1999; Rated R; 80 Minutes
Trey Parker: Cartman, etc.
Matt Stone: Kennie, etc.
Issac Hayes: Chef
Anne Garefino, Deborah Liebling, Trey Parker, Scott Rudin,
Adam Schroeder and Matt Stone; Directed by Trey Parker;
Screenwritten by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam
by DAVID KEYES
biggest crime that Trey Parker and Matt Stone could ever
commit would be re-releasing last year's "Orgazmo" to theaters.
Since that is impossible (no one makes the same mistake
intentionally), this leaves room for them to violate movie
audiences in a much different way. Now comes the motion
picture adaptation of their Comedy Central show "South Park,"
which will undoubtedly bring in countless moviegoers, since
it opens on the same day as the shameless remake of "Wild
Wild West" starring Will Smith. Since the Parker/Stone film
is rated "R" most appropriately, I imagine "Wild Wild West"
will see greater ticket sales, with hopeless youngsters
buying the tickets to see it, only to sneak into this raunchy
cartoon. The money may be with the old west, but the crowd
will assuredly be in the South Park.
that they can be blamed--the Comedy Central show is so popular
with the teenage audiences, they would rather risk sneaking
in instead of sitting through the Barry Sonnenfield blockbuster
crap. Do they have the right? I dunno. If they want to see
it that bad, they might as well risk having a parent take
them to it, although anyone over the age of 25 will probably
be completely turned off by all of the racial stereotypes
and disgusting mishaps that befall these animated characters.
As for the teenagers, they will be familiarized with the
whole setup, with what mature subject matter the show carries.
Whether or not they will be surprised by all the vulgarity
depends on how many uncensored episodes they have actually
the series is a different story. The movie is shocking,
bizarre, tasteless trash that barely escapes an "NC-17"
(by three cut scenes, actually). And yet this is trash that
has value. Behind all those cuss words, all those satirical
situations and nasty exhibitions is a clear view of human
nature and society repugnance. People are really like this.
Even in the most unbelievable plot twists, there's a hint
of real life or believability. Take the Satan/Hussein affair
into context, for instance. We see that the Arab man is
horny, and that the devil wants not sex, but a meaningful
relationship. The audience responds to this situation any
way they can, in order to seem surprised: people scratch
their heads, laugh, smile, chuckle--whatever it takes. But
think: is it that difficult to imagine Hussein with the
gives us a movie that provokes a sense of nourishment to
those who feel the United States house is using violence
in the movies as a scapegoat for violent decisions. Ever
since April, when several teens opened fire in a school
and severely injured, and even killed, others, our movies
have been blamed for their actions. This, given the fact
that the President is trying to exclude violence in the
cinema, has generated an uproar, and even a limit, to what
we see in the theater. "South Park" is a frontal attack
to their judgments, a vehicle that, even though it demonstrates
every loathsome characteristic of the human personality,
shows us that movies are not responsible for the horrible
decisions people make. It could not have arrived at a better
story starts when a new movie arrives in South Park--the
Terrence & Philip flick tentatively titled "Asses Of Fire"
has an "R" rating, and our four young heroes (Kyle, Kenny,
Cartman and Stan) are not allowed to see it. Yet this is
their favorite television show. The solution: con a bum
into being their adult guardian so they can get into the
theater. Afterwards, they slew out obscenities and remarks
that amaze their parents and friends (a hint of "Kids Say
the Darndest Things"). This angers Kyle's mother, who is
so overreactional on the TV show that she could have Barney
thrown over a building if it meant keeping her son away
from the negative things. Thus, she sponsors the large campaign
"Mothers against Canada," wages war on the production team
of "Asses of Fire," and sentences the two stars Terrence
& Phillip to death.
the movie gives its youngsters their establishing purpose.
They have to stop the possible execution of their beloved
TV stars. Of course, in the process, Kenny dies, and his
friends shout "you bastard!" to the one who committed the
crime, and of course, we see him in hell afterwards, discovering
that Hussein and Satan are lovers. Just hearing these plot
descriptions will amaze my readers. Can you imagine a room
packed with people over the age of 30, watching these events
taken place, especially when most haven't even seen the
TV show? You'd think they would feel ashamed for even going.
However, I fear that, like me, they will be more ashamed
for laughing their heads off at all the negative energy
produced by their creators.
what do we get with all this vulgarity, shock and indignity,
other than cringes and laughs? One of the best films of
the year, that's all. It will offend and disgust, no doubt,
buteven more importantly, it will keep people laughing so
loud that they will forget about what they were offended
and disgusted by. Not many films, namely comedies, can give
the viewers reason to dismiss obviously tasteless qualities.
Significantly with "South Park," the dialogue, the themes,
the violence, the shrewd remarks and back-stabbing insults
are aspects of filmmaking that are implied because moviegoers
laugh at vulgarity, and liked to be shocked. Had this movie
been live action, no one could dismiss the raunchy language.
The film succeeds in this way because it's a cartoon, and
kids can get away with cussing because they aren't really
kids. Heck, this is animation: who says that a "G" rating
is the absolute limit?
1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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