Category Archives: south park

Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy Theory ~ It’s one thing to watch a movie you didn’t really have any interest in that has been recommended by someone whose opinions you trust and respect. You may not want to see it, but usually it’s an adventure, and an unexpected delight. What happens when the recommendation comes from someone whose opinions you do not trust or respect? Such is the case with Conspiracy Theory.

You might think the subject matter would be of interest to me because I’m such a Coast to Coast AM junkie, but the truth is, when they start talking conspiracies, I zone out. Give me Bigfoot and UFOs any day over that crap. Nothing against Julia Roberts, but I think she’s lazy. She has two modes – Oscar nom, and give me the check. Most of the time I think it’s the latter.

And then there’s Mel Gibson. Mel has fallen out of favor for very solid reasons, but for me he was always on the brink of parodying himself, always a Keanu Reeves ‘huh’ away from ever being a good actor. And then there’s all the other stuff he’s done and said. I can’t help seeing the Daffy Duck version of him from “South Park” now whenever I see him.

Already Conspiracy Theory has several strikes against and I’m still paused on the WB shield. Let’s hope it gets better. Now I realize that Gibson is playing someone is apparently mentally unhinged, but I’m sorry the credits haven’t finished running, but he is already firmly Daffy Duck-ing in my head.

Also what bugs me early on is that the conspiracies put forth are the generic Hollywood version of conspiracy theories, not real conspiracy theories. It also feels very dated, as if it was written at least a decade before its 1997 release date. The dated performances of 1980s big names Gibson and Roberts certainly don’t help.

Gibson’s Daffy Duck meets Curly Howard performance as a paranoid cab driver who’s been brainwashed by the government makes you think you’re getting a comedy and clashes horribly with the real tenor of the flick. It’s a dark dark film, although you’d never know it watching Gibson cavort.

He’s doing schtick, so when Patrick Stewart shows up doing his Marathon Man bad guy imitation and shoots Gibson up with LSD, you can’t help but wonder what the hell you’re watching. Oh, and Julia Roberts? She’s about as interesting as old wallpaper in this movie. Her dye job has more charisma than her performance.

This is a long movie, and it’s made even longer by the overacting and under-acting of the leads, the over-explanation of the plot, the overbearing score, and the horrific and ridiculous ending. I was pretty sure I would hate this movie, and I was right.

Quickies 12-21-2012

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne ~ This documentary produced by his son Jack explores the life, career, and addiction of the prince of darkness of the rock and roll world, Ozzy Osbourne. His early years, his time with Black Sabbath, his solo career, his reality television show, and of course, his addictions. Family, friends, bandmates and other musicians are interviewed in the in-depth, incisive, and surprising bio. Recommended.

Cedar Rapids ~ This overlooked film is a screwball slob comedy about an insurance sales convention in, where else? Cedar Rapids. While I prefer both John C. Reilly and Anne Heche in more serious roles, they shine here. Ed Helms stars as a naïve salesman whose job is in jeopardy as he attends the convention. Circumstances convince him to take chances and live life. Fun and mostly harmless, worth watching.

6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park ~ This intriguing documentary takes a look at the frantic rush to put together a new “South Park” episode each week, make it timely, make it funny, and make sure it gets on the air. It also explores the working relationship of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their recent success with “The Book of Mormon.” Fascinating viewing for fans of the show and even those who are not.

Alex in Wonderland ~ I saw this madcap 1940 one-reeler recently on TCM. Part of the “Broadway Brevities” series that seems to take a lot of its technique from the Three Stooges shorts, this one stars Walter Catlett and Eddie Foy Jr. as feuding brothers-in-law who end up at a upper class masquerade party where mistaken identity and pie-throwing ensue. Fun.

Somebody’s Been Watching Way Too Much Tim Burton…

Just the introduction of Scarygirl made me want to run out of the mall Hot Topic I was trapped in and throw up whatever hallucinogenic drug I had accidentally swallowed. Then I realized I was neither at the mall nor at a Tim Burton movie marathon. I was in my living room with the downloaded demo of Scarygirl. Sigh. At least I can delete it when I’m done writing about it, or at least that’s how I felt before playing it.

Scarygirl is based on the gothic graphic novel by Nathan Jurevicius and can probably be found at Hot Topic more often than your local comics shop. No offense meant, but it is 2012, and this whole Goth thing was over some time ago, like probably about the time “South Park” got wind of it. If you’re still Goth now, you’re either a vampire, living in the past, or really really committed – or all three. Again, no offense, The Bride leans that way sometimes, and I still love her.

Scarygirl is the story of a Goth chick who looks like a Tim Burton ragdoll and meets a friendly octopus who’s kind of obsessed with her. There are bunnies and owls and all manner of oddities along her way, but Scarygirl is a Goth chick with a mission, and that mission is to find out what’s what with a nightmare she keeps having. I think. I kinda dozed off.

Now all that said, gameplay is something else altogether. It’s still looks like Tim Burton threw up all over the screen, and the images are a bit disturbing, but it was fun, and even though it was a demo, I got a lot of play out of it, and for me, that’s saying something. It’s a fun world to explore, notably more fun to me than say Little BIG Planet or certainly Incredible Hulk. This is a platformer (see, I’m learning) definitely worth playing, thumbs up from the Non-Gamer.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #7

Cartoon from Hell

I just finished watching the pilot for TBS’ new animated series “Neighbors from Hell.” It really kinda sucked, and based on the folks involved, it was really a disappointment.

