoot the guy. It does contain one funny scene but it's extremely over-acted – only Lloyd really exhibits any humor, playing his character dry and compassionate, yet strangely surreal. The part where he's choking his victim and the meek cop stands by watching it all unfold, at least, evoked a chuckle or two.

It's a shame to watch such a cast of semi-famous names resort to low standards. The writers of each segment clearly believe that they're being very ironic and clever by spoofing so-called stereotypes – the fault being that the movie becomes one huge contradiction, favoring the standard T & A instead of plot; crude humor instead of witty dialogue; desperate performances instead of inspired ones. It's easy to see that none of the actors were enthralled with the material, muttering their lines, often so embarrassed they can seldom make eye contact with the camera.

The movie isn't funny, as I said before. I laughed once, at only one line, and even then it was a halfhearted one. Two chuckles, a smile, and a very weak laugh. Compared to Movie Madness, a number of other decent comedies seem like regular laugh tracks.

I like National Lampoon's Vacation series (or, at least three of four installments), and their classic Animal House, but their recent slew of direct-to-video bombs such as Golf Punks (with that great comic genius Tom Arnold) provide a good example of why their magazine went out of print more than a decade ago. It gets really old, really fast.

Sad to see a new film, called Gold Diggers, is being released with their 'stamp of approval.' It's like condemning a film before it even hits theaters – maybe they should start not advertising their name all over the place…

Distributor: 'This movie is bad. It gets the National Lampoon stamp of approval. That'll teach you not to make something so awful next time.'

Forget the death penalty. Just stick a bunch of criminals in a room and make them watch this over and over every day for a month.

It's so bad that I can't even begin to explain its putrid vileness. I give up.

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