C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Matt and Trey give us another movie already!
I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to call Matt Stone and Trey Parker two of the most important comedic talents to emerge in the last twenty years. "South Park," now on its 15th season, started off great, but ended up brilliant. It amazes me that "The Simpsons," which WAS brilliant, but hasn’t been truly funny in at least a decade, is exalted as the height of animated comedy, yet SOUTH PARK, has never slowed down, but is still ignored by many.
SOUTH PARK’s not just funny, but it can also be a scathing critique of current events, with SOUTH PARK being among the first shows to address 9/11, critique Scientology, and dare to satirize Islamic Fundamentalism. At the same time, SOUTH PARK is never preachy, and has never lost sight of the fact that its main objective is to be funny.
On film, Matt and Trey have been far less prolific, but just as brilliant. ORGAZMO was a funny porn spoof, and BASEKETBALL, which they only starred in, but didn’t write, produce or direct, was a b-comedy, funny at times (especially if you happen to be “under the influence”), but the extent of their talent wasn’t obvious until they turned SOUTH PARK into a feature film.
I remember how everyone expected SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, UNCUT to be a disaster, with it having a deceptively dumb teaser. But then the film opened, where it was brilliantly counter-programmed against the notorious Will Smith flop, WILD,WILD WEST. BIGGER, LONGER, UNCUT was so much smarter than anyone thought it would be, with Matt and Trey brilliantly satirized US foreign policy (and this was BEFORE George W.), took this piss out of Saddam Hussein, and took a flamer-thrower to the knee-jerk bout of censorship that just happened to be rearing its head once again in the wake of Columbine (although the film was completed before that tragedy took place).
The film was sleeper hit (grossing $83 million worldwide), and even garnered an Oscar nomination for best original song ("Blame Canada," although I still think they would have won had "Uncle Fucka" gotten the nom instead). The success of the film seemed to push SOUTH PARK into exploring bolder territory, but it took another five years before their next film came out: TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE.
On paper, TEAM AMERICA seemed idiotic. A musical Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay spoof done with marionettes? Well, it was anything but with TEAM AMERICA pulling in modest box-office ($50 million worldwide), but getting a lot of critical acclaim, and great DVD sales. Shockingly, the soundtrack didn’t get an Oscar nomination although it should have for the brilliant "America, Fuck Yeah!").
Sadly, in the seven years since TEAM AMERICA hit theaters, Matt and Trey have not given us a follow-up, and none seem to be in the works. This would be a tragedy, were it not for the fact that "South Park" continues its strong run on comedy central. However, they do have a hit play, "The Book of Mormon," which has been universally acclaimed (with our own Jason Adams having seen it and loved it). Could a film version be in the works? One can only hope, but it hasn’t been announced. Matt and Trey: do it!!! Make it a movie, and give us another brilliant comedy for us to rewatch and quote endlessly. It might not make $100 million, but who cares? Give it to us, and while you’re at it, how about another big-screen SOUTH PARK and a TEAM AMERICA sequel? Hollywood: make it happen!