A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

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.

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July 20, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I love this movie! I can’t tell you how often I quoted it while in college; actually admitting that was a little embarrassing. But hey, what can you do right?

    Comment by Trisha | July 21, 2010 | Reply

    • Yeah it’s a fun movie. And yet another musical! We hadn’t realized until we embarked upon this project just how many musicals we had in our collection.

      Comment by tanatoes | July 21, 2010 | Reply


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