Thursday, February 24, 2005


Here's the most excited I've been in years about a movie that hasn't come out yet: Untitled Mike Judge Comedy (2005). The plot outline from IMDB:
Private Joe Bowers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program, set 1,000 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.

To be clear, it's not the story for which I'm psyched: I simply believe Mike Judge to be the finest comedy creator of the past 10-ish years. Unfortunately, there's two things that have conspired to deny him his much deserved recognition:
  1. King of the Hill being paired with The Simpsons for years
  2. That the popularity (and notoriety) of the early Beavis & Butthead shorts came thanks to MTV and teenaged boys
I happen to agree with most grownups that Beavis & Butthead was pretty stupid; this was compounded by the godawful videos they watched. That said, the movie "Beavis & Butthead Do America" was hilarious. By adding a plot and ditching the live music videos, B&B improved by orders of magnitude - and the humour was no more juvenile than two-thirds of the things on screen and TV today.

King of the Hill, now in its 9th season, is as good (or better) as it's ever been - for my money, it's the best half-hour on TV. All but the most evangelical (or newly-converted) Simpsons fans would have to concede that it has jumped the shark (precise accounts of when vary - I would argue that it face-planted on the whitecaps with Duncan the bad-ass horse and the weird underground jockeys).

Basically, King of the Hill, while being gut-bustingly funny at times, still has heart. I stopped "caring" about Homer Simpson over the past several years - the show's writers and producers seem to have dealt with the inevitable (and forgivable) creative fatigue by making everything a parody of the detachment of the irony of the sarcasm of etc. etc. etc. King of the Hill's characters are lovable, which is possibly the toughest thing for a comedy writer to do while keeping the thing funny. (Line of the season: conspirazoid neighbour Dale Gribble faces down a slothful bureaucracy on Hank's behalf with, "I have a 3-line phone and nothing at all to do with my time.")

And then there's Office Space. If you don't agree that this is the best movie about "work" ever, I will fight you. And that's no lie.* It's Dilbert's equal at taking the piss out of the cubicle environment, with what appears to be a fraction of the recognition.

It's my sincere hope that this new movie is a wild success. There's too many people who currently know Mike Judge as, "that guy who made those stupid cartoons on MTV that my little cousin imitated for six months and annoyed the living HELL OUT OF ME!". He deserves better.


At 2:34 p.m., Blogger Jay said...

Office Space is a heroic achievement.

I think everyone sees a bit of their daily life in that movie. My last boss looked *exactly* like Lumberg - and I used to sit in a "high traffic" cubicle within earshot of reception.

"CorporateaccountspayableNinaspeaking - just a moment!"

At 2:47 p.m., Blogger Matt said...

My life-imitating-art moment from the movie is "Why does it say Paper Jam when there IS NO PAPER JAM!"


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