Reading Digest: Movie Reviews Edition

A Star is Burns13

“You know something, Marge?  It’s not that tough being a film cricket.” – Homer Simpson

This week we both start and finish with Simpsons related movie reviews.  In between we’ve got the two big stories that were all over the place, Elvis’s wife disliking the show, a couple of pieces of “aww”-type remembrances of the show (including the first time I’ve ever heard of someone named Julian watching “Homer’s Phobia”), some fan art, a great piece of New York City graffiti, the barest possible mention of the Season 15 DVDs, and a fantastic (and practical) Marge Simpson costume.


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The Simpsons Movie – Our old friend Mike Amato has reached the movie in his review series and it is Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week:

Part of this whole blog’s purpose was to rip off the nostalgia goggles and take a look at the series from my current-day point-of-view. As I’ve seen, it’s astonishing how absolutely dreadful the show has been for the last ten years, and the movie definitely reflects that to a degree. It makes so little an impact, and the commentary definitely has reasons that point to why… but I just can’t hate it like I do the rest of the series. It’s largely disappointing, and irritating in hearing the writers’ almost terrified relationship with its audience, but I can’t tear part of myself away from the fact that I finally, after so many years of waiting, got to see a Simpsons movie. It looked great, it sounded great… the script was clunky and all over the place… but at least it finally happened. I guess you can consider this the most apathetic recommendation ever. And I’d barely even call it a recommendation.

He really goes into the whole thing, commentary and all.  For a single summation of the whole great big bloated blockbuster, you aren’t going to do much better. 

Amazon Instant Video Users Beware! – Just a reminder that DRM sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck:

I love the Simpsons, specifically the Treehouse of Horror episodes around Halloween.

I own many of them on DVD, but Amazon has fortunately been able to fill in the gaps for me so this year was the first I could do a full marathon of every single episode. Since streaming (even with “high speed internet”) can be a drag I downloaded the Amazon episodes to my laptop using the “Unbox Video Player”. Each episode gives me two licenses for downloads to devices like my laptop, and two more for portable devices (like my Fire).


In a nutshell, you have to UNINSTALL Amazon Unbox Video in order to release the license for an individual video.

This has been your reminder that DRM sucks, has always sucked, and will always suck.  Thank you.

Quintessential Quintuplets of Television – From a list of great television moments comes this little slice of awesome:

The glory days of The Simpsons were a big deal in my family. It was the one show we’d watch as a family. My spot was on the floor of the living room, in the thicket of the beige shag carpet – which could absorb any liquid and have it not seen as stain. Ma was a little nervous at this one. She did to a lot to keep homo – or for that matter heterosexual – mentions out of the house. But this was the Simpsons, so it was okay. She was in no position to teach the birds and the birds, so it was up to special guest voice John Waters. The big crescendo is the line where Homer complains about gay culture stealing all of the great hetero names like Bruce, Lance and Julian. My brother is named Julian. Well the whole house just lost it.


Character Break – Zombie Simpsons released another YouTube video of Burns being topical, this time about the fiscal slope.  It’s as pointless and desperate for attention as the one from before the election.  That it’s better than most Zombie Simpsons episodes doesn’t mean it’s actually good, but unlike them it is short enough to at least be worth watching.

Marge Simpson Runner – Awesome (and practical) Marge costume.

Top 5 Christmas specials – “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” comes in third here behind two British shows I’ve never heard of.

DVD Releases – Week of 12/4/12 – This is a long post with quite a bit of commentary about various home video releases this week.  I just want to cite it as further evidence that nobody cares about Zombie Simpsons, because after a thousand words on nine other titles, this is all Zombie Simpsons gets:

Also available -  Simpsons: Season 15

Hey kids, let’s all go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes! – A rewatching of the first season:

But wow, has the show changed over the years. The original episodes were quite bleak, not really aimed at a younger audience. Instead focusing on the efforts of Homer, struggling to financially keep afloat whilst dealing with his difficult son and sometimes tenuous marriage, drinking his problems away at Moe’s Tavern. He even attempts suicide in the 3rd episode in!
Yehp and this is what my childhood was built upon.

