Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Once again, Mr. Fugstat sends in a review; this time of Team America: World Police. As one might be aware from an earlier post, TA:WP was a huge favorite of mine, and an antidote to everything that poured out of the Left's cultural apparatus during the past election. As an aside, the movie works precisely because it is a riff on the old Thunderbirds puppet action/adventure series. Of course, Lady Penelope never got a sound rogering from Jeff Tracy.
Without further ado, I'll hand it over to Mr. Fugstat:
“Team America: World Police” is the latest feature film by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame/infamy. Before I talk about this movie, let me talk about talking about movies. Here’s my rule …
Reaction trumps ideation.
If something makes me laugh, I won’t think about it afterwards and then say “Oh no, I shouldn’t have laughed at that,” and wipe the smile off my face. Funny is funny.
So here’s my reaction:
This is a pretty @#$@# funny movie. Smart too. Functions on beaucoup levels …
On one level, it functions as a perfect-pitch send-up of the action genre. (ParkerStone’s rule while making this — When in doubt, ask yourself: “WWJBD?” or “What Would Jerry Bruckheimer Do?” ) So, there’s a team of anti-terrorists, a reluctant hero who joins the team, a woman he falls in love with who’s reluctant to love him back because she doesn’t wanna see him get killed like her last boyfriend, a guy who hates the new guy because of his backstory, an assortment of evil villains (Kim Jong-il, assorted towelheaded Arab terrorists who mutter shit like, “Durka, durka jihad” in pseudomiddleeastern dialect, all the trendy lefty PC actors — Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Janeane Gerafalo, etc., who are all proud members the Film Actors Guild, or “F.A.G.”), a craggy leader who smokes and drinks cocktails and zips around in an irritating mechanical chair, perfectly timed action beats, a secret fortress in Mount Rushmore, lots of shit that gets blown up. Like any good caricature, it’s insulting because it does resemble the subject. Here, it’s so close to a real “actioner” (I put it in quotes because I really hate that word) you could use it as a textbook for making one.
On another level, it pokes fun at the mentality of the right, reduced to its most simpleminded form – “Team America” is a squad of asskickers who saves the ungrateful world’s collective ass from the forces of evil; only fags have a problem with it. They take this attitude, then graft it onto the action film template. It’s funny, because the right tends to see the world in action film terms anyway.
ParkerStone satirize the right’s attitude by pretending to hold a more extreme version of it, an old comic strategy. The “National Lampoon” crowd used to do it. So did Jonathan Swift. But that’s not all they’re doing.
On yet another level, they have some sympathy with the right’s attitude. The leftist Hollywood types are maybe 10% caricatures of rightwing attitudes about Hollywood and 90% caricatures of leftist Hollywood types. These PC puppets open their mouths and spout retarded mindfog. (The Garafalo puppet notes, “It’s our duty to read articles in the newspaper and pass them off as our own opinions.”) The joke is clearly on the trendy leftists here. A die-hard (and not-too-trendy) 60s leftist I know is pissed at that fact …
But I laughed.
Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did — in the steamy puppet sex bit, I was pounding the chair and having a fit. Reaction trumps ideation …
But what ideas are we talking about here? Are ParkerStone really saying anything? Are they taking any stand?
You could say these guys are waffling and having it both ways – “Which side are you on?” and all that. Yeah, yeah, OK. But there’s a problem with taking sides in a polarized culture: anytime you do, half the country stops listening to you. The “South Park” boys take both stands and attack both sides. You could say they don’t stand for anything, but they do. It’s all there in that over-the-top speech the hero picks up from the bum at the bar. I’m not sure how family-friendly CJ’s blog is, so I’ll skip the filthy definition of terms and skip to the conclusion:
America can be a real dick sometimes.
But there are times that’s just what the world needs.