They're already choosing sides over 'Team America'

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Fearing the new film is another swipe at Bush, conservatives fire first.
    By John Horn
    Times Staff Writer

    Aug 9 2004

    Conservative commentators have begun lining up to denounce "Team America: World Police," the cheeky comedy due in October from "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. But it's actually Hollywood liberals — and one well-known producer of big-budget action movies — who might have the most to worry over the take-no-prisoners movie.

    "Team America" is being criticized as yet another broadside against President Bush from Hollywood liberals. But a key conceit of the Paramount Pictures movie, which is essentially an action film made with sophisticated marionettes visiting exotic locations, is that it depicts left-leaning show business elites as selfish and superficial.

    Among the many prominent activists who may be shown in a less-than-flattering "Team America" light are Ben Affleck and "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker Michael Moore. Says Parker: "We only went after people who at least invited it."

    The movie also spoofs many action-film conventions, from editing to dialogue, established and perfected by Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of such blockbusters as "Con Air," "The Rock" and "Armageddon."

    "The joke of this movie," says Stone, "is that it's a big, dumb Bruckheimer movie, done with puppets."

    All the same, the five action heroes that make up "Team America's" terrorist-fighting "world police" and their various enemies are hardly the crude marionettes familiar to viewers of the 1960s TV series "Thunderbirds." Stone and Parker's one-third-scale puppets are elaborately designed and costumed. The dead-ringer puppet of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, for example, wears tiny eyeglasses fitted with precisely ground lenses. The film's locations include scale models of Paris, Mt. Rushmore and the Panama Canal.

    Parker and Stone, whose past humor targets included everything from Mormons to Canada, say Bush isn't even central to the "Team America" story. But that doesn't mean some critics already are attacking the project, which will hit theaters Oct. 15.

    On Aug. 1, conservative Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge posted a story under the headline "Paramount Puppet Movie to Mock Terror War." The articled quoted a "senior Bush advisor" condemning the film as "unconscionable" for making fun of terrorism. Drudge reported that a character from the film is "an apparent Bush look-alike," when in fact the image Drudge posted was of Chris, a martial-arts expert in the titular crime-fighting organization.

    Reacting to the Drudge Report item, "Team America" producer Scott Rudin says: "I think he misinterpreted where the politics of the movie actually lie. It's not Bush-bashing. It's not Kerry-bashing. It's going after everybody."

    Less than a week after the Drudge Report item appeared on the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reported that Move America Forward, a conservative group whose website features criticism of "Fahrenheit 9/11," also was blasting "Team America" sight unseen.

    The group's chairman, Howard Kaloogian, was quoted as saying it would be "inconceivable" for filmmakers to have spoofed the Nazis during World War II.

    "That's totally ridiculous and absolutely, historically wrong," says Stone, noting that wartime Bugs Bunny cartoons had Bugs in battle against the Germans and Japanese. "It's what everybody did."

    More to the point, Stone says, it's possible for satirists to make fun of world events without minimizing the gravity of such topics as war and terrorism. After the first war against Iraq, Stone notes, he and Parker cast Saddam Hussein as Satan's gay lover in their Oscar-nominated 1999 movie "South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut." By so doing, Stone says, he and Parker were neither defending Hussein nor minimizing his menace.

    "This movie exists as a metaphor," Stone says of "Team America." "It's not about politics. And if there's one thing this movie ridicules, it's America's enemies, not America. There's a difference between a political satire and what everybody has been feeling for the last few years."

    Among the film's chief villains is Kim Jong Il, who throws U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix into a huge aquarium, where he is promptly ripped to pieces by a shark. Some Hollywood celebrities don't fare much better in the film.

    "When this movie is over, a lot of people will be confused about what side we're on," Parker says. "That's OK, because we're confused too." ​

    http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/cl-et-horn9aug09,2,6514339.story
     
  2. Waluigi macrumors 6502

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    The day Drudge posted the headline about this movie mocking terrorists, he had both Trey and Matt on his weekly radio show. Apparently, they are actually republicans (well the neglected libertarian wing of the party anyway), and they dislike bush as much as kerry. They made this movie as satire. They said that this is not meant to belittle terrorism, endorse a candidate for president, or make light of 9/11 at all. Drudge said he disagrees with them, and made his judgment from the trailer that this is a mock of the war on terror. They disagreed, and said that the movie is not another Fahrenheit 9/11. The interview ended on that note.

    I'm looking forward to the movie, and won't let the pundits (who haven't seen it) decide if it is 'good for the country' or not.

    --Waluigi
     
  3. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    I'm sure it will be hilarious. Parker and Stone have yet to disappoint me, but I admit I haven't seen Baseketball.
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #4
    I'm sure it will equally offend everyone. My kind of humor. :D

    I'm not really a Stone/Parker fan but I must admit they can some up w/some seriously funny (and completely wrong) stuff.


    Lethal
     
  5. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    This, to me, exemplifies what is wrong with the "info-tainment" programs like Limbaugh, Drudge and Boortz. They know better than the creators of the dang movie! Its all over Boortz's ramblings, too. "When that liberal jerk says A, he really means B."

    Their arrogance and tendency towards presumption makes me want to puke.

    Taft
     
  6. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Don't worry, I'm sure they'll admit their error after the movie comes out.
     
  7. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    Can't wait to see this movie. I'm sure it will be absolutely hilarious.

    The "pundits" on both sides of the aisle will be taken agast that these guys don't choose sides. The neo-con's are expecting "Marionette-9/11", and the libs are expecting another agenda pushing blockbuster.

