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Team America: World Police

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Call me immature, but I loved it.

I wasn't so sure I wanted to waste my money on a full length movie played by Marionettes. I could never really watch more than two minutes of Thunderbird but the plot and ridiculous dialouge gripped me.

Unfortunately, Team America is probably the biggest Pro-American movie you'll see or seen in a good two years. Unfortunant because it's a comedy movie based mainly on crass and vulgar.

Basically the story is about a gang of do-gooders called Team America, who literally have a base within Mt. Rushmore I believe. They police the world fighting terrorist. On a new mission, they recruit a Broadway actor to become the Teams master of disguise. Throughout the movie they run into a triple threat. Three evils that have aligned themselves to destroy Team America and make every country a third world country.

1.Kim II

2. Islamic Terrorists

3. And Hollywood acts who go by the name of Films Actor Guild. And yes, as an acronym it's F.A.G.

The political stance is obviously Libertarian.

Beware though. The film is extremely vulgar. My movie theater took extra procaution to find any sneeks. They even checked my I.D and that doesn't happen very much.

Other highlights would be Tim Robberts and Sean Penn, celebrity anti-war protestors pouring kerosine over the body of a Team America member while talking about bring peace to the world.

A second would be a overeating Michael Moore as a suicide bomber who's branded as a "giant socialist weasel" and non of these comments are taken back or apologised for.

But if you over look the typical South Park immaturity, you'll realize it's one of the most pro-American films out there today.

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Slightly off-topic:

I remember seeing a South Park episode about illiteracy. In the episode the town sheriff professed to being illiterate, to his shame. He went on to learn to read. However, after reading Atlas Shrugged (yes the exact novel was shown, with a mock-up of Nick Gaetano's cover art) he proclaimed I am never reading again after reading this worthless *bleep* or something along those lines....end of episode.

I've also seen Futurama take a swipe at Objectivism. One episode took place in the cities sub-sewer where a mutant race of humans lived. The people of this realm lived off of whatever garbage was flushed into the sewers. When Bender observes the mutant's community library he notes that all that was there was Ayn Rand novels and something else (I forgot). I'm guessing the writers were implying that the novels were garbage. During the writer's commentary on the DVD edition they curiously make no comment on the little joke when its a pretty significant punch-line.

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Slightly off-topic:

I remember seeing a South Park episode about illiteracy. In the episode the town sheriff professed to being illiterate, to his shame. He went on to learn to read. However, after reading Atlas Shrugged (yes the exact novel was shown, with a mock-up of Nick Gaetano's cover art) he proclaimed I am never reading again after reading this worthless *bleep* or something along those lines....end of episode.

Actually it's funny that Objectivism needs to be bashed so much by the media. It just proves that Objectivism is influential and cannot be simply ignored by irrationalists.

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The creators of South Park are extremely amoral when it comes to who there attacking so I honestly don't think they were attacking Ayn Rand. This is not some fan's defense though. But I'm bringing to everyone's attention that no one and I mean no one is out of Matt and Parker's radar. Everyone and then they'll show their true sides which is merely just some mixture with amoral ethics and libertarian politics.

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The creators of South Park are extremely amoral when it comes to who there attacking so I honestly don't think they were attacking Ayn Rand. This is not some fan's defense though. But I'm bringing to everyone's attention that no one and I mean no one is out of Matt and Parker's radar. Everyone and then they'll show their true sides which is merely just some mixture with amoral ethics and libertarian politics.

My impression of that South Park episode was that they didn't select Atlas Shrugged on the basis of its content; I think they viewed it as similar to War and Peace. It's a big novel that gets talked about by lots of people. I viewed it as a sign that Atlas Shrugged was becoming one of those books that people are 'supposed' to read.

The line on Futurama was "Nothing but crumpled porno and Ayn Rand", FWIW. I thought it was funny. In those sorts of one-off joke contexts any publicity is good publicity.

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My impression of that South Park episode was that they didn't select Atlas Shrugged on the basis of its content; I think they viewed it as similar to War and Peace.  It's a big novel that gets talked about by lots of people.  I viewed it as a sign that Atlas Shrugged was becoming one of those books that people are 'supposed' to read.