It’s got the voice talent of Patton Oswalt, Will Sasso and former “South Park” producer Pam Brady, so this should be a lot better. Although, there were warning signs. TBS promoted the show as being from the same studio as “Family Guy.” Hmmm. About the only things this has in common with “Family Guy” is it’s animated and it has a talking dog. And ‘same studio’? They may as well have said that it’s from the same key grip as “The Simpsons.”

The childlike plot involves a demon family from Hell who come to Earth, Texas, to be exact, to stop a drill from digging its way to Hell. And the simple plot is overexplained at least six times in the pilot, and in the weak excuse for a theme song. The family itself seems like lame imitations of the Addams Family and have almost no charisma at all. Only the dog, cleverly named Pazuzu, voiced by Oswalt, and ripping off Brian from “Family Guy” as the voice of reason, has any staying power.

If there is any saving grace to this show, it is the human, non-demon, cast. The human neighbors and the workers at the oil company with the drill are far more interesting and cartoon-bizarre than any of the demon characters. My question is – why even bring Hell into it? Just do an animated sitcom in the style of “The Simpsons” or “Family Guy” with these characters? The demons are boring, and bring down the rest of the show.

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High Definition

You know that the next level in television technology has been reached when you will watch something you have zero interest in – just because it looks so damn good.

I don’t care all that much about the Olympics, and now that they’re every two years, they’re not even that special any more. Yes, the opening and closing ceremonies are sometimes fun in a train wreck sort of way, and yes, it’s great when the US is winning or some new hero with a heart-pulling back story makes good, and heaven forbid someone dies – but for the most part – don’t care, don’t care, where’s my Okama Gamesphere, ya know?

New Year’s Day we got ourselves a late Christmas present, a big old widescreen high definition television. Now we’re spoiled and loving it. But there are interesting side effects. The Olympics. Whoa. They just look so good in high def. It’s the most stunning stuff I’ve seen on television since the switch. I am mesmerized.

Now excuse me while I go watch curling…

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Teenaged Iron Man

I have nothing against teenaged superheroes. Spider-Man started as a teenager. The original X-Men were teenagers. Dick Grayson as Robin, and later Nightwing, is one of the coolest heroes around. And I do understand the psychology of the teenaged sidekick being the identification factor to the hero – but come on now, let’s get real, when you get out on the playground… everybody wants to be the Batman not Robin. That’s just the way it is. That’s why I don’t understand the new “Iron Man: Armored Adventures” cartoon coming from NickToons.

The new animated series, coming almost two years too late, is of course to cash in on the success of the Iron Man movie. It really makes me wonder how “South Park” can do such quick turnaround on a usually weekly basis to comment on current news stories, yet it takes comics years to produce a cartoon, but there it is. And the sore point is – Tony Stark is a kid, or more accurately a teenager. It kinda takes all the charm out of a character so notoriously a bastard, doesn’t it?

The second problem is that it’s done in that limited computer animation that so completely ruined MTV’s attempt at “Spider-Man” after his first movie. The animation is stiff and blocky and kinda like a combination of “Reboot” from the 1990s and “Davey and Goliath” from the 1960s. There’s flash animation online better than this honestly.

Rhodey and Pepper (and even Happy, disguised as Flash Thompson) are there as well, and are also teenagers. There’s even a teenaged Mandarin, whose father at least bares a slight resemblance to the real thing from the comics. Howard Stark, Tony’s father, is also familiar – looking like the Silver Age Tony Stark, complete with Howard Hughes’ mustache. Future episodes promise Whiplash, the Ghost, the Hulk and Fin Fang Foom – I wonder if they’ll be teenaged too?

The only real props I can give this series is for the theme song by Rooney, catchy and to the point, just like any superhero theme should be.


“Iron Man: Armored Adventures” premieres on NickToons this Friday night.

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Isaac Hayes 1942-2008

We’ve lost another one of the good ones. Multiple award-winning composer, musician and actor Isaac Hayes passed away this afternoon in his home. His theme to Shaft will probably go down as one of the greatest movie tunes of all time, and despite the unfortunate circumstances that forced him to part ways with the program, he’ll never be forgotten as Chef on “South Park.” You’ll be missed, brother.

South Park Cliff’s Notes

The new season of “South Park,” or what passes for a new season – whenever creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone cobble up enough new material for about six episodes, needs Cliff’s Notes in my opinion, or at least footnotes of some kind.

I’ve found that this new season has been very heavy on obscure pop culture references, so obscure that when I talk with friends about them they don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s pretty sad when my usually intelligent friends come off like Beavis and Butthead, “Heh heh, he said butt.”

Parker and Stone have been going pretty deep this season with episodes that reference – and sometimes only in subtext – Anne Frank, Chris Crocker, Tay Zonday, Samwell, Heavy Metal, drug abuse, urban legends, paparazzi, genetics and the WGA strike. It’s too bad this new ‘season’ is over. I just hope the next is just as good, and deep.