Friday, July 27, 2007

The summer of Do'h!

What to say about "The Simpsons Movie," the charming, irreverent, belly-tickling, enjoyable film version of America's favorite TV family?

Too much to say, really. Guess I will say this: Realize it or not, the venerable FOX franchise is a treasure. It's a rare sight in television anymore, an honest, satirical spoof of American life that is consistently entertaining.

And if it took about 14 years too long to get to the theater, which it did, the wait is worth it.

Here's the plot in a nutshell:

Homer does something stupid. The town goes nuts. His family chastises him. Homer sets about making things right.

Sound familiar?

At this point, all these episodes later, the appeal of the "Simpsons" lies in the experience, in the cherished one-liners and sight gags, rather than plot. We know what's going to happen. We expect it. Like the Coyote and the Road Runner, don't you dare change the format. The rub lies in the repetition.

What makes seeing the Simpsons on the big screen so much fun is the possibilities of the format. This is a big, expansive widescreen Cinemascope picture. We see Springfield from all angles. We get to hear our beloved characters spout things they can get away with in a PG-13 flick. We get to laugh for 87 minutes of commercial free fun.

Halls High teacher Tim Reeves and I saw the film during a midnight premiere at Regal Cinema's Pinnacle Theater at Turkey Creek. Place was packed. Few empty seats.

And somewhere through the laughing and the clapping I remembered why movies are so much better than TV. Films are meant to be a communal experience, a shared two hours in the dark with strangers. Watch the "Simpsons" in the isolation of your living room, and you have to call a buddy or hit the computer to experience fan reaction to the latest gag. At the movies, all you have to do is listen, and turn to your neighbor.

What I've always enjoyed about this fine cast of characters is how the show can simultaneously poke fun at, and reinforce, much about American life. Everything works out in the end. Co-creator James L. Brooks' gentle sensibility merges well with Matt Groening's anarchy. Nearly all of the show's best writers joined them here to create a script that is satisfying, if somewhat predictable.

Don't wait for this one to come out on DVD. Go see "The Simpsons Movie" at the big screen, where our lovable yellow-tinged pals deserve to be seen just this once.

After 18 years, chances are we won't be spending too many more Sunday nights with Springfield's famous family. And when they go, television -- and American satirical humor -- will be the worse for it.

"The Simpsons Movie" is now playing. It is rated PG-13 for language, irreverence and adult situations.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home