What I’d like to note here is that he’s saying that the first episodes weren’t all about Bart, a myth that really needs to die.

It’s not Batman! – It’s a brand new blog about “TV, Jokes, Simpsons references and other pop culture nonsense” and it’s called . . . drum roll please . . . “Batman’s a Scientist”.  Great title.  Good luck.

A Somewhat Comprehensive Guide to Boston Sports Stars on The Simpsons – Happily, this is almost exclusively non-Zombie Simpsons.

Amazing Sand Art! – Pretty sure I’ve linked this before, but that is a damned amazing Simpsons sand sculpture.  Marge’s hair is particularly impressive when you think about it.

Turkish TV authority that fined the broadcaster for The Simpsons – This story was everywhere this week, though the specific episode often got left out.  It would appear that it’s last year’s craptacular “Treehouse of Horror XXII” and it’s lame, weak-ass God vs. Satan throwaway scene.

The Simpsons Offer Seth Guest Spot Cross-Over – Speaking of stories that were over covered this week, MacFarlane will indeed be doing a guest voice next season.  Yes, it will be dumber than a box of rocks, he’ll:

feature as new character ‘Ben’ in ‘Dangers on a Train’, an episode likely to air in September 2013. His role will be that of a married man who begins a romantic pursuit of Marge Simpson after she accidently meets him on a dating website, though the man is forced to also deal with his ‘overbearing wife’ (to be played by Lisa Lampanelli).

Oh good, more marital trouble.  Haven’t seen that in a while.  Though MacFarlane does have a valid point here:

In addition, MacFarlane also announced this week his intention to make a feature film for Family Guy in the coming years, but claimed that it would differ from the format that The Simpsons Movie took, noting: “The Simpsons Movie, I thought, was hilarious, but the one criticism I would have is that it’s a story they probably could’ve done on TV. There could’ve been an episode that had that plotline. That’s the challenge with animation. You pretty much can do any story you want, so what is the reason for the movie? We finally hit on the answer to that question, and it will be something that would be impossible to do on TV.”

I’m not sure what that means in terms of animation, but for all its geographic roaming, the movie plot was actually pretty small.

Priscilla Presley would ban The Simpsons if she could – Someone should think about looking for acting gigs in Turkey.

25 Things We All Learned From Watching The Simpsons – Who says the show isn’t all moral and shit?  There’s some Zombie Simpsons on this list, but it’s mostly good.

Canadian ‘Simpsons’ Fans! Got A Good Couch Gag? – Zombie Simpsons has run out of ideas again, you can submit a 50 word or less suggestion to them before December 24th.  Here’s mine:

The family sits down on the couch, Homer raises the remote, and the screen goes black forever.

Lamp. – On the durability of quotes:

Kinky Afro once said that the two most quoted things of our generation were probably The Simpsons and Anchorman, and I think he’s right.

I mean, some things are quoted in fads, like Borat – I couldn’t go anywhere without that being quoted. However, like a cool front passing overhead, it eventually moves on. The Simpsons, however, is constantly quoted; essentially each new episode brought a new quote or two (most of them are terrible now , but it’s still true).

I’m obviously the furthest thing from impartial, but I’d say Anchorman is fading badly in that category.  It’s a great movie with a ton of great quotes, but you just don’t see it referenced as much anymore.  (At least I don’t.)

Meditations on Fools – True enough:

It seems that every comedy has a fool of some sort. In sitcoms, there’s usually the idiot character. Friends had Joey, Seinfeld had George Castanza, and The Simpsons may have the greatest fool of all time, Homer. In film, we’ll watch whole stories about Forrest Gump, Everette McGill, and Don Quixote.

The Simpsons – Ha Ha (Nelson Muntz Duck Sauce remix) – YouTube of exactly what it says it is.

slingshot – A pill slinging (literally) Bart graffiti image from New York City.  Cool.

