Back to Team America

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The Village Voice seeks to reassure its readers that Team America: World Police, the boffo all-puppet movie of the year, really does make fun of "Middle American slope-headedness" more than limousine liberalism. The wrap-up:

Because the movie doesn't trust the average American citizen, it's a sharper election year prod than The Manchurian Candidate. Parker and Stone aren't the first satirists to underestimate their own aggression or be accused of selling what they're telling us not to buy.

Whole thing here.

Reason's Brian Doherty gave a thumbs up to the first mass-market puppet sex show since Kukla, Fran & Ollie went off the air here.

NEXT: The End is Near

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  1. Most of the Reason staff is firmly in the “pussy” category.

  2. I’ve gone over and discussed the subtleties of Team America: World Police several times. Everytime I do, it suddenly dawns on me that I’m interpreting a puppet movie written by the same people responsible for Orgazmo. Then I realize that I’m wasting too much energy on this hilarious but shallow movie.

    In a season of politically charged movies, a lot of us wanted Team America to be a sharp-edged, insightful satire. What we got was a farce. Not a horrible farce, and certainly a laugh-out-loud funny farce, but a farce, nonetheless. Parker and Stone are playing a joke on the audience, and I think nothing amuses them more than righteous indignation at their treatment of “Hollywood Liberals” on one side and enthusiastic proclamations of the film being “the most patriotic movie of the year that really sticks it to the libs!” by right-wingers who take it a little too literally. The weaknesses in the movie come only from their own mediocrity as script-writers (which still puts them a step above plenty of other script-writers whose work makes it to the big screen), which regular viewers of South Park are already very familiar with.

  3. it’s a lot nicer than the other review they ran of it.

  4. Yeah, that Village Voice review is exactly what I’d expect from them. “No no, even though they mock and slaughter a bunch of Hollywood actors, they’re really sympathetic to their worldview.” I think not.

  5. I don’t know what bias I can infer from the movie, but I raughed hystericarry throughout most of the movie, and I wasn’t the onry one in the theater doing so.

  6. Joe M,

    That whooshing sensation you just felt on the top of your head? Don’t worry about it.

  7. Yeah the village voice nailed it(pshaw):

    “TAWP seems to me a fairly consistent attack on Middle American slope-headedness… their instinctive hatred for outspoken liberal celebrities, and of course, their ardor for Jerry Bruckheimer movies.”

    one of the opening scenes:
    My father
    (AIDS!)
    My sister
    (AIDS!)
    My uncle and my cousin and her best friend
    (AIDS AIDS AIDS!)
    The gays and the straights
    And the white and the spades

  8. Because of course it couldn’t BOTH criticize left-wingers AND right-wingers. It must be one or the other.

  9. Geez, I’ve never seen a movie with so many reviewers that just didn’t get the joke.

    It’s a puppet movie. It’s hilarious. That’s it. These people seem to think every single movie must have some important message. The only important message I took away from that movie was that puppets can act just as well as real people when it comes to big budget action movies. About half way through the movie I realized that the puppets were kicking the asses of, say, the cast of “Armageddon.”

  10. It was hillarious all around. The only thing it consistently parodied were cheesy action movies. It was a hillarious and silly movie. You should take it about as seriously as you should take BASEketball.

  11. Last night I was at the bar watching the Series, and there was “Team Trivia” going on…this is across the street from Columbia University (where the Federalist Papers were stricken from the core curriculum while the Communist Manifesto is still required reading for every undergrad)…and one of the teams was calling themselves “Team America: World Bitch.” …..(and as for criticizing the right and the left, I’d say they definitely came down wayyyyyy harder on the left…which is why these obviously anti-American trivia-playing pussies felt the need to name their team “Team America: World Bitch”…)

  12. I thought the “America: Fuck Yeah!” song pretty accurately captured the mentality of modern my-country-right-or-wrong types that populate the Republican party.

    I found it hilarious that all the foreign languages were giberish with a few real words thrown in(“No me gustaaaaa!”).

