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Mostly I Want to Play ‘Baby Bash’

Simpsons Movie film still

As a special treat for Christopher’s birthday, the two of us caught an opening day screening of The Simpsons Movie. I was excited, and a bit leery. The Simpsons is a classic, one of the best shows on TV, but the creators have gone into autopilot over the last decade. I cherish the first 8 or so seasons, but the current episodes are only mildly amusing in a “better than Family Guy” sorta way. Could they possibly deliver the goods for their first motion picture?

Well, I’m happy to say the answer to that question is a resounding “yes” — for the movie’s first half, anyway. Honestly, I was surprised at how funny it was, but it also had a lot of the sort of heartfelt moments long missing from the Simpsons universe. It’s easily funnier than any TV episode from the past five seasons. My only quibbles would be that it’s a little long by about 15 minutes, and the storyline is so heavily centered around the Simpsons themselves that beloved side characters like Apu, Smithers, and (fill in the blank) get short shrifted. The expanded, subtly shaded look of the film also seemed odd to me in ways I couldn’t pinpoint. Maybe it’s because (as the San Francisco Chronicle review touched upon) the TV show depends on a simplified aesthetic to successfully pull off its style of humor. Comic Book Guy would certainly not approve, but the less discerning among you would find a grand time. Hopefully it won’t take another 18 years for the creators to scrounge up a sequel (The Great Simpsons Caper?).

On another note, we also caught a neat exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. UnInked: Paintings, Sculpture, and Graphic Work by Five Cartoonists was guest curated by Chris Ware and features paintings, sketches and sculpture by a variety of current graphic artists. The biggest thrill, for me, was seeing a couple of wild color canvases by Gary Panter. I also loved the original pen and ink artwork from Kim Deitch’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Christopher thought the art didn’t do much for him, but I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. Also at the museum we saw a beautiful display of 1930s gowns inspired by streamlined automotive design. So overall it was an excellent weekend.

One Thought on “Mostly I Want to Play ‘Baby Bash’

  1. We caught this on opening day at the multi-plex too! Snuck in after snoozing through Harry Potter (my wife woke me from my slumber when the 3-D part came on), so we missed the first 10 minutes or so. Yes, I thought it was good, with about as many laughs as you’d get watching four episodes of the TV version back to back. It would have been nice to have more secondary character action and gratuitous nudity, but I didn’t leave the theater disappointed — and I didn’t fall asleep once.

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