Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
The national debate about violence and obscenity in the movies has arrived in South Park. The "little redneck mountain town,'' where adult cynicism is found in the mouths of babes, is the setting for vicious social satire in "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.'' The year's most slashing political commentary is not in the new films by Oliver Stone, David Lynch or John Sayles, but in an animated comedy about obscenity. Wait until you see the bedroom scenes between Satan and Saddam Hussein.
Waves of four-letter words roll out over the audience, which laughs with incredulity: People can't believe what they're hearing. The film is rated R instead of NC-17 only because it's a cartoon, I suspect; even so, the MPAA has a lot of 'splaining to do. Not since Andrew Dice Clay passed into obscurity have sentences been constructed so completely out of the unspeakable.
I laughed. I did not always feel proud of myself while I was laughing, however. The movie is like a depraved extension of "Kids Say the Darnedest Things,'' in which little children repeat what they've heard and we cringe because we know what the words really mean. No target is too low, no attitude too mean or hurtful, no image too unthinkable. After making "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,'' its creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had better move on. They've taken "South Park'' as far as it can go, and beyond.
If you've never seen the original Comedy Central show and somehow find yourself in the theater, you'll be jolted by the distance between the images and the content.