4 Shots From 4 Films: The Incredible Shrinking Man, Sleepwalkers, Team America: World Police, Captain Marvel

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Happy International Cat Day!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957, dir by Jack Arnold)

Sleepwalkers (1992, dir by Mick Garris)

Team America: World Police (2004, dir by Trey Parker)

Captain Marvel (2019, dir by Anna Bolden and Ryan Fleck)


Shattered America #73: Team America: World Police (dir by Trey Parker)


So, are we once again allowed to watch Team America: World Police?

As you may remember, back in December, the entire nation totally freaked out over the possibility that North Korea might be offended by the James Franco/Seth Rogen comedy The Interview.  Hackers — who many assumed were working for North Korea — released embarrassing emails that were exchanged among Sony executives and filmmakers.  Barely literate threats were posted, warning that any theater showing The Interview would be blown up.  Common sense should have told us that these were empty threats but instead, everyone panicked.

Sony announced that they would not be releasing The Interview.  The film would never see the light of day.  Overdramatic people like me got on twitter and announced that, if Sony didn’t release The Interview, then free speech was dead.  “It is every American’s duty to see The Interview!” I tweeted, “If you don’t see The Interview, you’re letting the terrorists win!”

Then Sony changed their mind and released The Interview after all.  People got to watch it.  Critics got to slam it.  Free speech lived for yet another day.

As for me, I never got around to watching it.

Uhmm, anyway…

What got forgotten in all of this drama is that some theaters announced that they would show the 2004 film Team America: World Police in the place of the Interview.  In many ways, it was a brilliant idea.  Team America, after all, is a brilliantly profane satire from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  Not only was the film a parody of overdone Hollywood blockbusters but it also featured the members of Team America using their powers to take out Kim Jong-il, the father of the political leader targeted for assassination in The Interview.  Even better than that, it featured Team America violently destroying the vapid (and surprisingly well-armed) celebrities who Kim Jong-il had tricked into supporting him.  How can you not love a film that features a puppet of Michael Moore blowing itself up?

Oh, did I mention that the entire movie features puppets?  Because it so does!

The use of puppets allows Parker and Stone to not only create some spectacular action scenes but also to feature parodies of more than a few real-life celebrities, all of whom are portrayed as being stupid, trendy, and easily manipulated.  The fact that Sean Penn saw himself lampooned in the film and then wrote an angry letter to Parker and Stone (ending it with, “Fuck you!”) is one of many reasons to love Team America.

So, we weren’t going to get to see The Interview but at least we could see Team America.  But then Paramount Pictures announced that they were not going to let any theater show Team America.  As annoyed as I was by what happened with The Interview, the ban on Team America was even more annoying.

I mean, we all knew The Interview as probably a really bad film.  But we also knew that Team America was great!  Indeed, banning Team America seemed like exactly the type of thing that one of the film’s puppet celebrities would have demanded.

Plus, as Team America‘s theme song reminded us — “America!  Fuck yeah!”  Bowing down to dictators does not make anyone want to shout, “America!  Fuck yeah!”

More like, “America!  Fuck no!”

Anyway, eventually Sony relented and released The Interview.  But I haven’t heard anything about Team America.  However, it’s currently available on Netflix so I’m going to assume that it is once again legal to watch Team America.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I still felt like I was breaking the law when I recently rewatched it.

Yet another reason to love Team America: World Police.

Song of the Day: Let’s Fighting Love (by Matt Stone and Trey Parker)

Let's Fighting Love

What’s more Christmas than some good old cheer song about fighting love from the creators of South Park.

Let’s Fighting Love

I have a wonderful penis
There is hairs on my balls
Is that the sound of a baby monkey?
No! Ninjas are here!
Hey hey let’s go! Getting in a fight!
The important thing is to protect my balls!
I am badass, so let’s fighting
Let’s fighting love!
Let’s fighting love!

This song is a little stupid
It doesn’t make any sense
English is all fucked up
But that’s ok, we do it all the time!
Hey hey let’s go! Getting in a fight!
The important thing is to protect my balls!
I am badass, so let’s fighting
Let’s fighting love!
Let’s fighting love!

Ghosts of Christmas Past #5: The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus Vs. Santa

Today’s ghost of Christmas Past is the 1995 short film, The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus Vs. Santa.  This is the short film that led to Comedy Central hiring Trey Parker and Matt Stone to develop the television series South Park.  Needless to say, The Spirit of Christmas is not safe for work.  It’s also not safe for the easily offended.

Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Songs of 2012

Continuing my series on the best of 2012, here are ten of my favorite songs from 2012.  Now, I’m not necessarily saying that these were the best songs of 2012.  Some of them aren’t.  But these are ten songs that, in the future, will define 2012 for me personally.  Again, these are my picks and my picks only.  So, if you think my taste in music sucks (and, admittedly, quite a few people do), direct your scorn at me and not at anyone else who writes for the Shattered Lens.