I don't really agree with your interpretation because in my experience Atlas Shrugged is anything but mainstream education and all evidence seems to conclude that that’s the general consensus among educators. But maybe this little series of events could be viewed as a swipe at the specific character of the sheriff as he is known to be an idiot and a bigot. However, the timing, as the closing comment of the episode, is a bit unsettling.

[edit]

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he proclaimed I am never reading again after reading this worthless *bleep* or something along those lines....end of episode

For the record, I don't think Matt Stone and Trey Parker would recommend that anyone take the advice of Officer Barbrady. It could be a compliment.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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Let's not forget the episode of the Simpsons where they send Maggie to the "Ayn Rand School for Tots". A very Rand-like preschool director swipes her pacifier saying, "You won't be needing THIS" and throws it in a huge box. Later all the toddlers overthrow the school and free their contraband binkies.

I take it as a good sign that Rand and her novels are cropping up in popular shows; at least it's an indication that not only the writers of the shows are somewhat familiar with her but that they expect a certain segment of their audience to be, too.

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I just saw this movie with three friends (two of them Objectivists) and we all loved it. Very, very funny -- if you like that style of humor. If you're prudish (and I know a lot of Objectivists who are) then don't see it. Otherwise, it's a terrific comedy, almost as good as the South Park movie.

**** SPOILERS *******

The puppet sex scenes -- well, it's amazing. And the little thrown-in allusions to Star Wars and Kill Bill -- excellent. I liked the little speech about "three types of people" in the world.

I still have the "Team America" theme song running through my head.

F--k Yeah!

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I'm a major South Park fan so I plan to see Team America soon. I ran across an interesting interview with the makers, Matt Stone and Trey Parker in Salon.com. In it, they made an impressive statement (considering they're in Hollywood):

Stone: It's about optimism, though. That's the big thing about the movie; that end message is about American optimism. And that's the difference between America and the rest of the world, because if you go to Europe, people are not optimistic about the future there. And Americans do have a naive optimism about that -- it's not just us, and the fact that we live in this L.A. bubble -- I think all Americans have this naive optimism and have for a long time. And a lot of times it's naive, and it's unfounded, and it's even wrong, but it's somehow that optimism that keeps America looking forward and trying to make the world better. And I really do think that's something that's unique to America that doesn't exist in a lot of the world.

And it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Stone: Exactly. A lot of times it fuels the good things. Sure, it's stupid, and a lot of times it's a big smile while eating a big s**t sandwich, but you just keep going, you know?

Parker: But another thing that goes along with the optimism part of it is basically the idea of, well, if I'm not going to have a f***ing great time and I'm not going to really appreciate and enjoy and say life is great, then there really is no hope. Because all of the hope for the world is that there can be a great life, and to me, I'm proof of that, that there can be a great life. And yes, it's all about trying to dole that out to as many people as possible, but it's also about, when you have a great country, and it all works, and your life is awesome, then be able to say so! But for some reason, it's almost taboo to say, My f***ing life is awesome, and I have a great time, and I have a sweet house and a nice car. People are like [using a scolding voice], "Hey, hey, hey, hey!"

Stone: Especially the richest people in the world, which we know some of in this town, you know? [Angry voice] "The world is f***ed up!"

Parker: Look, we were below middle class growing up, and I had a dream that someday things were gonna be better, and I assume that's the way it is in Third World countries. So, if you're not going to enjoy the dream, then there's no hope for anything.

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I saw it last night. I must say that I enjoyed their mocking of Kim Jong Il, of utopianist, egalitarian celebrities that think people actually care about their political views, of Michael Moore, and of Jerry Bruckheimer-style, substance-empty, mega-productions.

As was mentioned above, no one is exempt from their wrath, but I'm not so sure I'd be quick to call them amoral. For example, [Team America Content] there is this one scene where the "hero" takes a trip to Washington DC to contemplate whether he wants to join "the World Police" and visits memorials (such as the Vietnam Wall) while a very vulgar song plays in the background, in essence mocking what these memorials stand for.[/Team America Content]

For the most part, the movie mocks present-day irrationality incredibly well, and for that it's a very funny movie.

