Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dinner and a Movie: Pizza & "The Simpsons Movie"

IT'S ONLY FITTING, while waiting in a long line stretching up Third Avenue to (hopefully) see The Simpsons Movie, that my dinner consisted of two slices of greasy take-out pizza from the ubiquitous "pizza place on the corner." I suppose the only thing more fitting, more American would have been a box of donuts and a six-pack of beer. And bless Homer Simpson's heart for setting that standard.

How was the pizza? Oh, it was okay. Due Amici is conveniently located on the corner of Third Avenue and E. 12th Street in the East Village. Convenient because it's one block away from the Lowes Village 7 movie theater, which is about exactly how long the line was to get into the Simpsons Movie sneak preview. I imagine they get pretty good business most Thursday evenings pre-preview.

The pizza is nothing to write home about (unless my ma reads this, in which case I guess I wrote home about it). Thin crust, about a dozen varieties to choose from. I had one regular slice and one mushroom slice--both were pretty good, but the mushrooms were especially fresh. I wasn't expecting that. Kinda expensive ($5.25 for two slices), but I guess you do expect that in the East Village.

How was Due Amini? Oh, it was alright. Nothing special. A little dingy, actually. Definitely a little toasty with that pizza oven roasting away on a summer evening. There's a full deli on the right as you enter. I had a vague flashback of stopping in once to buy a cup of iced coffee en route to Nevada Smith's to watch a La Liga match one Sunday morning. The bouncer made fun of me for bringing coffee to a bar. I told him it was 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday and that I was pretty okay with my choice. He said--

What? The movie?
Ooooh--how was The Simpsons Movie? Oh, it was pretty good I guess.

Strike that, it was flipping fantastic! It was like watching an episode of The Simpsons on television, but on a movie screen! And longer! With a whole lot of friends! And paying for it! Well, technically, we didn't pay for it--but those of you who do will especially like the gag at the beginning where Homer makes fun of you for paying for it. I'm not sure which audience finds that joke more hilarious.

There are plenty other hilarious moments, I won't ruin all of them here. But I
will ruin two: The now-famous Spider Pig song from the trailers actually manages to get better!

Spider Pig,
Spider Pig,

Does whatever
a Spider Pig does...

Can he swing,

From a web?

No he can't,

He's a pig...

Eat your heart out, Robert Frost! If that's not American poetry redefined, I don't know what is. The other most hilarious moment ever involves a naked skateboarding Bart and an extended sequence of sight gags that maintains the film's PG rating. This sequence is then punctuated by a sight gag that earns the film its PG-13 rating. I almost peed myself.

What ultimately made The Simpsons Movie great was that it succeeded in dismissing the one great fear I had entering the theater:
not that the Movie would wind up being exactly like the TV show, but that showmanship on such a grand scale would require a blander, more mass-appealing version of its characters. No such compromises was made. The Simpsons remained as unapologetically irreverent and in tune with America in a way no other comedy sitcom in this country, cartoon or otherwise, will ever understand.

Still, would it have been too much to ask for a couch gag?

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