DOASKDOTELL MOVIE REVIEW of South Park, Team America

 

Title: South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

Release Date: 1999

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: about 90 Minutes

MPAA Rating:  R

Distributor and Production Company: Paramount and Warner Brothers; Comedy Central

Director; Writer: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady

Producer:

Cast:  

Technical: 1.8 to 1; digital

Relevance to doaskdotell site: censorship, gays in the military, personal responsibility

Review: Movie Review: South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999); (Bigger, Longer & Uncut); Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers (Warner Bros.), Comedy Central; Written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady; R; 90 minutes; Animated.

            This is a real cartoon, with no pretense of Disney-style realism. The clownish characters looked like wooduct drawings, perfect circles for faces, almost like from a geometry class from someone who thinks that geometry is "arithmetic with shapes." I had not intended to see it, but a friend from GLIL emailed and advised of its libertarian leanings, personal responsibility, and advice that any mature teen should see it, rough language an all.

            And rough language it has. The kids make a game of learning obscene talk, the kind that 50's parents would wash out your mouth with soap for. Sex organs are mentioned, with vulgar names. But this gets to the fact that the film drives on two of doaskdotell's favorites issues: gays in the military, and free speech.

            The story is silly enough for Jonathan Swift. South Park is a conservative mountain community. (Mormon, perhaps?) The Mothers against Indecent Speech (or whatever it was called) pressure the government into attacking Canada for producing the porn video that gets the kids all turned up in class. They will sacrifice young men in battle to protect their teen-age kids from foul language! (Protect our children?? Save our Children, Anita Bryant-style??) Even Bill Clinton (in caricature) weights in, as if Canada were another Kosovo. So the two producers are to be executed (by electrocution) at a USO benefit for the troops invading Canada. And addressing the soldiers is Big Gay Al (drawn as a buffoon with scraggly hair on his chest, in defiance of David Skinner's "Notes on the Hairless Man," Weekly Standard, June 21, 1999). Big Gay Al manages to get off a "Do Ask, Do Tell" (to honor my book, which is not intended as comedy???). Indeed, earlier the kids had been talking about linking to the "web" for porn sites (COPA, Child Online Protection Act???) (Remember, any constitutionally legal reincarnation of COPA would probably invoke the "Bad Words" [George Carlin's "Seven Deadly Words"] concept.) Other innocuous public figures come up for ridicule, such as skater Brian Boitano. I guess the USO electrocutions could have been MC-ed by Miss Richfield. She knows everybody.

 

The song “Blame Canada” was nominated for Best Song in 1999. I understand that one of the TV episodes has a song “Do Ask Do Tell” sung by Big Gay Al, but I have not seen the episode and don’t remember hearing the song. A good one for file-sharing.

 

South Park, as a series, attracted controversy in 2006 when Comedy Central block an image of Mohammed, in view of the cartoon controversy. Comedy Central had pulled a rerun that mocked scientologists. See the CNN story at http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/04/13/southpark.muhammad.ap/index.html

 

I don’t mind their mocking me. It just gives free advertising.

 

Team America: World Police: Uncensored and Unrated (2004, Paramount, dir. Trey Parker, R) is a delicious satire against both Bush’s conduct of the War on Terror and against left-wing opposition to it. The story is told entirely with marionettes (yes, puppets) and animation, which looks very 3-D-like in any scene with motion. This movie does seem to create a fantasy world in which some kind of god is pulling the strings, literally.  The opening scene is near the Eiffel tower in Paris, where the Police catch a replica of Osama bin Laden carrying a suitcase nuke. Well, in the police action they accidentally knock down the Eiffel Tower as if it were a toy. (I rode up it myself in 2001). The content, taken as a whole, covers the territory pretty much as does my chapter on terrorism in my second “Do Ask Do Tell” book.

 

The story moves on as a young actor – fresh out of college with a degree in acting, no less, is hired as a “spy” for the World Police. What better job candidate?  What better way for a young actor to build a resume that would lead him to the “A List” some day? It cuts both ways. The adventures start, and include secret bases in Mt. Rushmore, a journey to Egypt, and nuking of the Panama Canal. The left wing, including most of Hollywood through the Film Actors’ Guild (“F.A.G.”) (the real entity is SAG, Screen Actors Guild) arranges a world peace protest conference with KIM Jong Il (here is a CIA summary), who, according to the film, is orchestrating all the world’s WMD attacks, and plans a simultaneous catastrophe, with multiple simultaneous destruction that will leave a wasteland nuclear winter world where everyone fends for his own ego—proving the value of Communism and reinforcing a mid 90s idea that the resurgence of communism could still be the most dangerous threat. (Radical Islam would be secondary). The film is full of scatological jokes and simulated puppet sex, with heterosexual golden showers, and homosexual fellatio used as a device to bond Team Police members together. (Curiously, “don’t ask don’t tell” is never mentioned, but the insinuation is that homosexual culture would bond together any military or law enforcement organization.) The film can be graphic indeed with its “puppetmation,” as when The Actor gets drunk in a bar and then vomits and urps repeatedly on himself, dropping into a huge greenish poo-plop that he creates—the sequence recreates in chilling fashion what it feels like to “get sick”—something not unfamiliar in a lot of dorms and fraternity houses. The soundtrack rolls off the songs like “Freedom is not free,” “America F__L Yeah” and “Everyone has AIDS.”  There is a final confrontation between evil and “the FAG way” of talk and reason. The Actor gives a speech in bodily function metaphors with the eventual meaning that might and male swagger make right.

 

The Hollywood angle gets played up on the names of a lot of stars, who, according to the credits, did not necessarily give consent to the use of their “publicity rights.” Matt Damon simply repeats his name (maybe in reference to his reported fact that he moved into his NYC pad the night before 9/11, as he told Barbara Walters once); Ben Affleck’s performance in Pearl Harbor is panned, as is director Michael Bay—Josh Hartnett is left alone. (Maybe because 9/11 is a second “Pearl Harbor.”)  But Alec Baldwin (Glengarry, remember) heads up the loyal opposition.

Related reviews: 9/11 films

 

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Email me at Jboushka@aol.com