By the way, I was recently asked what my criteria for a good song was.  Honestly, the main thing I look for in a song is 1) can I dance to it and 2) can I get all into singing it while I’m stuck in traffic or in the shower?

Anyway, at the risk of revealing just how much of a dork I truly am, here are ten of my favorite songs of 2012.

10 and 9) Make Bullying Kill Itself and Jacking It In San Diego (Trey Parker and Matt Stone)

These two songs were featured in the classic bullying episode of South Park.  They should be required listening for anyone who thinks that a YouTube video can change human nature.

8) Big Machine (Ryan Miller)

Perhaps not surprisingly, I discovered a lot of my favorite music of 2012 in the films of 2012.  This song was written for the Safety Not Guaranteed soundtrack.

7) Abraham’s Daughter (Arcade Fire)

This is from The Hunger Games soundtrack.

6) The Poison Tree (Moby, feat. Inyang Bassey)

Technically, this song — which is featured on Destroyed —  is from 2011 but it was released, as a single, in 2012.

5) Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)

This is just a fun song.

4) Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)

Kelly Clarkson is always going to have to deal with haters, because she won American Idol and voted for Ron Paul.  She’s one of my favorites, however.

3) Skyfall (Adele)

The minute I heard this song, I knew Skyfall was going to be great.

2) Blow Me (One Last Kiss) (P!nk)

It’s not really a year in music unless I have P!nk somewhere on the list.

1)Razor’s Out (Mike Shinoda featuring Chino Moreno)

This is from the soundtrack of The Raid: Redemption.  Quite simply put, this is a great soundtrack for writing.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look at 2012 with my list of 10 good things that I saw on television last year.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #55 (Horror Edition): South Park S16E12 — A Nightmare On Face Time

Last night, like all good people, I turned over to Comedy and I caught the annual South Park Halloween episode.

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was South Park, of course!

What Was It About?

It’s Halloween in South Park and Randy Marsh has just spent $10,000 to buy the deserted Blockbuster Video Store.  Randy drags his family down to their new store and puts them to work, sorting films left over from the late 90s and the early 21st Century.  Despite getting absolutely no costumers (and the fact that the theme from Kubrick’s The Shining keeps playing in the background), Randy remains convinced that DVD rental remains the way of the future.  Even though his family doubts him, Randy finds some comfort with the ghosts who live in the Blockbuster and who encourage him to go on a Jack Nicholsonesque rampage.

Meanwhile, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman have come up with the perfect plan for Halloween.  Each one of them is going to dress up like a member of the Avengers and, as a group, win the town’s costume contest.  However, when Stan is forbidden to leave the Blockbuster by an increasingly insane Randy, Kyle is forced to use Face Time on his and Stan’s Ipads so that Stan can literally be in two places at once.   Cartman, meanwhile, has to deal with the fact that everyone in town thinks that he’s wearing a green Honey Boo Boo costume.

While out trick or treating, the boys come across a group of criminals who are robbing Redbox kiosks.  The criminals, already frustrated by the fact that nobody uses Redbox anymore, end up kidnapping Kyle’s Ipad and make plans to capture the rest of the kids at the South Park Monster Mash (which we are assured is a “graveyard smash.”)

What Worked?

Was this the best Halloween episode of South Park ever?  Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far but it was definitely one of the best.  From the minute that the familiar and ominous music from The Shining started up, I knew that I was going to love this episode.

Among my many favorite moments of this episode:

Randy watching Ted.

The cops talking about how the monster mash is a graveyard smash.

“I’m not Bruce Vilanch!”

“Kids, come look at the green Honey Boo Boo…”

What Did Not Work:

The episode itself was about as close to perfect as one could hope for.  Despite this, the hispster Toadsuckers at the A.V. Club still gave it a mixed review.  Perhaps if the episode had featured a reference or two to Arrested Development, the A.V. Club folks would have been kinder to it.

“OH MY GOD!  Just like me!” Moments

Unfortunately, nobody dressed up as The Black Widow for Halloween, which essentially prevented the entire episode from being a “OH MY GOD!  Just like me!” moment.

I was 12 years old when my family first moved back to Dallas and there was a Blockbuster Video located just a few blocks from our apartment.  A few months later, we moved to a house in the suburbs and, while it was quite different from living in an apartment in the ghetto, one thing remained the same — we still lived near a Blockbuster.  Seriously, it was so much fun going down there and looking at all the movies that were available and I can still remember how heated the discussions used to get between me and my sister Erin as we debated which R-rated movie we should try to talk our mom into renting for us.

(“Oh, mom,” I’d say, “they rate everything R nowadays, it doesn’t mean anything…”)

Perhaps that’s why, even in this time of Netflix and Hulu and streaming movies online and all the rest, I still love the idea of owning actual DVDs, Blu-rays, and even the occasional VHS tape.