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I don't really agree with your interpretation because in my experience Atlas Shrugged is anything but mainstream education and all evidence seems to conclude that that’s the general consensus among educators.

[edit]

The ARI Fountainhead essay contest is one of the largest annual high school essay contests in the country. ARI has also been getting reasonable traction with their book donation program, getting copies of Rand's novels into high school classrooms. The works aren't a fixture in mainstream education yet, but teachers and students are definitely aware of them, and I think the awareness is growing.

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Read this interview to see Parker and Stone revealed in their essence (such as it is). Confused boys, riddled with contradictions, who just want everyone to get along. Kind of sad to read, and kind of annoying, too. They are typical of people who lack explicit, objective understanding of their own ideas (or any ideas). They struggle to defend some good ideas, but don't know how to do it, and in the process they end up undermining those very things they want to assert as good.

Parker/Stone interview

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The ARI Fountainhead essay contest is one of the largest annual high school essay contests in the country.  ARI has also been getting reasonable traction with their book donation program, getting copies of Rand's novels into high school classrooms.  The works aren't a fixture in mainstream education yet, but teachers and students are definitely aware of them, and I think the awareness is growing.

That’s great to hear. Not to diminish their efforts however, whatever principles available to these youths will most likely be systematically skewed, distorted, and ridiculed in their college years by the new socialists lefts strangle hold on America's Universities. I'm not completely sure an uncompromising vision of man as a Heroic being is as initially engaging to everyone as it was for me. Hopefully it's enough to instill an awareness of the fundamental significance of the realm of ideas, giving them an interest in enriching the philosophical defenses needed to withstand the influx of liberal vile they will be subjected to in their later years. And I guess I'm evidence of this possibilty.

Read this interview to see Parker and Stone revealed in their essence (such as it is).  Confused boys, riddled with contradictions, who just want everyone to get along.  Kind of sad to read, and kind of annoying, too.  They are typical of people who lack explicit, objective understanding of their own ideas (or any ideas).  They struggle to defend some good ideas, but don't know how to do it, and in the process they end up undermining those very things they want to assert as good.

Parker/Stone interview

They will make fine Libertarians.

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The ARI Fountainhead essay contest is one of the largest annual high school essay contests in the country. ARI has also been getting reasonable traction with their book donation program, getting copies of Rand's novels into high school classrooms. The works aren't a fixture in mainstream education yet, but teachers and students are definitely aware of them, and I think the awareness is growing.

Only two other people that I know in my school have heard of Ayn Rand, me and two of my friends. Not a single teacher has ever mentioned it in class.

It probley has to do with the fact that it's a Catholic school.

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Only two other people that I know in my school have heard of Ayn Rand, me and two of my friends. Not a single teacher has ever mentioned it in class.

It probley has to do with the fact that it's a Catholic school.

Like to join me in my effort to spread Objectivism or free thought and Capitalism in general? What I do is print out a paper with thought provoking quotes and post them around the school. Check with your principle first if you can post them in the halls. If not, then hand out papers to students. I've gotten a lot of feedback. Students are actually beginning to talk about relevant topics now.

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I'm a serious fan of South Park, but was disappointed by "Team America" (TA). South Park is consistently good at identifying and ridiculing bad ideas and trends in popular culture. TA isn't as sharp in mocking the stupidity related to the current events related to terrorism.

Most jokes relate to satirizing action-movie conventions, or mocking Hollywood actors and directors. The best mockery was of how eager some actors have been to defend tyrrany in the name of "peace" or idiotically blame American policy on "corporations".

Politically, the movie shows American force as blunt and crude, but necessary, portrays terrorists and dictators as self-evidently evil, driven by a hatred for human happiness, and shows liberals and peace activists as facilitators and dupes for evil. These points are not presented particularly well, however, and as they are not dramatized clearly, but are presented through an obscene analogy.

I thought Kim Jong Il stole the show, dramatically, and visually. The North Korean palace was fascinating to see, and he had the most memorable song.

