Friday, October 29, 2004

America! F*** yeah!

Admittedly, the censoring in the title is a bit unnecessary, especially given the language that will undoubtedly follow. But it's my post so, to quote Bill the Cat (though I believe Opus also uses this idiom): thppfft!

ALSO, if you might be offended by crude language, sexual references, sexual marrionette references and/or vomit, I suggest you not read any further.

I saw Team America: World Police on Monday night with The Girl. It's from South Park geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It also has some famous producer or other whose name IMDB won't cough up. Too bad. Wait, I just remembered - I think it might be the guy who did The Matrix. Ah ha! After some searching I was able to find out that Bill Pope, who worked on The Matrix and Spider-Man 2 among others, was the Cinematographer. Excellent work, Bill!

(Modified) IMDB Plot Summary:
Team America, an international police force dedicated to maintaining global stability, learns that terrorists are threatening to use weapons of mass destruction. The heroes embark upon a harrowing mision to save the world. To infiltrate the terrorist network, Team America recruits Gary Johnston, a rising star on Broadway to go undercover. Although initially reluctant to sacrifice his promising career, Gary realizes that his acting gifts is needed for a higher cause. With the help of Team America (Chris, Sarah, Lisa, Joe and Spottswoode), Gary slips into an arms dealer's hideout where he discovers that the terrorists' plot has already begun to unfold.
First off, this is a hysterical movie. Absolutely, positively, side-splitting funny. If I'd been drinking milk at the time, I would have snorted and laughed it out my nose. (So it's a good thing I wasn't drinking milk as the reaction is probably not terribly endearing, especially were it to occur in the presence of The Girl.) Well, to be fair, it wasn't always funny and always roaringly hilarious, but the two of us were laughing out loud (LOL in AIM-speak) regularly.

Why did we find it to be so funny? 'Cause it's a funny movie, damnit! No seriously, it was funny but not to everyone. We found it damn amusing for various aspects that were not funny on their own but only funny if you were willing to suspend all seriousness and just take them for what they were. E.g. Early on there's a death scene. That in itself isn't funny. But what is funny is the way it's shot, the way the woman kneeling over the body looks up to the sky (the shot then switches to one looking down at her, as has been done many times for many death scenes in many other films) and screams "NOOOOOOO!!!!" while crying. Just funny for its.. mocking of those types of scenes. Lots of things like that. Including a computer whose screen looks like a modified smiley face. See!!! Funny!!!!!

Granted, there's a lot of political mumbo-jumbo thrown in. Things like the organization F.A.G. (the Film Actor's Guild) headed up by "the best actor ever," Mr. Alec Baldwin. Then the numerous cameos including an irate Michael Moore and a Matt Damon who can only repeat his name in a voice that sounds like he's a special ed. student. (I'm too P.C. conscious to just say he sounds retarded. Though he does.) Okay, well those aren't political so much as petty, vicious and terribly amusing but the political items are there too. The movie isn't outright for or against "the war" though it does tend to lean, overall, towards a message that sometimes you need to wage war to secure peace. Mind you Team America destroys all of the world's treasures (e.g. the Sphinx, the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids, etc.) and incurs the wrath of foreign nations and peoples in the process. See, irony! Fun! Humor!

Also, as you should be aware, the whole movie is done with puppets. Very complicated, electronicly-endowed puppets. And lots of puppeteers. As compared with Parker and Stone's previous work with South Park, the puppets work MUCH better than animation. The movie comes across as more serious, more realistic, more.. believable. There's no complete and utter suspension of disbelief, just a setting aside of any acceptance that the movie may accurately reflect real life. The puppets work. Though that gratuitous puppet sex scene is just gratuitous. Which, of course, is probably why it's in there. The audience really does not need to watch 3-4 minutes of really poor puppet porn. Not tasteful.

Which dovetails into one of my final remarks. At times, Team America is strikingly South-Park-like. Certain events or aspects just feel like the TV show in its humor, uncouthness or sheer impropriety. The easiest example is an extended vomiting scene. Completely uncalled for and unnecessary. Completely South-Park-esque. Utterly.

And yet despite the puke, swearing and puppet sex (or perhaps because of), I liked this movie. It was fun! It was entertaining! It's been a bit since I saw a movie this funny, that had me (and The Girl, too) regularly laughing and/or groaning and/or sighing in disgust. If you're a South Park fan, enjoy that kind of satirical humor or are interested in a comedy commenting on the war in Iraq, check this one out! (And if you think you may be offended by some part of this film, don't waste your time or mine.)


Here are some amusing quotations, courtesy of IMDB. Note that I'm including the one about dicks, pussies and assholes. Why? 'Cause it's damn funny, especially when presented seriously (as it is in the movie). And it shouldn't spoil anything. And if it does, too bad.
Spottswoode: There's no "I" in "Team America!"
Intelligence: Yes there is.

Gary Johnston: A flying limo? Now I've seen everything.
Spottswoode: Have you ever seen a man eat his own head?
Gary Johnston: What?! No!
Spottswoode: So you *haven't* seen everything.

Sean Penn: Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up it was a happy place. They had flowering meadows and rainbow skies and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

Terrorist: You have balls. I like balls.

Lisa: Promise me you'll never die.
Gary Johnston: You know I can't promise that.
Lisa: Promise me you'll never die and I'll make love to you right now.
Gary Johnston: I promise I'll never die.

Song: [Song] America, fuck yeah! Comin' again to save the motherfucking day, yeah! / America, fuck yeah! Freedom is the only way, yeah! / Terrorists, your game is through, 'cause now you have to answer to / America, fuck yeah! So lick my butt and suck on my balls! / America, fuck yeah! What you gonna do when we come for you now!

Gary Johnston: We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes. Assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate. And it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves. Because pussies are an inch and half away from assholes. I don't know much about this crazy crazy world, but I do know this. If you don't let us fuck this asshole we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit.
Lisa : [to Gary] You had me at "dicks fuck assholes".