A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 142 – South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut – July 20th, 2010

When this movie came out Andy and I saw it in the theater pretty early on. At the time we were both working at a local video store and several of our coworkers were talking about going to see it. So after seeing it we headed over to the store to tell everyone how much fun it was. And Andy decided to have a little fun with our coworker, Dan.

“Yeah, it was great,” he told Dan. “I just wish they’d done the Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch song. They fake you out and then don’t sing it!” I have no idea what inspired him to try and convince Dan that the song wasn’t in the movie, but it didn’t take much. After all, why would anyone who hadn’t seen it think otherwise, right? Which meant that when we went to see it a second time, with Dan, we got to see him crack the fuck up when Cartman fakes out the audience several times before actually launching into a super duper rendition of the song, declaring Kyle’s mom a bitch several times over, complete with jazz hands.

To be honest, that was sort of my reaction to the whole movie, even though no one had played any prank on me. It was more that I knew the show and I was used to the show. Sure, Comedy Central let them get away with things they could never have done on network television. The Kyle’s Mom song didn’t come from nowhere, after all. And I knew the movie was rated R. I knew there would be songs, but I wasn’t quite prepared for Uncle Fucka. I knew the boundaries of taste would be pushed. But I wasn’t quite prepared for Saddam Hussein sleeping with Satan and a giant clitoris in the woods. So I spent a good portion of the movie staring at the screen in awe with my mouth hanging open. They could have been more tasteless, but I have a feeling they were skating on thin ice with the MPAA as it was.

Really, the movie is rife with tasteless jokes. I’m pretty sure that was the point. See how much profanity and how tasteless one could make an animated movie and still get it into wide release. And it’s so very meta. There are a couple of notable instances of the fourth wall being broken, but it’s the subject of the movie that’s the most meta of all. Terrence and Philip, the farting Canadians beloved by the kids of South Park, make a movie that’s rated R and full of lewd acts and filthy language. Of course Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman (and Kyle’s adopted Canadian brother, Ike) manage to go see it, as do the rest of the kids, and suddenly the entire juvenile population of South Park is dropping f-bombs twice per sentence. Of course Kyle’s mom goes on a rampage and manages to start a war with Canada, declaring the entire country full of filth. Which is totally untrue. Why, our favorite funny Canadians are only filthy some of the time! Anyhow, Terrence and Philip are detained by the US and scheduled to be executed at a USO show to kick off the war, and if they die Satan and Saddam Hussein will rise out of hell and take over the world.

And there’s a lot of singing. There’s a metric assload of singing. So much singing. The movie opens with a song about South Park, moves on to Terrence and Philip’s song, then Stan sings about Wendy, Mr. Mackey sings about not swearing, we find out that hell isn’t good, we should blame Canada, Kyle’s mom’s a bitch and we wonder what Brian Boitano would do? Satan gets wistful about the world up above hell and the kids have a very dramatic medley about freeing Terrence and Philip. Saddam swears he can change and Big Gay Al is super. And then we get reprisals of several of the songs. Because it’s a MUSICAL, DAMN IT. At least it owns it. And makes good use of some of the classic musical styles from all over the map. There’s dramatic Broadway, humorous Broadway. Disney. Seriously, Satan’s song about wanting to live up on Earth is inexorably mixed with Part of Your World from Disney’s Little Mermaid. I’m sure that was intentional. My only real disappointment there is that Hell Isn’t Good isn’t on the actual soundtrack. But a RuPaul remix of I’m Super is, so I forgive.

Anyhow, suffice it to say I enjoy this movie. It’s full of swears and horrible filthy jokes. It’s got cheesy musical numbers and it’s absolutely ridiculous. And there’s that giant clitoris. But really, it’s South Park on the big screen. What were you expecting?

July 20, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | 2 Comments

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

July 20, 2010

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

“Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as nobody says any dirty words.”

It took me a long time to get into South Park. Mostly because when the show first started airing I didn’t give it a chance. At the time that the show first started airing on Comedy Central they played endless and irritating ads during MST3K that talked about how irreverent and radical the show was. I thought the show looked stupid – just a puerile mess of vulgarity. I remember once talking to my brother, who tried to explain to me what it was about the show that was so funny. “It has this kid called Kenny, and he dies in every episode!” “Yes. That sounds… hilarious.” I was skeptical to say the least. Of course my brother was right, and eventually I did start watching the show and I was instantly hooked. Yes, it was vulgar and childish, but under all the vulgarity was a clever and subversive core. And it was frequently laugh-out-loud and gut-bustingly funny. (Though I have traumatic memories of sitting with an entire dorm-full of people to see the conclusion to the “Who is Cartman’s mother” cliffhanger on April 1. The infamous Terrance and Phillip episode. We kept waiting for the REAL show to start, and it just didn’t. Funny in retrospect, but at the time it was a kind of torture.)

I don’t watch the show now as often as I used to. Once in a while I’ll flip through an episode and stop to watch it, but I no longer schedule time each week to see it. But at the time that this movie came out I had started collecting the DVDs of the show and watched it constantly. (These would be the “best of” DVDs that featured episode introductions with Trey Parker, Matt Stone and their Indian companion – “Indian Companion.”) And this movie was Trey and Matt at the peak of their game. It’s hilarious, subversive, clever, and irresistible.

One danger that threatens any half hour program when it’s expanded into a full feature movie is that it will try too hard to show off. That because it’s a movie now it has to be bigger and badder. It can also be hard to find a plot that feels faithful to the original show that can be stretched out to feature length. Take, for example, the Simpsons Movie. It had too much going on and too many plot threads that didn’t work together. This movie, however, is pure South Park. Indeed, you get the impression that it’s more pure than the show, since it can be as vulgar as it wants to be. Furthermore, the idea to make it into a musical was brilliant!

A word about the soundtrack: beware! I had to buy this soundtrack twice because my first copy of it disappeared from the store I was working at. And I don’t really resent it. It’s an incredibly catchy bunch of songs that pokes fun at things like Disney (Little Mermaid in particular) and Broadway (there’s a great Les Miserables inspired medley near the end of the movie.) It’s also a difficult soundtrack to have stuck in your brain if you work retail or in a family friendly setting. It would be embarrassing to be caught singing “Uncle Fucker” in public, but it does get caught in your head.

What’s best about the movie, however, is how the entire project is one big “fuck you” to South Park’s critics. The plot of the movie rotates around how parents get so riled over the vulgarity of a Terrance & Phillip movie that they eventually declare war on Canada to destroy the source of the profanity. It’s a brilliant indictment of the sort of strange puritanical mindedness that holds sway in American culture. Clearly since Tray and Matt were given the opportunity to make an R rated movie based on the show they decided to see just how far they could push that R rating. This movie wouldn’t be nearly as funny if it were restrained by broadcast standards, and that’s most of the point of the film. The show frequently and hilariously pushed the bounds of good taste and of what can be shown on television, and the movie just takes that sense of irreverence and turns it up to eleven.

It’s a pleasure to watch this movie again. It’s still as funny as it ever was (and even more than a decade later it hasn’t lost its edge.) The songs are just as catchy and wonderful as ever. I still can’t believe that this got made in the first place, but I’m sure glad that it was.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments