Preppy + Hippie = Prippie: A Futile And Stupid Film Review

While struck down by a cold last month, I watched “A Futile and Stupid Gesture,” the new Netflix-produced film about the tragic rise and fall of National Lampoon founder Doug Kenney, played by Will Forte.

Of course there never would have been a National Lampoon without Harvard Lampoon, and one of the film’s first scenes is a freshman mixer in 1964, smack in the middle of the heyday. In this scene Doug is wearing a white OCBD with a narrow repp tie and narrow lapel tartan jacket (plus a tag with a hand-drawn phallus in place of the name, which isn’t so Ivy). The brief scene ends with Doug throwing a handful of broccoli at a group of preppies he dubs “The Barry Goldwater Fan Club,” who are wearing OCBDs and odd jackets.

The next scene cuts to a campus party in 1968, with the fall in full acceleration. As a senior Doug now has long, unkempt hair, prompting his date to ask, “You’re not really a preppie, are you? You’re note a hippie either,” to which he sarcastically replies, “Both: I’m a prippie.”

The rest of the 141 minutes is big hair and bad ’70s styling, save for a brief scene on the set of “Animal House”. Despite penning such hits, Kenney’s life doesn’t go precisely as planned, and the more fervent reactionaries among us might wonder if a soft collar roll and a trip to the barber could have set things right.

Check out the trailer here. — ERIC TWARDZIK

21 Comments on "Preppy + Hippie = Prippie: A Futile And Stupid Film Review"

  1. I remember reading an article in the late 70s in which Kenney was wearing his high school letter-jacket to work at the Lampoon…Sorry, but that’s just sad.

  2. Charlottesville | March 8, 2018 at 1:39 pm |

    A sad end to a very funny man. When I saw Animal House a few years after its original release, I though it was a documentary about W&L. Perhaps a softly rolled collar could have helped. After all, the always traditionally dressed P.J. O’Rourke worked with Kenney on the Lampoon Yearbook, and he is now 70, married and seems pretty well adjusted.

  3. john carlos | March 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm |

    On an unrelated note, I was just reading some customer reviews regarding the “new” Brooks OCBD. Several were complaining about the flimsy collar and cuffs. Go figure. I’m afraid there are not enough of us trads left anymore.

  4. Johh Carlos, I recently bought one of their new/old OCBDs and noticed, in the store, that the stitching on the placket was undone in some areas. So much for quality control.

  5. john carlos | March 8, 2018 at 10:09 pm |

    GS I haven’t had a quality problem although I must admit I don’t shop at Brooks like I used to. O’Connell’s has become my favorite. They have great customer service. I’ve bought numerous things from them over the years. Everything ships the day after I place my order.

  6. Vern Trotter | March 9, 2018 at 1:44 am |

    Every time I see one of these young fellows smoking a pipe, I remember myself doing so for 6-7 years in my late teens, early 20s. I used to wake up thinking I was standing athwart my tongue, shouting “Stop!” Finally, I did.

  7. The is an interface between the Hipster London scene and the Ivy league style. It exists as a subculture. London’s Mr.Jason Jules may be the person to talk to here?

  8. Hipster + Ivy = Hivey? I doubt that would catch on.
    Although: ?
    Might Hip-Ivy become a thing?
    London may well inform.

  9. Just when you think you’ll receive more information about J. Press’ current makers–the subject is changed. How to be subtle about this? Gee, I wonder if any of the actors in this film are wearing clothes made by Cohen or Empire? How’s the shoulder?

  10. Toxicchaosisreal | March 9, 2018 at 12:05 pm |

    Well, you’re right about something – your writing is futile and stupid.

  11. S.E., sounds like you need a trip to Montreal so you could go to each suit factory, Peerless, Empire, Cohen and Samuelsohn. Maybe then you’ll get the answers to your pressing sartorial queries.

  12. Charlottesville | March 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm |

    SE – I believe, on good authority, that the makers of the new Press line are Southwick and Empire. Since Southwick is owned by Brooks, there may be a reluctance by both parties to acknowledge this. I can vouch for the shoulders on both the Southwick- and Empire-made 3/2 sacks that are sold locally by Eljo’s here in Charlottesville (mostly through its MTM program). If the general model is the same, look for a natural shoulder, hook vent, 3/2 rolled lapel, high quality and good fit; it is certainly possible that Press has asked for some customization of the standard model in keeping with its heritage and house style. My guess is that the Pressidential line is made by Southwick, and the Presstige line by Empire, but I could very well be mistaken. Personally, I can’t wait to get to NY or DC to try on a few and maybe spring for that great navy seersucker suit. I also want to ask Mr. Davis about the price and collars available on MTM shirts. I don’t know whether the current off the shelf OCBD collars are lined or not. The most recent button-down I bought from Press has a lined collar, but that was a few years ago.

  13. Vern Trotter | March 9, 2018 at 1:51 pm |

    When we were at JPress the other night, I noticed some Southwick boxes stacked. I meant to ask about this subject but forgot. Let this be the question: are JPress suits now being at least partially made Southwick?

  14. Asked via phone while using my new coupons in the catalogue, no Cohen! Happy days! Only Empire and Southwick, both of which Press also uses for various MTM options, didn’t say if there was a difference in price but I’d imagine Empire might be cheaper? Who knows, maybe some tariffs will change all that

  15. “…pressing sartorial queries.”

    “pressing.” Nicely done. Or did you intend?

  16. Cohen was such a nasty blemish on recent Squeeze history. Pleased to hear Empire is a cut above.

  17. S.E., glad you caught on.

  18. OK did discover some old Cohen stuff still on the website so email or call to confirm before buying

  19. I enjoyed it. A mockumentary of sorts.

  20. I wish the J. Press execs would give H. Freeman a try for the mid-range clothing. Start with Naturalaire patch pocketed blazers in worsted tropical and worsted flannel.

  21. SE: Noted and passed on!

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