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The Simpsons Movie Review
by the Fanboy
WORST ANYTHING EVER
Not MY Simpsons!!!
I know I called Spider-Man 3 the worst anything ever, but I admit I was wrong about that because I did not anticipate The Simpsons Movie to be as bad as it was. Oh, I used to be a fan of The Simpsons. The keyword in that sentence being 'used'. Once Sam Simon and Conan O'Brien stopped writing for the show (they wrote 90% of the 'classic' episodes), it took a turn for the worse. The MUCH, MUCH worse. David "Smirkin'" Mirkin and Mike "The Dark Lord" Scully both ruined the show by turning what was once an emotional, dramatic show into 22 minutes of jokes and physical comedy. How dare they! The only time physical comedy works is never, unless it was in the seasons of The Simpsons I liked. There was a brief reprieve of the badness in Seasons 7 and 8 (Oakley and Weinstein get emotion, and they weren't overzealous in putting 'jokes' in the comedy when there had to be some emotion), but after Season 3 it was pretty much all terrible and intolerable. Hell, The Simpsons now makes Family Guy look better in comparison, and I hate Family Guy's crumbummery. So my hopes for the movie were quite low. And wouldn't you know, the braintrust behind the production managed to disappoint even my lowest of expectations.
It's no surprise considering the kind of people who wrote the screenplay. David "Homer in Space" Mirkin. Mike Scully. Matt Groening (the hack who totally stole credit from Sam Simon). Mike Scully. Al Jean (overrated). Mike Reiss (a greasy Italian). Matt Selman. Ian HAXTONE-Graham. George "Hack" Meyer. The only good writer of the lot is James L. Brooks, yet I bet all of his jokes and story suggestions (EMOTIONAL ONES, NO DOUBT) were outweighed by Scully and Mirkin wanting to see Homer get a hammer in the eye. Not to mention Haxtone-Graham's desire to take a shit on ALL the loyal fans who paid to see the movie by marginalizing their viewpoints and putting in jokes and material longtime fans didn't necessarily approve of - like Otto smoking from a bong or Crazy Cat Lady showing up at all. These writers never stop to think about the laws of physics or minute details; they care more about what's 'funny'. Funny? THE SIMPSONS IS ABOUT BEING EMOTIONAL, NOT FUNNY! I didn't see anyone laughing during "Lisa's Substitute".
The plot shouldn't be hard to figure out for anyone aware of the show's decline these past 15 years. Most shows these days involve Lisa on a hippie liberal cause, or Homer getting a new job, or Homer and Marge experiencing marital strife. Due to the need for a long plotline in the movie, this plot contains elements of all three. Way to be creative, writers! Homer takes in a pig and hilarity does not ensue. Meanwhile, Lisa points out the pollution in Springfield's lake and how if it is not stopped it will cause major problems for the environment. She got that opinion from Green Day (AKA another pointless celebrity cameo, and the first in this film, but definitely not the last)! Typical liberal. Springfield decides to clean up the lake, but Homer dumps his pig crap in the lake, further polluting it and turning the whole city into a biohazard. He's also alienated himself from Bart, who now sees Flanders as an ideal father figure. FINALLY, SOMETHING APPROACHING EMOTION! Too bad it's completely wasted, as the storyline gets shunted to the side while President Schwarzenegger (you heard me) orders the EPA to put a protective dome around Springfield in order to keep the pollution contained.
Do I even need to mention how completely wacky that is? It makes no sense! A REAL President would never do that to a city, no matter how polluted or flooded. The denizens of Springfield eventually find out Homer was behind the pollution, and they form a mob to kill the Simpsons. Sounds more than a bit out of character for Springfield, who have never killed the Simpsons before. So why would they kill the Simpsons now? Again, a lack of common sense throughout the entire script. The Simpsons escape danger through some sort of MAGICAL sinkhole and move to Alaska after Homer somehow wins a motorcycle at a carnival. Don't ask me. Oh, I forgot one of the standard Simpsons 2 plots used over and over again! "The Simpsons are going to...[insert place here]" How could I ever forget?! Alaska is far down on the list of desirable locations, but considering the family already went to Canada, Australia, Brazil, Africa, England, France, Italy, Japan, China...there are not many choices left for the writers to meanly mock the citizens of a certain region. After a lot of padding and time wasting in Alaska, Marge and the children decide to leave in order to save Springfield, which Schwarzenegger and one-dimensional EPA bad guy plan on blowing up. Homer doesn't want to leave, so Marge breaks up with him - for good. Like we haven't heard that before. BORING.
