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July 31, 2007



I have just seen this picture, and alas, I was disappointed. It had one or two strong reviews last summer, but almost nothing in it had the verve of a Simpsons TV script. Perhaps I mean 'a classic Simpsons TV script' - I imagine that people in the US or with more channels to their names have seen many more episodes than I have (some of them mediocre?), where I have mostly had to watch a slightly limited (and often superb) batch over and over. But the wit of the (classic) TV scripts can be - first time, even second or third time - boggling and awe-inspiring, the kind of comic thought that inspires admiration and shows you another way to see. I don't recall one line of that in this movie. It was somewhat compromised, anyway, by having to be accessible to people who don't have any real Simpsons experience, while also notionally being fairly consistent with the world of the TV series. More damagingly, I suppose, its narrative structure was so much that of any other Hollywood cartoon - to some extent, even many Hollywood non-cartoons; you could feel this with the surging adventure music around the climactic dome-blasting scene - whereas the TV show doesn't really follow any normal TV cartoon structure but has its own mazey pattern. But the main problem with the movie was not enough wit, precious few laughs.

I regret this conclusion; I wish this picture had been better. Maybe it *was* a bit better than that - maybe it could improve somehow on another viewing.


i've not yet seen the film, but perhaps something that's getting lost in your critiques of the films that PA discusses is ... i guess ... i mean, it's about being entertained, on a basic level. and you can say that you can't be entertained by somethign that is narratively compromised or whatever, but on another level, it's also just about letting go and not worrying so much about plot structure or faithfulness to 'the original' or whathaveyou, and just giving in to the pleasures of the screen.


I wish this movie had more pleasures to which one could give in. Like I said, it's just not that funny. And considering it has the Simpsons in it, that seems disappointing.

But as I also said, I hope another viewing might win me over a little. Maybe if you do see it you can report back on how entertaining or otherwise you think it is.


Example of the Simpsons being funny: I saw an old (1997) episode for the first time today (doubtless familiar to US viewers), where they go to NYC of all places. Lisa and Marge look in a shop window and marvel at shoes. Lisa: "oh ... I know they're made from dead animals ... but what beautiful shoes!"

Marge, with wan regret: "... If only I didn't already have a pair of shoes".

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  • If Ayn Rand and Walter Benjamin got in a cage fight and then made up over foie gras, single malt scotch and indie pop, you'd have the delightful adventures of "That Was Probably Awkward." Plus or minus the single malt and foie gras, depending on the week's finances. But always the indie pop. Sad, stirring indie pop. And a decent happy hour.

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