Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 5:52 am | Overcast 64º


Paul Mann: Take a Beach Break for National Lampoon’s ‘Endless Bummer’

Fans of the Ventura surf scene will find an authentic portrayal of a golden era

Shortly after the Vans Warped tour wound up an entire day of music mayhem at the Ventura Seaside Fairgrounds last week, the party moved uptown to the Majestic Ventura Theater.

As one of the longest days of the year faded slowly to night, a long line formed for the premiere of National Lampoon’s new film, Endless Bummer. The feature, written by Kevin Lyman and John Drury, is based on their real-life adventures as surfers growing up in Ventura, circa 1984.

The fitting and appreciative crowd, consisted of invited cast and filmmakers, VIPS, media and a slew of Ventura locals who received free tickets, just by word of mouth. Film stars, surfers, punk music fans, and quite a few of Ventura’s homeless, mingled in the exciting atmosphere of the theater. Before the film’s premiere, Lee Ving and his legendary band Fear, played an ear-piercing and raucous set of Old School punk music. Hard-core fans moshed and slam danced in the front pit, while others continued consuming mass amounts of beer and alcohol. Fear was responsible for part of the film’s soundtrack and Ving even has a cameo roll in the feature.

After the concert, everyone settled on the floor of the cavernous theater, and the film began with a dynamic soundtrack and was greeted with huge applause. Each identifiable scene filmed locally, illicited another great cheer from the audience. While it is a good bet that nobody will be nominated for an Oscar from the film, it is, nevertheless, a compelling little period piece. Anyone even remotely familiar with the Ventura surf scene, especially in the 1980s, will want to see the film to reminisce and to look for familiar landmarks.

Endless Bummer, despite being a release from the scandalous vaults of the irreverent National Lampoon stable, is a surprisingly timid film. Containing almost no violence (one or two short fist fights) or sex (some gratuitous naked breasts from a single bikini girl), it is almost a family feature. The simple story tracks a group of Ventura kids, just out of high school, in pursuit of a stolen surfboard, and searching for the meaning of life along the way.

After the show, bands that had worked on the soundtrack played in local clubs up and down Main Street. I caught the Dollyrots playing a short, explosive set at the Good Bar about midnight. It was more than 12 hours since they had graced the stage at the Warped Tour, and the party went on into the early morning hours.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor.

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