Mister Burns and the Fiscal Cliff – This is another link to that cry for attention Burns video.  I’m only linking it again because this is some impressive Zombie Simpsons hate:

I fell out of love with the Simpsons awhile back. Now it’s more like that friendship where you continue to hangout because you’ve known one another for so long; but the only pleasure you get is reminiscing about the good old days. I call these days Seasons 1-3.

Wow.  Even I don’t think the show went to shit after Season 3.  

RUN! – Animated .gif of Milhouse getting ready to explode.

My Mojo… – Lovingly discussing an old friend:

The most apt cartoon character to symbolise the old Gertie would be Mojo – the helper-monkey from The Simpsons. Back in the day, the mere thought of exercise – or sweating under any circumstances, for that matter – was enough to send my Mojo scampering back to the couch to hide under her putrid nanny-rug.

I’m not 100% sure what a nanny-rug is, but heh.

Christmas Homer – Cool fan art:

Watercolour on fabric. Homer Simpson dressed up as Santa Claus, Modigliani style.

Worth a click.

10 Facts About Grampa Simpson of “The Simpsons” – He also spent forty years as a night watchman at a cranberry silo.

You Don’t Win Friends With Salad – A brief IM conversation about what salad does and does not win you.  Also, YouTube.

“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair” – Fan made posters for various things, including a Homer and Marge ad for Match.com.

Hitchcock…In 10 Words – Good evening.

Les Miserables…In 10 Word – Nobody ever says Italy.

The Grammy Nominations Concert…In 10 Words – Hey, don’t throw your garbage down here!

Side Quest: Wreck-It Ralph – And finally, I get to end the way I like, with someone who not only agrees with us, but does so in a movie review:

This is no surprise when you consider the film’s director, Rich Moore, was the guiding hand behind some of the most perfect Simpsons episodes (and thus, most perfect episodes of television) of all time. Wreck-It Ralph is more openly the work of a Simpsons veteran than, say, Brad Bird’s feature output; there are the expert pop culture riffs, obviously, but also a similar push and pull between sarcasm and big, dumb open-heartedness. (Two of Moore’s best episodes — the breakneck, anarchic “Marge Versus the Monrail” and subtle, character-driven “Lisa’s Substitute” — are perhaps most emblematic of this yin and  yang dynamic.) I was never surprised by where Wreck-It Ralph took me emotionally, but every beat rang true for the characters and built nicely on everything that preceded it.

Ah, for the days when the show was that well constructed.

7 Responses to “Reading Digest: Movie Reviews Edition”

  1. 1 abra cadaver
    8 December 2012 at 3:11 am

    Question. What do (Ullman short) “Football”, (Ullman short) “The Closet”, (Ullman short) “Family Therapy”, “Bart the Genius”, “There’s No Disgrace Like Home”, “Behind the Laughter”, “Children of a Lesser Clod”, and “Treehouse of Horror XIII: Send in the Clones” have in common?

    ……………..”Let’s all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes!” (any I’m missing, please add)

  2. 8 December 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I absolutely adored Wreck-It Ralph – it’s got one of the most compelling original stories and the strongest cast of characters I’ve seen in a Disney movie in a long time. Combining the astronomical talents of two former Simpsons directors and the guy who founded Pixar tends to have that effect.

  3. 3 Stan
    8 December 2012 at 11:30 pm

    What’s a “film cricket”? I always thought he said “film critic”.
    I tried googling it and found nothing.

    • 9 December 2012 at 10:24 am

      The joke is that Homer meant to say film critic but said film cricket because that’s Homer for you.

      • 5 Stan
        9 December 2012 at 5:03 pm

        I got that, but isn’t there an urban term for this? Like, someone who constantly nitpicks on movies or something? His phrase sounds like a pun intent to me.

  4. 6 FireFlower
    9 December 2012 at 9:32 am

    I also loved Wreck-It Ralph. It was such a funny and clever movie.

  5. 12 December 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Whoa, thanks for linking to my blog! It’s always really nice to be referenced elsewhere on the interwebs, especially by a site I actually read and respect like this one!

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