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Thursday, October 21, 2004

World Thought Police

A Movie Review/Rant

When I tell people that I saw "Team America: World Police" over the weekend, the question they ask first is "was it good?"

In this rant, I shall try to lay out my complicated feeling in this subject.

Act 1: We get introduced to all the characters, and see a lot of explosions.

Great; loved it. Trey and Matt claim that the movie is meant to be a satire on Bruckheimer style action films and throughout this first act they are spot-on! The music is great. Trey Parker has once again shown us his deft ability to satirize cheesy music. Like "Freedom Isn't Free" (a patriotic country song) or the rousing Team America fight song "America, F**k Yeah". Gems--pure gems. Add to that the absurdity of a marionette kung fu fight scene--comedy gold.

Act 2: Team America makes its biggest mistake, the Hero quits in disgrace -- and it looks like all is lost.

Not bad, as second acts go. The music is still good. Plenty of in-jokes for fans like Kim Jung Ill's "'re breaking my balls Hans, you're breaking my balls" line, which comes from of the "stem cell" episode of South Park. The capper of the act is a song aptly named "The End Of An Act", a love-lost power ballad, that spends half its time slamming Michael Bay and his craptacular film "Pearl Harbor".

Act 3: Mustering courage and faith, the disgraced Hero returns and saves the day.

Not so good. Here Trey and Matt become truly jingoistic in making their repetitive pet statement that the biggest obstacle in the war are...Hollywood actors (a fallacious argument that I will return to in a moment). Distracted as such, even the music value drops here--the main track being "Montage", which any fan of South Park will recall from the "Aspen" episode. I kept waiting for the song's lyrics to be different in some way...but I'm pretty sure it's the exact same song.

Now--there's a lot of talk on the web about Trey and Matt's political leanings. There's even a group of people labeled by the media as "South Park Republicans". South Park, in spite of its coarse language and base humor, often--though not constantly--communicates the Republican position on issues. A common theme on the show is celebrity, and how it damages the kids of South Park [read -- "US"]. Hollywood bigwigs are helpfully painted as assholes, psychos, whores, and idiots. When they come to town, they invariably ruin the lives of these "honest folks without temptation." This is a constant theme of Team America as well. Hollywood Actors are well-meaning egotists that force everyone to think like they do, and we are powerless to think for ourselves, or to stop them. Perhaps it's satire as well, but if so, Parker and Stone play that hand held very tightly to the chest.

Many people say that this movie mocks everyone equally. It's patently untrue. In a movie about the Republican-championed (and thus far, rather ineffectual) war on terror, not one member of the Republican administration is featured. Not one. No Rumsfield, no Ashcroft, no Cheney--no one. In the last act, there's a summit of the World's leaders, yet there is no representative of America. They are conspicuous in their absence. Oh, Team America does execute a marionette representing actress/liberal talkshow host Janeane Garofalo, and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is portrayed as a psychotic suicide bomber. But it's apparently beyond the pale to even include the Sainted Dubya in this little puppet film. Yet who else would be a more qualified puppet, I ask you?

So okay, Matt & Trey, you fucktards--listen up. If celebrity and fame preclude you from having a voice in this democracy, then you--and Rush Limbaugh--had better SHUT THE FUCK UP. If being an actor means that you are too stupid to be trusted, then we'd better do something about the governor of California right quick! Or is it only people that disagree with you that deserve to shotgunned in the face for standing up to be counted?

Fuck you, you Fucking Hypocrites.

That said...the soundtrack is great. Buy the soundtrack.

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