cover image Fat, Drunk, & Stupid: 
The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House

Fat, Drunk, & Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of Animal House

Matty Simmons. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-55226-8

Animal House producer Simmons takes 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. As the moneyman behind the success of the legendary National Lampoon magazine, Simmons helped put together the team that conceived of the tale of two warring fraternities in the early 1960s—the wacky Deltas and the evil Omegas. Simmons provides interesting but all-too-brief looks at the “volatile, mad creator” and Lampoon editor, Doug Kenney; National Lampoon Show actor and future director, Harold Ramis; and Lampoon writer Chris Miller, who used many of his experiences at Dartmouth College in the final script (and who actually lived in a frat called “Delta House”). 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. He offers some interesting anecdotes (especially a deleted scene in which the Deltas give a car ride to a young, then unknown Bob Dylan only to throw him out after he starts singing), but overall, Simmons covers much of the same territory as various other books about the film, its actors, and the National Lampoon, and his writing is surprisingly flat (“It seemed it had taken forever to get the movie green-lighted—and then just the briefest blink of time to get it shot”). (Apr.)