Homer goes through a spirit journey, ripping off a Season 8 episode which was already too wacky (Johnny Cash is no coyote!), then goes back to Springfield just in time to disable the bomb set up by Russ Cargill (the EPA guy) to blow up Springfield and turn it into the Second Grand Canyon, as seen in a commercial with SPECIAL GUEST STAR TOM HANKS. THE MOVIE IS MORE LIKE TOM HANKS MOVIE GUEST STARRING SIMPSONS!! Bart, despite having grown closer to Flanders, helps Homer in stopping the bomb. They use the motorcycle Homer won earlier. Bah. CONTRIVED. Homer and Bart dispose of the bomb and, with some help from Deus Ex Maggchina, Cargill. The disposal of the bomb also shatters the dome and kills Dr. Nick (more on that later). Everything is exactly the same as when it started! What a gyp. Do the writers even WANT to change the show in a manner I find acceptable and not going against the tight continuity of the show's first 3 seasons? I'm beginning to think they don't.
There are so many plots holes in this movie that you can drive a truck through them. For example, whatever happened to Homer's pig? What, are we supposed to believe he magically disappeared and was never mentioned for the rest of the film? Since when was the Church right next to Moe's Tavern? Did we just not see Moe's between the Church and King Toot's all this time? Since when is Moe's called "Moe's Bar"? Did I miss a Season 18 episode which had a plot about Moe changing the name of his tavern?! And are we meant to believe the whole of Springfield can be covered by a dome, despite the fact that West Springfield is three times the size of Texas? It makes no sense, unless it was some sort of a magical xylodome. Also, at the beginning of the movie, as Scratchy climbs down the ladder, we can clearly see that he has no tail. However, once he reveals himself, he has a tail. I can't even begin to explain to you all the sorts of magical musical instruments that would be needed for the writers to remove themselves from that blunder. This sort of sloppy work may be appreciated by people who watch for the comedy, but I'm not one of those people. I have HIGHER STANDARDS. And I expect, when I'm watching a feature film, for said film to have perfect continuity between every shot in the 90 minutes running time. I will not stand for minor errors!
To make matters worse, continuity between the series and the movie changed in that the writers killed off Dr. Nick, one of the cornerstones of the entire series. Perhaps the '6th' Simpson, if you will. Before Hibbert became Jerkass Gangsta Hibbert, Dr. Nick was the incompetent doctor of Springfield and as such played many roles, from Bart's doctor, to Homer's doctor, to Homer's doctor. He even spawned his own catchphrase, in which he said "Hi, everybody" and everybody would say "Hi, Dr. Nick!" in response (the catchphrase is cruelly mocked in his final line). Who could be so callous, so careless as to kill off a character with unlimited potential for no reason other than to make the film seem 'important' within the oeuvre of the series? Or, even worse, kill off a beloved character recognized by millions for the sake of a 'joke'? Al Jean, David Mirkin, Mike Scully or Ian Haxtone-Graham. My point is, giving Dr. Nick such a lack of a send-off (his death is treated as a 'joke' within the movie) shows just how The Simpsons have gone from an emotional show about family togetherness to torture porn where the audience laughs when a beloved citizen of the town dies a gruesome, horrible, awful death. I'm surprised The Simpsons hasn't teamed up with Eli Roth yet!!!
The vast majority of the so-called 'humor' of this mess centers around - what else? - Homer being hurt. Homer being hurt by all things! His hammer, the roof, a motorcycle, his pet pig, and so on. I remember a time when OUR FAVORITE FAMILY didn't solely base its humor of seeing a loving family man in pain. Then crumbums like Mirkin and Scully showed up and starting putting Homer Simpson in fights and violence and such. They clearly wanted the show to pander to the lowest common denominator, because before Homer started getting hit with things, only college professors and scientists watched the program. Now? Children. Middle class people. The poor. THE WHOLE FAMILY. Psh! I didn't start watching it in the first place to see other people enjoy it! My passive-aggressiveness elitism is worth nothing if the programs I enjoy become hotbeds for popularity and lowest common denominator thinking. So as I was saying, the pain gags marked a more mainstream turn, and now The Simpsons is basically one long pain gag, a style reflected in the movie. Laughing at people's pain is sadistic and proof of a future of serial killing if you laugh at an unsuccessful gorge jump or dogs mauling Homer. I FIND IT UNACCEPTABLE, THEREFORE IT'S WRONG.
When the movie's not doing pain gags, it focuses on a lot of adult material NOT suitable for children, and a lot of leftist political satire I don't appreciate or understand. Matt "Comrade" Groening and all his Hollywood buddies clearly want to paint the Republicans as bad guys who want to destroy American cities and eavesdrop on people. I highly doubt the head of a government agency would use his position of power to earn money for himself and his friends to the detriment of the American people. I'm trying to watch an alleged comedy, not SCIENCE FICTION. Plus, what the hell was with President Schwarzenegger? Unless there's some sort of magical Simpsons universe only amendment changing the requirements for election to the Presidency, there's no possible way for Schwarzenegger to be President. And the inclusion of him into the universe completely, utterly and FOREVER ruins the classic character of Rainier Wolfcastle, as they look the same except for different colored hair. WAY TO DESTROY THE SERIES, WRITERS. Speaking of destroying the series, The Simpsons Movie, I kid you NOT, shows Bart's genitalia. Not only does this count as child pornography, it's definitely not the kind of joke that should be in this movie. I expect this kind of thing from Jerry Springer, not OUR FAVORITE FAMILY.
