May 29, 2015

filmsgraded.com:
South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
Grade: 77/100

Director: Trey Parker
Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman

What it's about. Set in a small town, and starring all your favorite characters from the television series. Grade school students sneak into a R-rated movie starring their Canadian counterculture heroes Terence and Philip. They emerge from the theaters spewing obscenities, outraging their parents.

Because it is a satire, things get worse rapidly. Kyle's mother successfully campaigns for a war against Canada. The carnage is enough to make a homosexual Satan rise from his underworld lair to rule the world, with Saddam Hussein as his weasely sidekick. Kenny dies, again.

How others will see it. A moderate box office success, a sequel was long expected but never arrived, due to the ceaseless demand for fresh episodes of the Comedy Channel series.

The big surprise was the movie received an Oscar nomination, for Best Song ("Blame Canada"). The South Park movie is a musical for those who despise musicals.

The big movie at the Annie Awards in 1999 was The Iron Giant. South Park's crude animation (some characters appear to be formed from construction paper) precluded major wins, but remember that what we hear is more important than what we see. The "Bullwinkle" cartoons looked crude but were hilarious nevertheless.

Today at imdb.com, the user vote total is a whopping 146K. The user ratings are high at 7.8 out of 10, but most voters knew what to be expect beforehand, due to the long-running comedy channel series. Those unable to appreciate the movie know better than to watch it.

Nonetheless, there is a steady decline among the user ratings with advancing age, from 8.1 under 18, to 7.3 over 45. It is also unsurprising that women like it slightly less, within every age group. Still, women over 45 grade it 7.0, relatively high given its subject matter.

It is safe to say that the movie is not for everyone. It is for cynics who believe that celebrities are vapid, and our leaders range from deeply flawed to incompetent.

How I felt about it. It's often very funny. There's no denying it. Everyone who sees it, excluding the bewildered or annoyed, has their own favorite moments. Mine is the brief appearances of Gandhi and Bill Gates, and a joke at the expense of Bryan Adams.

Trey Parker has obvious talent for satire, but if the targets are carefully scrutinized, most are comparatively safe. Saddam Hussein wasn't going to watch the movie in any event, and Satan probably doesn't care either. Placing Gandhi in Hell offends the entire nation of India, but there is a point to be made: if there is a Hell, we're all going. Not even innocent little Kenny gets a pass.

The characters Terence and Philip are stand-ins for Trey Parker and Matt Stone. They are preposterously rude and indifferent to any consequences, even if they face the electric chair, World War III, and armageddon.

The offensiveness of Terence and Philip leads to forces and counterforces that nearly destroy the planet. Is that an argument for censorship? Of course not. It's just satire from the intensively mined imagination of Trey Parker.

It also isn't always fair. Brooke Shields and Winona Ryder undoubtedly groaned when they learned of their "cameos," and perhaps the U.S. Army isn't interested in exterminating its own black soldiers. Surgeons wouldn't confuse a human heart with a baked potato. Parents aren't always shrill. Et cetera. But in a film where all targets are fair game, why should there be any exceptions?