George Clooney’s Smug and South Park’s Hybrid Smug Create the Ultimate Smug Storm in “Smug Alert,” South Park Episode 1002

This episode is awesome and hilarious. On the one hand, I love the way it makes fun of San Francisco. I’ve been living in San Francisco for about 7 months and it really is a great city but holy shit am I tired of hearing about how great it is from every San Franciscan. These people think they are so progressive living in San Francisco. Even the carpet commercials say, “You’re a progressive Californian and you deserve a progressive carpet.” Oh my god! Suck my nuts! Though I like San Francisco, I love the way this episode captures the attitude out here. People here really do love the smell of their own farts (who doesn’t?).

Speaking of loving the smell of his own farts, let’s talk about Gerald Broflovski, who becomes ever more impressed with himself when he purchases a Hybrid and thinks that he’s saving the world. So smug is he that he eventually decides to move his family to San Francisco to cohabitate with all the other self-satisfied hybrid drivers.

In a desperate attempt to get his friend back to South Park (obviously Kyle went away with his family – and starts dropping acid in order to escape his parents who love the smells of their own farts so much) Stan writes a song that is meant to inspire people in South Park to buy hybrids. Well, it works, and ultimately the smug gathering over South Park at people’s new sense of self-satisfaction and the smug gathering over San Francisco combine into an unbelievable Smug System. When the smug from George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech (in which he speaks about how ahead of the times actors and Hollywood are) heads in the direction of the already brewing smug catastrophe, it’s more pressure than the western half of the U.S. can take.

See what the fallout of the smug is in “Smug Alert,” an awesome South Park episode.

What did you think? What was your favorite part?

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San Francisco, George Clooney and South Park’s Hybrids Collide in a Smug Storm in South Park Episode 1002, “Smug Alert”

Goodness gracious is this an awesome episode. Mr. Broflovski gets a hybrid and becomes so high and mighty that he moves his family to San Francisco where everyone loves the smells of his and her own farts. To get his best friend back to South Park, Stan writes a song that inspires everyone to become more environmentally conscious and buy hybrids. Then they all become equally as smug.

Smug clouds start gathering over South Park and San Francisco and when those smug clouds combine with the smugness from George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech (all about how advanced the people in Hollywood are), it’s a smug storm of epic proportions.

When Kyle leaves, Cartman makes Butters his Jew to rip on, but Butters doesn’t fight back like Kyle. He just laughs, and so Cartman has to go to San Francisco to rescue Kyle and his family from all the terrible hippies and bring him back. Cartman needs Kyle but doesn’t tell him that he saved his family from the Smug Storm. The way Cartman goes into the city all hazmat style is great, as is the children’s use of acid to escape their parents enjoyment of their own farts is hilarious.

I love this episode. First, I recently moved to San Francisco for a year and it is indeed an incredibly smug city. It’s a great place and I love it here but boy do we love the smell of our own farts. Second, hybrids, as much of a nice step as they may be, are not a permanent solution and people who drive them should not be so proud of themselves. And notably, Parker and Stone will mock anyone, friend or foe. George Clooney loves South Park, so much so that he wanted to be on it in the first season (he was only granted the role of Sparkey, Stan’s gay dog in episode 104). However, despite this, they tore into him for his obnoxious speech.

What did you think of this episode? What was your favorite part.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are Excellent in Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies

As far as I know this hasn’t been a critically acclaimed film. In fact, it’s one among many Hollywood attempts to expose the problematic approach of the United States to the War on Terror. Well, we all know it’s flawed but throwing it in our faces when we’ve paid $10 to be entertained is not the greatest approach.

As it happens, this movie was pretty entertaining. It was, I contend, too long, and quite frankly I don’t understand why almost every movie these days is over 2 hours. I wish I could say I thought they were trying to give us our money’s worth, but when it comes to movies, value is not measured in time. It’s measured in the quality of the product on the screen. Now, it’s not that there were a huge amount of scenes that needed cutting, but generally I find long movies to be a problem with ego or intelligence. Either the director/editor thinks that his material is too good to be cut or (s)he’s not smart enough to figure out how to cut material while making sure the story doesn’t fall apart. It’s an art and it’s difficult, I understand, but that doesn’t mean I need to sit there through 30 minutes of bunk material because you can’t get your cut on.

In any case, this movie was good, if a little long. I’m not generally a big Russell Crowe fan, but he did a good job being a character I wasn’t supposed to like much anyway. Leonardo DiCaprio, as always, was spectacular. I often say that he is one of the premier actors of our generation and I stand by that. He is incredible and this performance was great – not Oscar great and perhaps not Blood Diamond great, but he’s great.

I loved the portrayal of certain aspects of Muslim culture in Jordan, including the difficulties between the Muslim woman and DiCaprio’s character, and I loved the defense of the Middle East and Islamic culture by DiCaprio. The Middle East is a great place with great people and this global struggle that we’ve all become embroiled in makes it rather difficult to realize that. Obviously, that’s what Hollywood, in all its glory, wants us to see, but unfortunately it would rather slam it in our faces than subtly demonstrate the fact. What can you do?