    I thought it was great that the location of all the foreign country was given in miles from America (“Panama, Central America. 2135 miles south of the real America”).

    I can’t see the movie as anything other than a stinging satire of the right-wing mentality. The not-so-funny part is that I bet a lot of my college republican friends wouldn’t understand that it was a satire.

    I’m not sure if the stabs at the left were meant to parody the rightwingers’ view of them or were serious. Probably both.

  13. This thread (and much of the discussion of TAWP) once again proves that you get out of a movie what you take into it.

  14. I agree with crimethink, TAWP was definitely a cracked mirror, reflecting back a shattered version of whatever the viewer brought to the movie. I’m trying to think of what words to use to describe what this movie is. The best I can come up with is that it is a reciprocal of itself, like those visual illusions that can be two different pictures depending on which part of the image mentally place in the foreground.

    Also, I can’t believe the puppets were doing the jackhammer. I don’t know if I’d want to see the other half of that sex scene which was cut to get under the NC-17 rating.

  15. Don’t worry, joe. I usually ignore hot air.

  16. After seeing the movie I have to say that, above all else, TAWP was mostly a parody of a Jerry Bruckhiemer movie. Yeah Matt and Trey took shots at both the left and right, but the entire movie was a shot at Buckhiemer and his crappy movies.

  17. “I can’t see the movie as anything other than a stinging satire of the right-wing mentality.”

    I think that says more about you than Team America.

  18. “…but the entire movie was a shot at Buckhiemer and his crappy movies.”

    Not to mention Gerry Anderson and his crappier puppets.

  19. Duh, the movie was a parody of the left-wing view of right-wing criticism of lefties. I can’t believe you all missed that. So stupid.

  20. I was laughing out loud during most of the movie, along with everyone else in the theater I saw it in. The movie is a parody of politics and of Jerry Bruckenheimer movies using marrionettes, and it’s extremely anti-PC.

    Screw the over-analyzing, and just enjoy the funniest, most original movie you’ll see this year.

  21. I think JDM may have something there. JJB too. I’ll know more after I get a chance to actually see the movie.

    My favorite part of the Village Voice review was this: “Of course, puppetry, a dramatic form with a built-in diegetic remove …” Of course, film reviews, a literary form with a built-in tendency to take itself too seriously …

  22. So, that’s called a “jackhammer”, eh?

    I loved the movie, but I was surprised that it was more ‘pro-US intervention’ than I expected.

    By the way, I will never eat pea soup again!

  23. Refreshing to see a movie make the point we’ve all been feeling for years:

    Celebrities are morons.
    Politicians are morons.
    Terrorists are morons.

    Anyone with the presumptuousness to think they know what’s best for me is a moron.

  24. Thanks to Team America, Durka is the new Smurf.

  25. I have to somewhat agree with the Ebert review more than anything else.

    There’s a difference between taking the brave contrarian position most Reasoners probably like to think of themselves entrenched in and being just plain old nihilistic. That’s basically what the movie amounted to. And it’s exactly the same reason that the Southpark movie was 100x better.

    Not that I hated it. As far as being a spoof of the action drama genre, it’s a funny-reference-a-second non stop machine gun. As far as it having any political or ideological weight to it whatsoever, you’ve got to be kidding me if you really believe that.

  26. “you’ve got to be kidding me if you really believe that.”

    I’m going to meditate on that a while…

  27. Good God … Is it that hard to realize that Parker and Stone wanted to go after everyone … relentlessly? The flag waving, globally ignorant, over patriotic right? Check. The peace loving, self-rightous and ignorant Hollywood left? Check. Stupid, stupid Hollywood blockbusters? C’mon now. What did I take from the movie? Terrorists are bad, the right is a collection of gung ho cowboys that will probbaly get us all killed, and the left is a bunch of peace loving pansies who will also get us all killed. It makes sense to me that the whole issue of global terrorism should be able to be resolved in a 90 minutes Hollywood satire featuring puppets.

    The most important thing to be learned from the movie? Puppet sex is much, much, much better than regular sex.

  28. The puppet sex scene gave me a woody.

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