Month: April 2017

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Year: 1999
Directed By: Trey Parker
Written By: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady

RYAN’S REVIEW

The rate of reviews we have published has slimmed quite a bit in the last couple of months. The reason being that I thought we would binge watch the entire series of South Park before diving into the movie. It had been years since I had watched the show regularly and I was shocked to realize that there were actually 20 seasons now. Watching them in succession has been quite a time consuming process, albeit totally worth it.

We’re still a few seasons from finishing the entire series but I found myself with time today and wanted to watch this movie. Going back and watching South Park in succession is an interesting experience. It almost feels like a history lesson as the show often makes a play on current events. I was in season 3 I think when I realized an episode was all about Elian Gonzalez. I had nearly forgotten about that immigration crisis it’s been so long but here the show served as a reminder. It has been a recurring thing as we have made our way through the series.

It’s fascinating to see how this show has grown and evolved over the past 20 years. How it continues to push the limits and make us think and laugh at the same time. When this movie came out the show was so much smaller. What used to be a bigger, longer, and uncut version of the show has just become the show now. Not that there is anything wrong with that because it continues to be awesome. This most recent season 20 was a congruent story that continued every week. I’ve always wished they would make another movie but why do so when they can air bigger, longer, and uncut versions of the show on TV now? They have come so far since having to release this movie to theaters with an R rating.

As for this movie, it’s not my favorite but only because the competition is so steep. As much as I love this movie I don’t know that I can put it above Imaginationland, Cartoon Wars, Member Berries, and plenty of others. This movie is hilarious and an awesome South Park story but there are just so many now. The genius of Trey Parker and Matt Stone is both fruitful and tireless. For over 20 years they have been two of the ballsiest entertainers in the world. They know how to make a point and they aren’t afraid to go too far in order to make that point. It’s absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

The show has evolved so far since this movie came out that it’s lacking in some of the things that have become so prevalent now. Like Randy and Butters, two awesome and pivotal characters in today’s South Park. However, what it lacks with characters like those guys it makes up for with big roles for the Devil and Saddam Hussein. Is there anything funnier than the love story of those two? I specifically love the episode in which Saddam comes back and creates a love triangle with the Devil and his new boyfriend, Chris. In this movie I don’t know why but there is a picture of Skeet Ulrich above Satan and Saddam’s bed. I have never known why but I have always found the randomness of it hilarious.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are so talented when it comes to writing and performing musical work. There is so much of their work to serve as proof of that and this movie is part of it. I love so many of the songs in this movie. Satan singing a song about wanting to be “up there” is hands down one of the funniest things I have ever seen. This movie is full of hilarious songs though and that’s why it was nominated for an Academy Award. Blame Canada was actually performed at the Oscars by none other than Robin Williams the year this came out.

Such an awesome video, may Robin Williams rest in peace.

I know people who hate South Park and I get it, sort of, but they’re simply missing the point. Yeah, maybe there have been a couple episodes here and there that literally almost made me throw up but there is more to this show than disgust. Yeah maybe when this movie came out I watched it in secret. Maybe it’s the type of film that if my grandparents saw it I would deny having ever heard of it. Maybe they go a bit too far now and again but it remains funny. It’s generally all on the way to a larger point at hand and there is usually a pretty compelling message attached to it. They might gross you out but after you hear them out it’s hard to argue with their logic.

I wasn’t an original South Park fan. I was 13 when the show debuted and absolutely not allowed to watch it. I remember it and may have seen an episode or two but by in large I was more interested in other cartoon shows like The Simpsons or King of the Hill. I think I was 17 when I saw this movie for the first time over at a friend’s house and I was instantly sold. I don’t know that I ever laughed harder but it was still years before I started watching the show.

It wasn’t until 2006 when I started really watching the show and I binged it on DVD before binge watching was even a thing. I was so amazed by the intelligence of the show and realized I had been missing out on something awesome. I lost touch with the show again sometime during parenthood until recently. For the last few months my nights have often consisted of a couple of episodes once my children are safely put to bed where they can have dreams innocent of the obscene show mommy and daddy love so much.

I love this show and I stand behind it no matter how far it goes, but I wouldn’t let my kids watch it. I don’t know how old they will have to be before I’m cool with it actually. This show is hilarious and brilliant but some things need to be adult only. I have no illusions that I’ll actually have any say so at a certain point once my kids are older and decide they want to see something. Nevertheless I’ll protect their innocence as long as I can, and that means it’s only past bedtime that I get to watch South Park.

This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. If you aren’t a South Park fan you could easily watch this movie and understand why the series has been ongoing for 20 years. Plenty have doubted this show, including myself in the beginning. Even at 13 I didn’t think this show with its crappy animation could ever compete with the powerhouse of the Simpsons. That was when I was simply ignorant though, I know better now. Even more interesting is that while I grew out of The Simpsons my appreciation for this show has only grown. If you have a problem with South Park I’d suggest you pull the stick out of your ass and see what you’ve been missing. South Park is as obscene as it gets but it’s also a highly intelligent show that will surprise you more often than not.

Bottom line, this movie and the series it is based on are more than worth your time. There are 20 seasons worth of episodes with no end in sight and no sign of slowing down. If you’ve been missing out it’s time to see what all the fuss is about.