I recently had a chance to drive by one of those old Blockbuster stores.  It’s a dollar store now and, while it sells a lot of stuff, there’s not a movie to be found. Boo hoo.

(Seriously, it was kinda depressing.)

Lessons Learned:

Things change.

E3 Trailer: South Park: The Stick of Truth

Another title which caught my attention during Microsoft’s pre-E3 press conference is the latest game for South Park which also happens to have both Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of the show) working hand-in-hand with the developers of the game, Obsidian Entertainment, to get the look and feel of the show translated to the game.

The game is South Park: The Stick of Truth and it’s a role-playing game which makes use of the four boys dressed up as fantasy role-play characters from the episode “The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers”. This time around instead of controlling one of the four boys the player will actually be the hero hat Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny turn “to undo what has been did” as Cartman mentions in the trailer.

Just from the trailer alone it looks like Obsidian has been doing it’s best to replicate the look, feel and sound of the tv series. It helps that both Matt Stone and Trey Parker are doing the voices to the game’s characters and also writing the game’s story. From snippets heard in the trailer it looks like the game will have crab people, hippies, vampire kids and underpants gnomes as enemies just to name a few. We even get glimpses of gun-toting Jesus and Mr. Slave.

What I’ll be interested in finding out is whether the game will be rated T for teens or get rated M for Mature. I hope it’s the latter because if there’s anything about South Park it’s that it definitely pushes the boundaries of mature audience entertainment.

South Park: The Stick of Truth is set for a March 5, 2013 release date.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: South Park Episode 15.02 FunnyBot

Last night, I watched the latest episode of South Park, Funnybot.

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it’s South Park, of course!

What Was It About?

Aspiring stand-up comedian Jimmy Vulmer puts together the first annual Comedy Awards show at South Park Elementary.  Only Tyler Perry shows up to accept his award and only Token Black seems to be happy to see him.  Once he’s arrived, Perry refuses to leave and instead spends his time wandering around the school, dressed up like Madea and saying, “Oh Lord!”  Soon, every student except for Token is sick of him and demanding that Perry go away.  However, Token — who has apparently been hypnotized by Perry — finds himself incapable of not giving Perry money to stick around.

However, there’s an even bigger problem than Tyler Perry.  During the Comedy Awards Ceremony, the Germans are named the least funny people on the planet.  The Germans react by creating Funnybot, a robot with a very methodical, rather German approach to humor.  Soon Funnybot is the biggest, most popular stand-up comedian on the planet even though his jokes are simply a mad lib-style of random pop cultural references mixed in with a few standard situations.  However, the world loves Funnybot and they continue to love him even after he starts to violently murder everyone who comes to see his shows.

After all of South Park Elementary is taken hostage by the comedians that have been put out of work by Funnybot.  Kyle, Cartman, and Stan try to talk some sense into Funnybot.  Funnybot responds by explaining that he’s going to destroy the world. 

And, as the world awaits destruction, Barack Obama watches a Tyler Perry movie…

What Worked?

I’ll be honest.  I love South Park so, as far as I was concerned, the whole show worked.  Funnybot was a great creation and, according to my friend Jeff, Funnybot was a reference to Dr. Who and that made Jeff happy which was pretty cool.  I’ve seen a few people online who are complaining that it wouldn’t make any sense for Funnybot to remain a popular comedian even after he starts killing people but those people are obviously not true fans of South Park.  A true fan of South Park would know that South Park always presents the entire population of the world as a bunch of sheep who are incapable of thinking for themselves.

Plus, this show did what South Park does best in that it bluntly acknowledged an inconvenient truth — i.e., that white people just do not get Tyler Perry and that many of us find watching his “style” of comedy can be a very awkward experience.  As well — and this is something that seems to have gone over the heads of a lot of people who watched this show — South Park’s Tyler Perry is essentially portrayed as being the human equivalent of the Funnybot.  Just as Token is shown to be incapable of resisting Perry, all the other (white) characters are incapable of resisting Funnybot.

(I am going to say one thing in his defence: the year that Precious was nominated for best picture, Perry was one of the presenters at the Academy Awards and he actually came across as endearingly nervous and almost likable.  Or, at least, he did to me.)

Finally, on a purely silly level, I loved the way that Jimmy responded to every problem by saying, “But I think we can all agree that the 1st Annual Comedy Awards was a great success.”  It just made me laugh.

What Didn’t Work?

Hmmm…well, as funny as the idea of a bunch of stand-up comedians taking an elementary school hostage is, I kinda wish that Trey Parker and Matt Stone had done more with it.  That said, I love Matt and Trey and I hope they win all sorts of Tony Awards for The Book of Mormon.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moment

Much like Funnybot, I find that going “Awkward!” in a cute little voice is the perfect way to make an unfunny joke funny.

Lessons Learned:

Logic is a hideous bitch goddess.