    When they both see that this movie is not about Bush or Kerry, but rather how stupid their respective "activists" are, the real fun will begin.

    Here's a link to the trailor on quicktime.
    http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/team_america/

    Enjoy...
     
  8. Leo Hubbard macrumors newbie

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    I couldn't get it to play. Only the full screen would give me an error stating that the *.mov file was missing. The other choices only made my computer redraw the screen. FYI I use IBM not Apple computer.
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    Somehow, I'm relieved.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #10
    :rolleyes:


    Lethal
     
  11. beefcake macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Saw it tonight, and I thought it was hilarious. Better yet, it has no overwhelming political agenda. It doesn't even attack the politicians, it attacks the people who attack the politicians. Stereotypical liberals and conservatives are equally bashed.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    I saw an interview with Trey and Matt yesterday, they said the guiding premise of the movie was 'WWJD' or What Would Jerry Do? as in Jerry Brukheimer. And the answer was usually 'blow up the set'. :D

    And apparently the scene where Blix gets it, they stuffed the puppet full of squid and chucked it in a tank of nurse sharks. Nice.

    Can't wait to see it. They get away with it because the make fun of the most ridiculous parts of each sides arguments.
     
  13. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    The film was pretty much panned by the LA Times. If you believe the reviewer, they forgot to be funny for much of the movie and the outrageousness only went so far.
     
  14. Durandal7 macrumors 68040

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    I thought it was funny. Both sides got skewered. I can only imagine how many folks will be complaining that the movie "made a mockery of the War on Terror" or made fun of the absurdity of taking far-left actors seriously. They'll all find something to bitch about if they feel like it.

    I have to say, I really admired the detail on the sets. I found Kim Jong-Il's palace particularly impressive.

    I give it a thumbs up.
     
  15. Phat_Pat macrumors 68000

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  16. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    I just got back and thought it was hilarious. But I don't think it would be nearly as funny on a 2nd viewing.


    Lethal
     
  17. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    It's more an overt parody, with subtle (and not so subtle) jabs at both sides. And more importantly, at Hollywood. In other words, if you're looking for jokes you'll be disappointed. If you "get the joke" you'll find it pretty funny. But yeah, it does kinda wear thin after awhile. They admit they got tired toward the end. Puppets are really hard to direct apparently. I do think it's funny that both sides are criticizing it so much. Especially since they haven't even seen it yet. That's kinda part of the joke, too. It's just too bad the people who need to see it, won't see it. Probably wouldn't get it anyway.

    I'm not expecting Shakespeare or sharp political satire here. Just some giggles at how stupid everybody is. Sorry, but sometimes the LA Times forgets that these are just movies here.
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    To expand on that. When the trailer first hit the "airwaves" it was more "the right" that jumped on it. Once the movie started having test screenings and more was known about it is when "the left" started really jumping on it. And the funny thing is that it really doesn't lampoon liberals. It lampoons self-righteous, egotistic actors. The most obvious are the members of F.A.G. (during the later half of the film) but its done a bit more subtely during the whole movie w/Gary (the actor Team America recruits) and the constant theme of only acting can save the world.

    I've even seen some liberal reviewers attack Parker and Stone for "betraying the cause" for attacking actors like that and, horror of horrors, calling them Republicans in Democrats' clothing.

    The things that really get lit up in this film are cliched action movies, self-righteous actors, and US stupidty/insensitivity regarding the rest of the world (most of this comes in the first half of the film).


    Lethal
     
  19. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #19
    Well since movie reviewers review movies, I don't think that's one thing they're likely to overlook. IMO, reviewers as a class are far too uncritical -- even the so-called tough reviewers are remarkably easy to please.
     
  20. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #20
    I'm as pretentious as the next guy who used to live in LA and currently lives near Seattle, but the last time I read the entertainment section of the Times, they were focused too much on the wrong things. Though I agree too many reviewers nowadays focus more on what they like over what is good, some go too far the other way. Just an off the cuff statement about them just being movies though. I'm just tired of reading how George Lucas ruined people's childhoods. Sure the prequels sucked, but it's not the end of the world.

    Not neccessarily just the LA Times, but some take these things far too seriously. Though I do agree, some the opposite extreme. Hot Or Not comes to mind as the latter. They probably thought it was stupid because you could see the strings. :rolleyes:

    (Caveat: I have no idea what either of them said about the movie... nor do I particularly care)
     
  21. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    I could list any number of movies which received critical acclaim that I thought were complete and utter tripe. I don't know if the critics at the LA Times are any worse (or better) than the rest of the nation, but LA is nothing else if not a company town, so it seem to me, the bias is subtly tilted towards the entertainment industry. I think it also helps to understand the preferences of any given critic, which you can only get by reading a lot of film reviews, and ultimately seeing those films. Some critics love (or hate) sentiment, or iconoclasm, or some such characteristic, and will give a movie a pass or an immediate ding if it relies upon it.

    I think the Times review of "Team America" was written by Kevin Thomas. He didn't hate the movie, but he did warn that the humor was remarkably crude, and that it wasn't funny throughout.
     
  22. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #22
    Seemed to me they were trying too hard to be anti-Hollywood, giving crappy movies a pass because they aren't mainstream. Yet nitpicking good movies simply because they are mainstream. But I guess we'll have to agree to... um... agree actually. Because most of what we said was in a agreement. Minus that part. Semantics, I suppose.

    The Seattle paper is like that too. Especially with music.
     

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