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Fat, Drunk, & Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House Hardcover – April 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312552262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312552268
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the mid-1970s, Simmons was riding high as publisher of the wildly popular humor magazine National Lampoon. The publication’s success spawned an entire industry, including live theatrical shows, radio programs, books, and comedy albums. But its most successful spin-off was just on the horizon, the classic 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House. Simmons and most of the movie’s top-shelf talent, including fellow producer Ivan Reitman, director John Landis, and a then-unknown Kevin Bacon, take a fond look back at the raucous making of their underdog production, which became an unexpected blockbuster, turned the late John Belushi into a superstar, and, according to the book, changed the course of mainstream American comedy forever. Animal House is the granddaddy of the gross-out genre that includes American Pie, but Simmons argues it was the daringly subversive political commentary and gut-busting jokes that set it far above all followers. Previous books have covered similar ground, and Simmons’ writing style is more fizz than pop, but loyal fans of Animal House will find much to like in this engaging read. --Chris Keech


“[A] one-of-a-kind book… A unique look at the one movie that, more than any other, told Americans it’s okay to access your inner frat boy. In fact, it’s recommended.” —Washington Post


“Loyal fans of ‘Animal House’ will find much to like in this engaging read.” —Booklist


“A fond look back on the ‘little movie’ that turned into a blockbuster, made John Belushi a star, and spawned dozens of badly made imitations… Simmons had a front-row seat at the film’s creation, and he provides a detailed look at how the movie was made, as well as its unanticipated success.”  —Publishers Weekly


“Simmons brings a singular perspective to this behind-the-scenes look… Simmons’s tone is breezy, and he offers amusing anecdotes about cast members.” —Library Journal

Customer Reviews

What a dud of a book.
I enjoy reading about behind the scenes details and this book met my expectations.
Anyone who enjoys this cult classic needs to read this book.
Kevin VanDenBrouck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Smith on April 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After seeing endless releases of one of my all time favorite films, National Lampoon's Animal House on DVD packed with fairly repetitive behind-the-scenes stories, I was eagerly anticipating a definitive book be written on the subject. Luckily, my prayers were answered in late Winter when I discovered that Lampoon creator, "The" Matty Simmons was going to have such a work published in Spring, 2012.

Reading this book revealed so much more for me than what had already been said in the featurette documentaries featured on the Universal DVD releases of Animal House. In this book, we learn about reactions to the film upon its release in Summer, 1978. We get to learn about the casting process and the experiences the actors and actresses had upon reading for their respective roles. Plus we learn about how long it took to whittle down the original screenplay to create the definitive work of comedy we've come to love for almost 35 years.

This book touches upon many aspects of the film from inception to legacy as well as help readers learn about the beginnings of National Lampoon Magazine, the production of National Lampoon's Lemmings, and a real treat for fans, some stories about an unproduced sequel to Animal House that never made it further than the story idea stage!

There are some things that true die hard fans like myself do unfortunately have to miss such as deleted scene explanations. Many of the scenes that I would have liked to read more about were scenes that involved director John Landis making a cameo as a student dishwasher and having a tug of war over a leftover cheeseburger during the 'What A Wonderful World' sequence in the cafeteria.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BH Saunders on May 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is simply an exercise in ego stroking. The author is putting on the record what a great success he was. The prose is most lively when he recounts how much money he made from the movie. Looking for good anecdotes about off-camera hijinks? Not here. There is nothing of value to describe the great Belushi. This is a waste of time and money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The JuRK on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Actually, the subtitle to this book should be "An Inside Story," not "THE Inside Story." Matty Simmons was definitely inside the comedy phenom that was NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE, but the book reads a little choppy and it ultimately becomes one person's experience with the film.

I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing, and I'm glad Mr. Simmons has committed to paper his memories of the people, the shoot and the legacy of one of the most popular comedies of all time. He's able to give insight into the National Lampoon years that led to the film and he gives many interesting personal anecdotes about the people involved (from top to bottom), but the book also has a rushed feel to it, along with little errors like mispelling Dan Aykroyd's name over and over.

If you're a huge ANIMAL HOUSE fan (and I consider myself one), you will have probably already read Chris Miller's THE REAL ANIMAL HOUSE about his Dartmouth frat that inspired the Deltas, A STUPID AND FUTILE GESTURE about the late Doug Kenney (the "Stork" who was actually one of the brains behind the Lampoon and ANIMAL HOUSE--and CADDYSHACK!), and other books about John Belushi covering those years. Simmons's book is a nice complement to those volumes, and well worth reading.

I recently went to a screening of ANIMAL HOUSE (April 2012) with an introduction and Q&A with Stephen Furst, aka Kent Dorfman, aka Flounder. He was open, honest and very gracious. And he still sounds exactly like Flounder. But the reason I bring this up: the audience still laughed. A lot. Hard. Almost 35 years later, a crowded movie theatre was filled with laughter for this film.

That's staying power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Peterson on July 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book should have been titled "That One Time Matty Simmons Did Something Noteworthy...and He's Still Milking it for What It's Worth!" Basically, the whole book is about the author's self-labeled "greatness" and how "great" of a movie Animal House was (Don't get me wrong, it is a comedy classic). This self-absorbed account barely focuses on ANY behind the scenes antics during the filming. There is only about one or two chapters focusing on the subject! What a tease! I don't know who this Simmons guy thinks he is but he isn't the Spielberg he makes himself out to be! I lost count how many times he stated how impactful the film was...it made for a very tedious and boring read. But, this is the icing on the cake. Matty Simmons claims how much he loves and respects the picture throughout the book. If that was true, why did he insist on creating a sequel? Creating a TV show? Hell, he even plans to make a BROADWAY SHOW out of Animal House! That's not respect, that is quite the opposite. Take my advice Matty...leave the damn movie alone! Almost everyone else who made Animal House became a great success...besides Simmons. He realized that...and that's why he wrote this book. To trick people into thinking they were going to read about the making of a comedy classic. Instead, we get a boring story that focuses on a man whose only noteworthy accomplishment was co producing Animal House...and he does not let the reader forget that. Disappointing read.
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