Friday, July 27, 2007

La Commedia e Finita!

It is finished.

I managed to capture all the signatures I needed and this afternoon, I delivered to my school's library, the requisite two complete copies of my thesis! When the university thesis librarian accepted them, I asked if there was anything left for me to do. (I keep waiting for some other shoe to drop; like a switched baby hidden in Vermont or something crazy.) But she said no. Once they've accepted it, I'm all done. To congratulate myself, I bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book 6 - yes, I'm a book behind!) and a People magazine that pretends that there are enough varieties in Hollywood female body types to use them as examples of how to flatter any figure. (pfft!) It was a little anti-climactic for me, on campus. But I think that's because I'm not yet allowing myself to fully accept its finality and the relief. That, I'm certain, will change this weekend!

This weekend, my group is taking our performance to a festival I've been meaning to attend for years as an audience member, but I get to make my debut there as a performer! Woohoo!

... and speaking of "Woohoo!" ... one of my motivations to get all my thesis crap completed today was the opening of The Simpsons Movie. Though skeptical that a movie of my favorite show might ruin the show - Hollywood does not have a good track record there - I've been looking forward to this since I saw the first teaser for it in the theaters last summer. I promised myself that if I could get my thesis completed, signed, sealed and delivered by today, I could go see the midnight opening, tonight. And so we did!!

I joke that when (if) we have children, they will think the order of religious adoration and guidance in our household goes something like this: God, Jesus and The Simpsons. They will probably believe that we have somewhere a Gospel of Groening, consisting of the books of Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa, and including the non-canonized apocryphal texts of Futurama. We had to be in tonight's audience.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE, NOW. Not just because it's good, but because the sooner you see it, the fresher and more appreciative the audience will be. This is definitely a movie worth seeing with a hungry audience. This film would have been okay on its own, but it could not have stood alone without 18 years of stories and culture commentary. You almost have to see it with a full house who genuinely loves each and every one of the characters in Springfield. When the lights went dim and the initial vignette played out and the clouds parted to reveal "The Simpsons" with Elfman's iconic score playing in the background, the crowd - many of whom I'd spotted wearing Simpson's t-shirts - erupted in applause and cheers. The crowd ate up the humor, as well, of course. This was an opportunity for everyone who digs this satirical staple to come together and dig it together.

As Simpson plots go, there was nothing out of the ordinary in this one. That's what made it so good. The stakes were raised higher than they usually are, but the story moved just like any other Simpson's episode. It just ran three times longer than usual. Something I was afraid of was that they would litter the dialogue with profanity and lower the jokes with toilet, T&A lowest common denominator gags. When Hollywood takes TV to the silver screen, you can tell by how readily the studios go gutter how much they really trust the core material. The writers, however, must be given credit for responsibly handling their tone when the restrictions of broadcast regulations were lifted. They definitely crossed the FCC line at least one or twice and they punched a little crasser than usual a few times as well. However, when they did stretch the "good taste" line, they did so sort of tongue and cheek, implying that they couldn't get away with this in broadcast, without being heavy handed and without feeling forced. There's nothing I detest more in a film based on a TV show (or any film, really) than when a character utters language (profane or not) or engages in behavior which is absolutely uncharacteristic of him or her. It's quite clear the studio forces the character to behave in that way to appease the 15 - 23 year old boys in the audience who have no sense of character believability.

There is so much I liked about this movie. I know the critics aren't receiving it well, from the headlines I've read. I'll have to read the reviews later. And I happily admit I have drunk the Kool Aid with the marketing on this. But it's quite willing on my part. I know they're pimping and they know I know what they're up to. There is much I'd love to share about the movie with you, but I don't want to blow anything. I'll just say this: it's essentially a longer version of the Simpsons, but one which is best experienced communally. Go see it as soon as you can. Go with a big crowd who adore the Simpsons. You'll be glad you did.


mommanator said...

CONGRATS MOLLIE! finally no wonder ot's anticlimatic! SUch a feeling of relif I bet!
I am not a Simpson maven so prob won't see, but you make it sound great!

Pearl said...

CONGRATULATIONS! This is the first time I've read your blog, and as I'm in the middle to my own thesis, it's heartening to see that someone, somewhere, has actually managed to finish one of the stupid things. Although now I'm jealous. Hurumph.