Of course with Haxtone and Selman at the helm, the characters do not at all act in character. Or appear in the correct amount of screentime. Skinner gets one line, yet Comic Book Guy has three scenes of dialogue? No lines for Superintendent Chalmers? A mere two scenes of Mr. Burns, who by all rights should have been the villain? No Sideshow Bob appearance (although I personally believe his character jumped the shark when it was revealed he framed Krusty for armed robbery)? Instead of those great characters, Green Day and Tom Hanks show up. It's like the writers threw the first several seasons out the window and wrote it based on their own preferences. As a result of unchecked writer aggression, Homer is a jerkass, Bart's pranks are way too mean, Lisa is Cindy Sheehan/Nancy Pelosi, and Itchy and Scratchy talk instead of being mute except for screams of pain and laughing. I'm not sure if you can even technically call it a Simpsons movie, due to how out of character the entire cast is and how underused certain characters are. Most of Springfield got only a line each at most, while the movie squandered about 1/3rd of the running time in Alaska. I don't want to see Alaska, I want to see Barney's Bowl-O-Rama!
A lot of people who 'loved' The Simpsons Movie will no
doubt say "But Fanboy, emotion was in this, from the Homer/Marge conflict to
Bart finding a father figure in Flanders." I may contend that point, but it's
obscured by the larger issue - the emotion ISN'T THE TYPE OF EMOTION I WANT TO
SEE. The emotion here is corny, treacly and hacky, the kind I NEVER saw in the
classic years of The Simpsons OR the classic year of Futurama. A
very special guest star giving an inspirational message to Lisa? Genius. Marge
not being able to take Homer's selfishness anymore and finally deciding to move
on, proving this by taping over their wedding video? TERRIBLE. Fry's dog waiting
for him until his death? Not at all manipulative and corny. Flanders being nice
to Bart and Bart being surprised, even going so far as to wish he was Ned
Flanders' son? GARBAGE I HATE I HATE IT I HATE IT. Why couldn't James L. Brooks
tear himself away for a few moments to craft an ending as innovative and
inspired as "Lisa's Substitute"? I think I've realized the difference between
the good emotion and the bad emotion. The good emotion was written in the past,
and the bad emotion written in the present. O...of course! OF COURSE! Somehow, a
time traveling wizard of some kind made it impossible for ANY good emotion to
occur on The Simpsons sometime in 1992 or 1993! Well, all we have to do
now is go back in time, retcon it, and soon the
Animation would normally be thought of as the one saving grace of The Simpsons if the script wasn't too good, but the animation sucks as much, if not more than the script of this putrid, soulless excuse of a movie. Instead of animating the entire thing at one studio, which would have maintained CONTINUITY, the geniuses behind "Spider-Pig" gave the animation duties to FOUR studios. Four studios?! Including Rough Draft, a studio which never worked on the show before? BAH! If you're going to do that, you might as well change all the voices and have Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David write the script. Animation continuity is extremely important, and you're not gonna get the right amount if you farm it out to 4 different studios. You're going to end up with, well, this. The animation departs greatly from the series I know and used to love. For instance, now characters have 'shadows'. Why do they need shadows? Exactly. They don't. It's just The Simpsons guys trying to appear 'edgy' to the audience. I don't buy it, nor do I buy the quasi-CGI in some of the shots. IF "LISA'S SUBSTITUTE" DIDN'T REQUIRE IT...
Interviews with the writers have stated the movie went through over 100 drafts. I'm surprised it went through so many drafts and still sucked (which it clearly does in its final form). Maybe the writers should have spent more time on crafting emotion and a story that doesn't totally rip off classic Conan episodes instead of writing 157 versions of the Spider-Pig song (THE CORRECT TERM IS 'SPIDER-HAM'). Rest assured, within minutes of seeing the film, I was texting my negative review to the NoHomers Club, the one Simpsons forum that doesn't suck up to the show and doesn't not send death threats to Mike Scully's wife and children. The Simpsons needs to end very soon, because I'm tired of having to watch a show I hate, and I'm especially tired of having to go to the theater 5 times every time FOX puts out a movie version. I wish FOX would finally someday see the wisdom of cancelling an incredibly popular show that earns them millions of dollars every year just because I don't like it.
How many drinks do I need for this to be good?: 200