A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

July 29, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

The Simpsons Movie: Having not watched The Simpsons regularly in a good 8 years or so, I was indifferent to the idea of a Simpsons movie. I didn't stop watching the show due to a perceived lack of quality or anything like that. No, it was more apathy and laziness. I mean, it's a good show and all, but you sort of lose the sense of urgency to watch something when it's been on for 18 years and is readily available in syndication.* You just figure it will always be there. If I miss all of Season 16, oh well. I can always pick it up in Season 28 and not miss a beat. It's not like I'm missing any character growth (figuratively or literally) if I skip a few seasons here and there.

Having said that, The Simpsons Movie is a blast. It's quick, witty and consistently funny, which is all you can really ask for. The plot concerns Homer having to save Springfield after one of his "D'oh" moments leads to the government (led by President Schwarzenegger), and the EPA quarantining the town in a giant bubble. As you can imagine, animated hilarity ensues.

The movie is not afraid to poke fun at itself** or it's parent company, with a spoof of the Fox News Crawl providing one of the many highlights. No sacred cows here. While there aren't any 'punch yourself in the dick' moments of comedy, it does get away with some edgy stuff you wouldn't see on TV, and there are plenty of big laughs to be had amidst a sea of chuckles. My one complaint would be that we don't get enough of the supporting cast, with most of the focus being on the family members. The other townspeople are relegated to one or two lines at most, though they do tend to make the most of them.***

This is a movie that is sure to please not only the die hard Simpsons fans, but also the casual ones (like me) and even the handful of people left on the planet who have never seen the show and unwittingly stumble into the wrong theatre. (Huh, this ain't Daddy Day Camp!) This one is definitely worth your D'oh. I think that it may even get me watching the show again, at least until my apathy gets the best of me.

Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Thunderbolts Out of 5

*The same thing has happened with Family Guy. Love the show, but I always forget to watch the new ones.
**At one point early on, Homer laments aloud, "Why would anyone pay for something they can see for free?"
***My personal favorite is by Ralph Wiggum, who after seeing a nude Bart skateboard past him comments, "I like men now."

Rescue Dawn
: Going in, this one seemingly had everything going for it. All of the ingredients were there. Christian Bale. Jungle setting. True life tale of survival. War. Directed by Werner Herzog, who brought the world Grizzly Man, one of my favorite documentaries ever. I figured that if there was ever a movie that I was predispositioned to love, this was it.

Boy was I wrong. It's uneven, bizarre and just plain boring. Listen, I'm sensitive to the fact that it had to be rough being a POW. I can't even imagine. Your sanity would clearly be tested. But for a good portion of the movie, you just sit here and listen to the bearded prisoners, who have clearly lost their minds, talk crazy to each other and shit their pants. If I want to see and hear those types of things, I'll just hop on the El Train. Like Homer Simpson laments, 'Why would anyone pay for something that they can see for free?'

There are maddening decisions like ditching a working radio walkie talkie after your plane crashes just so that the enemy doesn't use your radio to send out fake distress signals. Ok, I understand that, but don't ditch your radio before you're even caught! Unacceptable. Or ditching your guns because they are kind of bulky and heavy. No. Don't do that. That's just poor decision making.

The guy behind me was sawing logs like a champ about halfway through and then woke up with a startle and left with 5 minutes left in the movie. Rescue Yawn indeed.

Thunder Matt Rating: 2 Thunderbolts Out of 5