The Simpsons Movie

Review No. 395

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The Bottom Line: The best episode of the greatest American TV show still around. I said it.

Directed by: David Silverman
Screenplay by: James L. Brooks and Matt Groening & Al Jean and Ian Maxtone-Graham & George Meyer and David Mirkin & Mike Reiss and Mike Scully & Matt Selman and John Swartzwelder & Jon Vitti
Based on: “The Simpsons” by Matt Groening and James L. Brooks & Sam Simon
Homer Simpson: Dan Castellaneta
Marge Simpson: Julie Kavner
Bart Simpson: Nancy Cartwright
Lisa Simpson: Yeardley Smith
Other Voices: Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer

Distributed by 20th Century Fox on July 27, 2007. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 86 mins. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for irreverent humor throughout.

The Simpsons Movie was watched on January 19, 2013.

Bart: “You didn’t bring my pants?”
Homer: “Who am I, Tommy Bahama?”
Bart: “Ohhh. This is the worst day of my life.”
Homer: “The worst day of your life so far!”

The Simpsons isn’t a TV sitcom about a dysfunctional family. It’s actually about the entire town of Springfield, where inhabitants are any demographic from comic book fanatics; to rednecks; to wealthy octogenarians; to quirky, religious next door neighbors. The humor is never selective. When it’s well written–and only on the rarest occasion is it not–it’s bound to appeal to almost anyone and everyone.

Look in the Oxford English Dictionary for “D’oh!” You will find it, all thanks to The Simpsons. And knowing all this, The Simpsons is far more than an animated TV series, per se. It’s a phenomenon that began as an animated sketch on The Tracey Ullman Show, before Matt Groening liberated it into a grand, hysterical world of its own just before Christmas of 1989. Yes, a world of its own, often representing the missteps of ours. The Simpsons is currently facing its 23rd season; for it to suddenly end would be an apocalypse.

I’ve taken every permitting chance to make it clear that I am a diehard fan of The Simpsons. I’ve seen every episode from seasons one, twenty, twenty-one, and twenty-two, and it was only shortly after I became a fan that I set a goal: to see every episode before I kick the bucket (I have some time to check that off the list).

Recently, I watched The Simpsons Movie for the ninth time. It’s amazing how although the humor its quite predictable by now, and I have at least half the screenplay absorbed into my psyche, I’m still picking up on subtleties I hadn’t in my eighth viewing, and perhaps laughing even harder than before.

What’s even more amazing is how well done the film is. I never saw The Simpsons Movie during its time in the theaters, back in summer of 2007, but I remember seeing each trailer as if it were yesterday. The film was advertised as eighteen years in the making. Whether Matt Groening had actually proposed a film adaptation right around the series’ genesis, few can quite know, but considering that a significant drop in the series’ humor came with the new millennium, the claim is quite probable.

The Simpsons Movie takes a humble approach in its story. It really isn’t much different than any other Simpsons episode, except it runs a feature length and is as witty as the best moments in the program. While his daughter is advocating for Springfield’s environment, Homer takes the liberty of saving a pig from being butchered, keeping it as a pet, pampering it…and dumping a massive silo of its feces in the already polluted lake.

These events are precipitated by Grampa Simpson’s chaotic, nonsensical outburst in the middle of church. Throughout the movie, his words begin to make perfect sense: “twisted tail” is the pig; “a thousand eyes” is the creature that appears as a squirrel’s reaction after jumping into a lake infused with pig droppings; “EPA” is the Environmental Protection Agency, who orders that President Schwarzenegger enclose Springfield inside a dome.

Homer doesn’t realize what he has done caused until a mob comes at 7:00 one night. (He remembers it being at 4:00, though, because Access Hollywood is on at both times.) The Simpsons are forced out of their home with ten dollars and a wedding video. They leave for Alaska, but cannot leave their psychotic, unconditionally catastrophic past.

The Simpsons Movie is a gem, filled with the creative genius of its creator and writers, and featuring voice cameos from Green Day, Tom Hanks, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh wait, that last one was apparently just a damn good Ah’nold impression. There are several in-jokes only fans of the series will get, but the best way to discover the fandom for which you are destined, than to start right here.

“I was elected to lead, not to read.”

A PLUS

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6 thoughts on “The Simpsons Movie

  1. I think you sum it up at the beginning – The best episode of the greatest American TV show still around.

    I have fallen out of love with The Simpsons, I think its lost its magic. The film is classic Simpsons though and shows that there is still life in the show.

  2. Nice review. The Simpsons is my favorite show as well and I really did enjoy the film (it’s undoubtedly the best thing the show has produced within the last ten years). I wouldn’t say it reaches the pinnacle of the series like South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut did, but it’s still great. Nice review.

    Also, I agree with Mark. How did this not get nominated for Best Animated Feature?

    • South Park is another one of my favorite TV shows–not in the same league as The Simpsons though. I haven’t seen Bigger, Longer & Uncut yet.

      I think part of it’s because there’s bias in the Best Animated Feature categories. A lot (a LOT) of the films nominated in the past are produced by either a) Pixar, b) Disney Animation, or c) DreamWorks. Still, you’d think they’d go for 20th Century Fox (The Simpsons Movie) before…France (Persepolis), right?

    • I’ve seen all of those except Persepolis, but I remember you giving Persepolis a two-star review (or an unfavorable one, at least), and I’ll trust you on that. Of course, I love Ratatouille, but Surf’s Up? I saw that when I was in fourth grade…enjoyed it back then, but it’d probably get a B-minus today. Plus I don’t remember it at all….I think it was about penguins…yeah The Simpsons Movie should’ve stood in its place.

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