October 15, 2004

"Team America" Watch

Allow me to quote for you one Hank Stuever, whose review of the new Trey Parker/Matt Stone movie "Team America" appears in today's WaPo:

Stunned by all the fun, I am almost moved to salute Parker and Stone for their nuanced and careful take-down of American jingoism and the seemingly disastrous foreign policy that Team America stands for.

Only that isn't quite how it played to an audience on Tuesday night, at one of those free-ticket radio station giveaway previews in a packed cineplex in Northwest Washington. The biggest laughs came when "Team America" assaulted any and all concepts of ethnicity, or when the joke was on gays, Michael Moore or a vast left-wing idiocy.

The movie feels like an elaborate inside joke on the very Americans laughing hardest at its easiest gags, oblivious to the sly, allegorical digs at a USA brand of bravado. What I took to be a lampoon of Bushworld seemed to be received, in the seats around me, as a triumph of Bushworld. Pollsters and campaign workers, take note: "Team America" will only further confound your election-year data.

Don't you just luv the dripping condescension? Translation: Miserable right-wing rednecks! Don't even understand when they're being laughed at!

Let me go out on a limb here and suggest an alternate theory based on years of watching "South Park": Stone and Parker are not making fun of "Bushworld" per se. Rather, they're making fun of people like....Hank Stuever, who have created in their own minds the entire concept of "Bushworld". In other words, Stone and Parker are parodying the parody. And I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of money that this is what is drawing the biggest laughs.

I suppose there is room here for a whole essay on the curious blind spot many (but not all) Elite Leftists have with respect to humor. My theory is that this blind spot is generated primarily by the inability of such people to laugh at themselves, a trait far more prevalent on the Left than on the Right. But I'll save that for another time. Mr. Stuever will do nicely as an example in the interim.

However, I do agree with Stuever's final sentence - "Team America" seems to have the potential to make a serious political impact. This is going to be good.

YIPS from Steve: Ann Althouse weighs in with her review of the review in the NYT.

MORE YIPS from Steve: Eloise at Spitbull has her take on things, plus this delicious quote from our favorite ifBushitlerwinsI'mstrappingonthevestandblowingupaSbarrosmyself lunatic Kos:

What do we [the anti-war crowd] get? Peacenik liberal Hollywood actors coddling up to terrorist regimes (ha ha). If you hate Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin and Janeane Garofalo, then you'll love seeing them get killed in a bloody battle with Team America.

Seals the deal for me! Yet, oddly, I don't think Kos meant that as an endorsement....

SECRET MESSAGE TO BARRY: Dude, Nebraska football sucks, just not as much as the Red Sox. Team America this weekend? Give me a call!!!

Posted by Robert at October 15, 2004 09:52 AM | TrackBack

Having seen the movie at a sneak preview last Saturday and then subsequently watched the 60 Minutes II interview with Stone and Parker on Wendsday night, It seems that this is the same conclusion that they came to as well. They barly mentioned how the movie portrays the left wing, but 60 min. II focased on thier take on the war. In the interview Stone and Parker insuniated that the massive damage the Team America does in the movie was used just to play in the left wing's hands. 60 Minutes of course tried to twist it.

Posted by: brew at October 15, 2004 01:25 PM

Your review--and catching the parody of a parody--was dead on. Had a great time this afternoon watching people laughing when they didn't realize they were being torn a new one. But most of the audience in nice, sane, Sarasota were onto the gag.

Posted by: John at October 15, 2004 09:58 PM

I saw it last night and it is one of the funniest movies I have seen. I don't think they were trying to pass a political agenda (this review is without seeing any interviews with the makers), but merely trying to show how extreme people from both sides of the political spectrum get involved in their own agendas. Just my take and I recommend the movie to everyone over 17.

Posted by: Hollywood_Freaks at October 16, 2004 12:23 PM

I might add that the WaPo reviewer shows his Blue America ignorance of country music when he accuses Alan Jackson of overweening patriotic ballads; everyone knows that it is Toby Keith that is guilty of that. Jackson's one 9/11 song, "Where were You?", is both sad and beautiful but barely mentions anything about the USA.

Posted by: Klug at October 16, 2004 01:11 PM
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