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November 30, 2023

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“The Simpsons Movie”

“The Simpsons Movie” Grade: A-

In “The Simpson Movie,” Homer asks the audience, “Why pay for something you can see on TV for free?” In this case, it is because the episodes that have been on TV for the last few years are nowhere near as good as this movie.

In the first cinematized version of the TV show that has been around long enough to grow on at least two generations worldwide, Homer puts Springfield in apocalyptic danger. This idea is certainly not new to the show, and that is the only real downside to the movie. The show has done everything, and because of this, the movie is just a 90-minute “Simpsons” episode. But when that is the only flaw of the movie – when it is too much like the show – then it will be well worth the money that Homer tries to make the audience feel stupid for paying.

Whether families love Homer and his family because of how fat, lazy, stupid or ridiculous they are, or because the family can relate to the dysfunctional qualities of such fat, lazy, stupid or ridiculous people does not seem to matter. The show carries a hugely diverse fanbase that all love the series for their own reasons.

It makes fun of Christians, presidents, environmentalists, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Green Day and so many more, and in that way becomes a good summary of the nearly 18-year-old show. With some of the jokes, I laughed for a good 15 seconds more than everyone else, and with some other jokes the audience could hear a single person laughing uncontrollably and becoming embarrassed for laughing longer than everyone else. This has always been what was great about the show: it touches on many different things that its diverse audience will find something that seems to be written just for them.

In order to fill the 90-minute moviegoing experience, the normal Marge-gets-angry-with-Homer or Lisa-tries-to-save-the-environment plot lines are pushed to their peaks. Marge says that this time she cannot forgive Homer’s selfish ways and Lisa’s futile petitioning can’t stop Springfield from being enclosed in a giant dome to quarantine the city. Everything from the show gets emotionally pushed in order to remind everyone that they are in a movie theater.

Though preview trailers usually destroy the only great jokes by the time a movie comes out, this movie did not have that problem. There were great laughs all the way through, and the part that leads up to the scene in the previews where Ned Flanders is holding a french fry where Bart’s naked man parts belong is just brilliant. The scene in the previews where Homer is whipping the sled dogs shouting, “Run, Run, Jump, Jump, Rest, Rest” remains funny even after seeing it many times.

With a movie based on such an extraordinarily popular TV show, there will be loads of people who are disappointed by the idea alone. There will be lots of skeptics who cynically want the movie to bomb so they can say how the show just isn’t what it used to be. As one of those people, I was incredibly surprised by what a great comedy this was. There were plenty of good laughs the whole way through, and walking out of that theater, I could not have been happier with the big screen translation.

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