I give Body of Lies 7 chocolate salty balls.

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Batman – Nolan’s Dark Knight, with Bale, Ledger and Caine, is Nothing Short of Sensational

I don’t applaud at the end of movies, and I never will. But if any movie ever made me want to it was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Truly, it was incredible.

Heath Ledger and the Joker

Let me start with Heath Ledger as that seems to be all anyone can talk about. That’s why I’ll make it brief and get onto other things since you all already know how good he is. His performance is unrivaled. Simply unrivaled. What’s more, I’m certainly not the first person to say that he deserves an Oscar. I could drone on, but it’s really that simple when it comes to Ledger so I’m not going to dwell.

I will say that I love the way the concept of Joker was written, which really had very little to do with Ledger, I’d imagine. That is, Nolan’s Joker truly embodied the chaos and anarchy that the character was meant to. Unlike Nicholson’s Joker whose history we are given, this Joker knows no history and the twisted words out of his mouth about himself make that all the more apparent. This Joker, in spirit, is the ultimate opposite of what Batman is and by very virtue of that fact the character itself may render all future Batman villains in this series somewhat disappointing. How could any be as twisted, maniacal or disturbing. That, with Ledger conveying these elements: unbeatable.

The Cast

No actor fell short in this film. Christian Bale’s character wasn’t nearly as tormented as in Batman Begins and so in a certain sense we get less out of him than before. Nonetheless, his performance was nothing to scoff at. He still made a great Bruce Wayne and an excellent Batman – though sometimes the deep pitch of his voice while playing the Dark Knight made understanding him a little hard.

Maggie Gyllenhaal was, I dare say, better than Katie Holmes, who, already having taken the crazy-plunge by the start of Batman Begins, wasn’t the wonderful girl I fantasized about during Dawson’s Creek. This Rachel wasn’t as hell-bent on saving Gotham, but she did have a spark – a life – that made her a great addition to the movie.

My feelings about Aaron Eckhart are mixed (potential spoiler alert – this paragraph only). I think he’s a great actor and entertaining fella to watch on screen. As Harvey Dent trying to be Gotham’s new hero D.A. he was compelling and believable – like the good guy many of us imagined him to be in Thank You For Smoking. I will say that by the end of the film, something about his performance was not adding up for me. Disappointing since as many people know by the previews, the third installment of this Batman series will most likely have Aaron Eckhart playing our villain (or at least one of them).

As a Film

The movie itself, actors aside – script, plot, themes, action – was sensational. Yes, the actors made it what it was, but Christopher Nolan deserves a hat off for this one. In true Batman spirit it was dark as could reasonably be done. Moreover, as absolutely twisted as it was and as much as we were visually privy to, Nolan never made us watch the few things that would have been unnecessary to show and only good for shock value (well, not only, but close). The discretion he exercised as a writer/director should be lauded. Finally, I was shocked by at least two facts that I didn’t see coming at all, and was so caught up that the plot twists were surprises to me as well – I love that when I’m watching a movie.

And yet with all this the movie was not simply great acting amidst exciting action sequences. It was food for thought. Mostly thanks to the dialogue written for Joker, the film intimately explored ideas as simple as right and wrong while also probing our hearts about human nature. We are made to practically plead with the film to reaffirm or restore our sense of human decency and it reminds us, without making us feel as though it’s trying to, that we are allowed to hope for better, brighter things. Concepts like the rule of law, anarchy, justice and more are also woven throughout the movie. Not once, though, are we made to sit through a director’s attempt at jamming anything down our throats. All of this is skillfully and seamlessly interlaced through dialogue, action, and plot, leaving you at the end to digest a whole lot more than what you thought you were getting for the price of admission (in some sense the opposite of the feeling you had when The Happening ended).

The Audience

I have never in my life seen a crowd like this. Applause before previews, when it began, periodically throughout and of course at the end. There was a huge line waiting to get in before the movie, but thanks to my sick girlfriend, we were able to bypass the whole thing and be the first ones in the theater. This, naturally, resulted in a threat on my life by the man first in line who had probably been there two hours ahead of time (we arrived thirty minutes before the start of the movie), and though I understand his disposition, I have a tough time believing that, as the second person in the theater, I picked the precise seat before him that he had so desperately waited to get.

There was not an empty seat in the house – and this at a theater that had midnight, three a.m. and six a.m. showings, and then all day right until ours. Fortunately I had my favorite seat in the house – dead center in the middle of the theater, both up and down, left and right. It really couldn’t have worked out better … for me.

Words to Leave You With

To conclude succinctly, this movie exceeded my expectations, and considering that they were so high, this was nearly impossible to do. When I expect great things from a movie, I rarely get them, a sad fact which resulted in my movie philosophy of no expectations but a hope for entertainment. This film, however, shattered the highest expectations I may ever have had for a movie. I thought it was over twice – and would have been wholly satisfied had it been – and was twice given another slew of great action, dialogue and entertainment. And so much more.

For a truly spectacular film, I award my first full 10 Chocolate Salty Balls. Someone tell Nolan – he’ll be thrilled.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this film in a comment below. Get your copy of The Dark Knight. You won’t regret it.

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