 

NEXT MOVIE: South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut (1999)

 

Southland Tales

Year: 2006
Directed By: Richard Kelly
Written By: Richard Kelly

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie has been at the center of controversy in our home for nearly ten years. It is one of the greatest disagreements Amber and I have about a film. I think this is a brilliant though complicated movie while she calls it the worst movie she has ever seen.

Richard Kelly called this his “misunderstood child” and I think that pretty much sums it up for this movie. It’s an entirely misunderstood movie that doesn’t even have the support of some of its cast members. It’s a big idea with a low budget and I think that took away from the attention it received. Had it gotten a bigger release I think it would be the center of much greater controversy and conversation even today.

I won’t deny this movie is weird but I like that about it. I like the actors cast in strange roles, I like the randomness of it all and the ultimate point behind the film. I think this movie takes a strong stance against the current events in the mid 2000s and it was during that time that I saw the movie and connected with it. It’s an interesting vision of the future where America actually suffers consequences for its actions. The world has moved on from that time with a whole batch of new and interesting problems but what of the events following 9/11? The world got crazy in the aftermath but kept on turning nonetheless. There were plenty of movies that examined the situation but this one to date has probably been my favorite. A beautiful satire that never really found its voice, or audience for that matter.

Richard Kelly’s first film, Donnie Darko, became a cult classic and I was one of its biggest fans at one time. I thought it was so interesting and ahead of its time. I feel like Richard Kelly is too smart for his own good as a filmmaker. If I remember correctly his father worked for NASA and I have always thought that had to have some kind of influence on his films. There is always something highly scientific about his films. Whether it’s worm holes or fluid karma he has something thrown in there that will befuddle the masses. I myself do not know anything about the science in his movies, it could be all made up as far as I know, but I think it all sounds good enough to work in a movie. I have enjoyed all of Kelly’s movies but this one is by far my favorite.

I think the cast that was assembled for this movie was nothing short of spectacular. I am not really a fan of the actor Dwayne Johnson, but I think he is perfect in this movie. The Rock has climbed out of the ring and into the big arena but I don’t always like what he’s cooking these days. I’m not a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, and despite all his success I just can’t ever take him seriously as an actor. I think this is one of the most interesting roles he has played and I really liked him in the part. His character is even more interesting upon multiple viewings of the movie because so many of the weird ticks make sense when you understand.

On the other hand, I have always been a big fan of Seann William Scott, which sucks because his career tanked after this movie. American Pie was my generation’s high school classic and Stifler will always be a character I tune in to see. Like The Rock, he too has a really interesting part in this movie that gets better the more you watch it. While I think Scott does well in this movie I tend to think his performance gets lost among the others because some were truly able to shine in a short amount of time.

My favorite stand out in this movie is Cheri Oteri. I used to love her on SNL and the excitable personality she brought to the comedy. Seeing her in this movie as a ruthless and violent villain has always appealed to me. In fact there were several actors in this movie cast specifically contrary to their known personas. Others include John Lovitz and Amy Poehler playing villains. Lovitz particularly is impressive as the cold and silent hitman.

I think Justin Timberlake is fantastic in this movie and love the drug induced scene that plays out like a music video. It’s so randomly placed in the movie and I love that about it. As a teenager I had a natural dislike for Timberlake, and anybody else involved in the boy band phase, but he has long since won me over with shear talent. I am amazed by any celebrity that can do it all. Timberlake is an incredible performer and has made a smooth transition into a good acting career. He has impressive range as an actor and continues to be a successful artist in the music industry. When I mention that this movie didn’t have the support of its own cast it was Timberlake I was referring to, who said something along the lines of having no idea what this movie was about.

Since I was a teenager I had a thing for Sarah Michelle Gellar. Not because of her popular television show but just because I was a horny teen who thought she was really hot. So naturally I liked her in the role of the sexy porn star with the aggressive business plan. I think Mandy Moore was really good as the WASPy wife of Boxer Santaros. It was interesting to see these two actresses of the same popular teen era to play adult roles and do so well.

Beyond the big names there are several pop culture icon actors hidden within the film. Such as the “inconceivable!” guy from The Princess Bride, the little medium from the original Poltergeist, and even Kevin Smith pops up for a small role. These three, among others, make up a rich cast of supporting characters. I always think the cast of any film can make or break it and say what you want about this one but it has a really cool cast.

This movie is not for everybody and I can’t recall finding anybody else who has even seen it, let alone liked it. I like it though and I think it stands out for several reasons. I’m not going to get overly political because those days are long behind me now but when this movie came out things were different for me. Back in the days when I was more opinionated this movie stood out to me because of its message and I still like that message today.

Due to the nature of this movie’s controversy within my own home I won’t say whether it is worth your time or not. The battlelines have long since been drawn and opinions are dug in despite my efforts to force conciliation. If you can look past the low budget and the weirdness within then I’d be really interested to know what anyone else thinks about this movie. If you’ve seen it before and you are still with me in this review leave us a comment or send a message and share your own thoughts. If nothing else this is an interesting movie that deserves a bit of discussion. 

NEXT MOVIE: South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut (1999)