The Simpsons Movie

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D’oh! I’m out of popcorn. That was a waste of $7.

Two of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a movie all year, occurred in this movie. One of them is the brief bit of nudity. You read that correctly. You will see some skin. The second was when Homer Simpson started the movie by telling us how idiotic it was to pay for something you can watch on TV for free. The theatre of critics and their guests erupted in laughter like I’ve never heard before. Perhaps that’s because every one of us had asked that very question at some point over the previous few weeks. The point is valid. Had you told me a few years ago that there’d be something called The Simpsons Movie – I would’ve just assumed it was about OJ Simpson.

It’s just a shame there weren’t more of those big laughs like the one Homer gave us early on; especially a movie that they waited almost 20 years to make.

They obviously couldn’t make a real life version, the way The Flinstones did. That worked because it was an older cartoon, and we weren’t as familiar with the people behind the voices. The Simpsons have voice-over actors we know from other things. Harry Shearer plays bass for Spinal Tap, Yeardley Smith was on another TV show and in City Slickers. Hank Azaria has started appearing in a lot of films.

It’s not as if the movie was bad. It was okay. Yet when we think of our favorite moments on The Simpsons, we can remember entire scenes. Moments I remember loving include Homer working two jobs so his daughter could have a pony. Ringo Starr returning fan mail to Marge – 25 years later. Danny DeVito as Homer’s rich brother. I can go on. Yet in this movie, are we going to be talking about Bart jumping into a sinkhole yelling “Geronimo!” while his intelligent little sister Lisa yells “Sacagawea!”?

There’s a scene my friend kept quoting weeks earlier when he first saw the commercial. It’s when Homer has his pet pig and is holding it on the wall and ceiling, singing the Spiderman theme, but changing it to “spider pig, spider pig.”

I’m guessing we won’t remember much about the movie years from now.

Unlike the TV show, which gives you a couple stories, we have a few going on here. Lisa having a crush on a boy and Homer having a pig that contaminates Springfield’s water supply and forcing them to leave town and return a hero are two.

Aside from the regular cast, we had these actors involved: Minnie Driver, Tom Hanks, Joe Mantegna (the character Fat Tony, which he’s done on the show), Albert Brooks, Erin Brockovich (not Julia Roberts, but the real one), and the band Green Day.

If you were to ask fans of the show their favorite character, nobody is going to say Bart, Lisa, or Marge. Yet two that often are mentioned as favorites, were barely in it. That would be the rich Montgomery Burns, and Qwik-E Mart owner Apu.

The 87 minute run time felt long. Perhaps that’s because I’m used to watching this in 30 minute increments (even shorter when I record it and forward thru commercials).

I’m a big fan of the show, and there are at least 25 episodes of the show better than this movie. I still enjoyed it enough to recommend it, but only to fans of the shows.

I’m giving it a B-.