Monday, January 30, 2006

Team America

I was really glad to finally see this movie recently because I'd heard so much about it, from a friend's claim that it was The World According to Wingnuts (TWAtW; wingnut = extreme conservative) to some liberals whining that conservatives weren't lampooned enough. One friend recently said he wasn't sure if the movie was a parody of TWAtW or a humorous endorsement of it.

I've come to the conclusion that this movie is both a parody of TWAtW... AND an endorsement. Ms. Goat wondered why George Clooney was one of the FAG members in the movie (given his working on South Park once) but it's obvious that they aren't making fun of Clooney et al, just giving a Wingnut's view of Clooney et al (like with Sean Penn's speech about how lovely Iraq was before the war). Even changing the SAG to FAG reminded me of how, at one online forum I used to frequent, Senator John Kerry is usually referred to as 'Senator Carrie'.

like one commentator put it:

But the movie goes a step further — perhaps a step not even realized by Parker and Stone. By filtering these partisan worldviews of the War on Terror through a parody of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, they suggest that we've swallowed these ridiculous, movie-ish approaches to terrorism precisely because our collective consciousness has been shaped by Bruckheimer, whose productions include Crimson Tide, The Rock and Armageddon. Didn't the Bush administration pretty much tell us that the military would do just what Team America does in 15 of the most hilarious minutes of the past decade of movies: fly their star-spangled fighter jets from Mount Rushmore to the Middle East accompanied by a hard rock song ("Team America, fuck yeah!/ Off to save the motherfucking day, yeah!"), kill terrorists with red-and-white-striped missiles missiles and jet back to George Washington's mouth? That anyone ever thought it would really be as easy the propaganda suggested is, as much as anything else, a testament to how dumbass Bruckheimer action movies have warped our minds.

Now, a Wingnut-parody analysis runs into some rough waters at the end of the movie, where the moral of the story comes out (as it does in South Park episodes). Here, the moral comes out that there really are bad people ('assholes' like Kim-Jong Il) and the US needs to be tough ('dicks') in order to deal with them, not appeasing ('pussies'). The message reminded me of the South Park episode I'm a Little Bit Country. let me quote a bit of it:

Cartman: I learned somethin' today. This country was founded by some of the smartest thinkers the world has ever seen. And they knew one thing: that a truely great country can go to war, and at the same time, act like it doesn't want to. You people who are for the war, you need the protesters. Because they make the country look like it's made of sane, caring individuals. And you people who are anti-war, you need these flag-wavers, because, if our whole country was made up of nothing but soft pussy protesters, we'd get taken down in a second. That's why the founding fathers decided we should have both. It's called 'having your cake and eating it too.'

Randy: He's right. The strength of this country is the ability to do one thing and say another.

it's in the exact same way that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have their cake and eat it by not making a full parody of TWAtD, because then the liberals would champion it, nor a full criticism of liberal celebrities' view of the war, because then conservatives would champion it.

And today I read this line from an interview they did w/ GQ, Stone speaking:

But Trey is so brilliant at writing songs that shoot down the middle. "America, Fuck Yeah!" is both totally patriotic and totally ripping on patriotism at the same time.

(and doesn't Trey look weird w/ short hair?)

One of the deleted scenes on the DVD is brilliant: the imprisoned Team America members are being guarded by "Tim Robbins" and "Martin Sheen" and they begin to argue. The actors tells the TA gang that they're just puppets and they reply that the actors are puppets of Kim-Jong Il. It devolves to: "YOU'RE the puppets!" "No, YOU'RE the puppets!" How could they have cut that?

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Anonymous mh said...

I have little to add, except that I like your analysis; I'll admit to feeling vaguely uncomfortable a couple of times in the theatre just as I was digesting the movie, but the whole thing's absurd (in a way that makes sense - I don't know - your analysis covers it, and my brain doesn't work). And the scene with the 'panthers' nearly made me actually soil myself. And I find it telling that I read something recently (it may be in the DVD extras) about why they made Matt Damon retarded, and they said it had nothing to do with Damon himself - it was because the puppet came out looking like a retarded version of Matt Damon (insert joke here), so they went with it.

6:53 AM  

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