Overall, the movie wasn't boring to me, but the jokes just weren't that great, especially compared to what these guys have done in South Park. I think this is because some subjects (such as political correctness) can be successfully attacked through humor, but things like world terrorism are so mortally serious that humor cannot penetrate the problem.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just saw Team America last night. As it was I thought it was incredibly funny and refreshing. They could have done a much better job however, the difference between a libertarian and Objectivist position. My favorite part was how they made the terrorist bar look like Jaba the Hut's palace, the guy with the gas mask! haha cracked me up. I wish someone could make humor this crude and direct who had some Objectivist values, that way I could love it all the more.

Did Michael Baldwin deserve the criticism he got? I wasn’t aware of any significant political activism on his part… did I miss something big?

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I think Baldwin's leading role was earned as sort of a lifetime achievement award for political activism for an actor. He's been a well-known left-wing activist for over a decade, right up there with Sarandon/Robbins. Note that in "South Park:Bigger Longer Uncut" the Baldwin compound was bombed to rubble by Canada. The big shocker was that Barbara Streisand was not given a significant role in the Film Actors Guild. I'm sure she must yearn to discuss peace with Kim Jong Il.

I should say that Team America might be pretty funny if you go into it with low or no expectations. My expectations were high before seeing the movie, and found it a bit disappointing, compared to some of their best work in the past.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just saw this the other week and was disappointed in it. It was funny, granted, but not often enough. As someone who used to run like hell delivering newspapers on Sunday mornings just so he could get home in time to watch THUNDERBIRDS, I wished TA:WP had more action scenes - the detail of some of the sets was amazing! Unfortunately, TA:WP suffered from your typical Hollywood misfortune - poor scripting. It was the dumb sex jokes (I'm thinking of the oral sex scene here - the puppet sex, on the other hand, was brilliant!) that killed it for me. Even the songs weren't up to "Uncle Fucka" quality.

Oh, well...can't have everything you want sometimes...

Has anyone here seen ORGAZMO?

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I haven't seen Orgazmo, but the premise of a Mormon porn star sounds funny. Parker/Stone recently did a whole South Park episode about how ridiculous the Mormon founding dogma is, while noting that most Mormons seem to act like really nice people.

I've seen Stone/Parker's first college film, Cannibal: The Musical, and it was not that funny. The funniest part of the movie was listening to the director's commentary track after watching the movie once.

That oral sex scene in T.A. was just gratuitously unpleasant to me, much like in South Park BLU, the death of "The Mole" seemed designed mostly to make people uncomfortable.

I thought T.A.'s mix of action scenes was pretty good, actually. The weird thing is that I saw one action scene from previews that was left out of the film.

I thought the main problem of T.A. was that too much of the humor was derivative, based on "inside hollywood" humor and ridiculing action movie bromides. South Park BLU, on the other hand, was a much more original creation (though it still was derivative.) I think I would have liked T.A. better if it had been more politically/ideologically focused. It's the anti-P.C. ideological satire that keeps me watching South Park.

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  • 2 months later...

The thing I noticed most about this movie was the accuracy in their portrayal of the weapons that the marionettes used. You saw Yugo SKSs, AK-47s, M249s. M203, H&K MP5s, Barret .50 cals, M16s, and many more. I am surprised in the effort that they put into this portion of the film.

P.S. I also thought the film was funny.

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  • 1 month later...

A little something to add to the Atlas Shrugged appearance in South Park. The person who considered the book trash, the cop (I forget his name), from what I have seen of the cartoon, is the type of person who would hate it because of his own beliefs. For instance, he bragged about choosing illiteracy and ignorance over the risk of having to read other works that hold people accountable for their actions. If one of the educated or respected characters (well, as educated and respected as the characters get) had called it trash then it would have been more revealing of the writers.

The Simpsons appearance went out of its way to compare Ayn Rand with totalitarian fascism. If you remember when Maggie was in the quiet room, and when the babies broke out at the end, there were dozens of references to The Great Escape (including the music). In case you are not familiar with the movie, it is about ally POWs escaping a Nazi prison camp. Since The Simpsons and Futureama were made by the same people the sewer reference does not surprise me.

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