Ah, The Simpsons Movie. Remember the hype around this thing? It was going to be The Simpsons, only much, much bigger. Then there was the biggest (or smallest) dangling carrot of all…ahem, this is going to a very Freudian place. Moving on…
My husband and I went to this movie a week after our son was born. I was firmly in New Mom territory, which, as parents well know, meant I alternated between lurching like a zombie and zipping around like a jackrabbit while, oh yeah, recovering from childbirth. I was very happy to leave my kid with my mom, sink into a theater chair and see something crazy.
And now my kid is fifteen. He loves this movie, although I’ve told him to be careful because anything we see or hear needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
The filmmakers had to really walk a fine line, which seems funny because it’s The Simpsons we’re talking about, but expectations were so high and people had been waiting for so long to see it that no matter what, someone was going to be disappointed.
For those who haven’t seen it, the plot is simply this: Everyone knows the Springfield River has a little polution problem. Green Day tries to play a concert there and their stage disintegrates. So, the townspeople make a pact to not dump anything in the river and put up concrete barriers around it just to make sure.
What they don’t reckon on (when have they ever?) is Homer Simpson, who was adopted by a pet pig he alternately calls Spider Pig and Harry Plopper, the latter because the pig’s digestive system is very, um, productive. Homer’s got it all covered, though, because he’s built a silo in the backyard for the pig’s poop.
The rest of the family have their own fish to fry. Lisa gets a crush on Colin, a cute Irish kid who’s just moved to town (No, his dad isn’t Bono). Marge is busy cleaning up after the pig, whose tracks are all over the house. Bart feels neglected because Homer’s spending all his time with the pig and starts hanging out with Ned Flanders. Among other things, Ned makes a mean hot chocolate.
Then there’s Grandpa, who starts babbling such incoherencies as “Eeepa! Trapped forever!” in church one Sunday. Everyone chalks it up to old man stuff and Homer rolls Grandpa up in a carpet before taking the whole family out for waffles.
Marge isn’t so sure Grandpa is just babbling, though. She listens to a recording of it over and over and pushes some Magnetic Poetry magnets around the fridge. She bequeaths her pregnancy pants to Comic Book Guy, who enjoys their remarkable comfort, in exchange for the video. Too bad he can’t shed light on the mystery.
When Homer’s silo turns up in the river, though, things start becoming clear, especially when a dome encases Springfield and a guy from the EPA named Russ Cargill tells everyone their river is a cesspool. There’s also a weird mutated squirrel with a few dozen eyes that Bart and Ned found when they went hiking, so Cargill has plenty of reasons to declare Springfield a disaster area.
Where was Russ Cargill when Bart and Lisa discovered Blinky the Three-Eyed Fish? I ask you. Anywhoo…
Naturally, most of the town comes after the Simpsons with torches and pitchforks. They set fire to the house but to their chagrin the family escapes through a sinkhole. Now that they’re fugitives, the Simpsons head for Alaska, where things are great for a while, but then they find out Russ Cargill wants to turn Springfield into the new Grand Canyon. Marge and the kids decide to go back, but Homer doesn’t want to. He likes Alaska and he’s mad at everyone back home.
So yeah, this movie is basically Everything We Can’t Do On TV. It’s got a little bit of language. It’s got Homer flipping birds at the angry townies as he falls verrrrrry slowly down the sinkhole. It’s got a (thankfully) very brief flash of Bart’s male member. Ugh. They didn’t have to, but they did.
Now that that’s out of the way, one of the things The Simpsons Movie does really well is troll. It starts out with the family watching the new Itchy and Scratchy movie and Homer pointing at the audience and saying everyone’s a sucker for watching something they could see at home for free.
I also like that the film doesn’t question anything about itself. It knows these characters really well, it knows its setting, and it lets these characters do whatever they want. That’s kind of a liberating feeling for both the audience and the filmmakers because everyone feels like they’re in good hands.
Well, for the most part. Springfield does get trapped by a giant dome and the Simpsons lose their house, but at least we see the pieces of what used to be the fabled rumpus room in the wreckage.
As for what I don’t care for, well, besides what I already mentioned, the pig thing is pretty dumb. I know, I know, the pig is the catalyst for the story, and the little ditty Homer sings to it is an earworm, but the poop silo…ew. That’s gross, even for Homer.
The Simpsons Movie isn’t great, but it was just the thing my foggy New Mom brain needed at the time, especially seeing Comic Book Guy wearing Marge’s old pregnancy pants.
Coming up in August:
Nope, not much in the way of blogathons, but August is going to be a jam-packed month anyway because of that week of “Sorta Adios To Summer” posts I promised. Boy howdy, there’s some cray-cray stuff in there. Just wait. Thanks for reading, all, and I hope to see you in a few days with a new Page To Screen…
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