james l brooks
I've been holding this interview for almost six months, but I think it was worth it. When I was in Pasadena last summer for the TCA press tour (whose winter edition I'll be leaving for on Friday morning... eep!), I spoke to Morgan Spurlock about the 20th anniversary film he was making about The Simpsons. FOX has finally decided to air that film, entitled The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special -- In 3-D! On Ice!, on January 10, along with the venerable cartoon's 450th episode.
Spurlock was just in the initial stages of filming the documentary when I talked to him, but his views on the show, how it and the perception of it has changed over the years, and some of the interesting things he learned about the show made for a fun interview. Since I didn't know how long the movie was going to be, I start the talk by expressing some surprise about its length.
Earlier this week our pals over at Cinematical reported that Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg now have a release date for their update of the cult classic Green Hornet. And now comes word that the pair, who previously worked together on Pineapple Express, Superbad, and Da Ali G Show, are writing an episode for The Simpsons. While talking with Collider, Rogen explains that after meeting James L. Brooks at a party he figured he had an in with The Simpsons. He was right, and after pitching 5 ideas for the show they got the gig. Animation schedules being what they are the episode won't make it into the upcoming season, but it's something to look forward to.
The always-informative Simpsons Channel has news from the always-informative TVShowsOnDVD.com about the upcoming DVD release of the Simpsons Movie. The information was relayed to TVShowsOnDVD through some folks in the industry, so everything I mention here is subject to change. Still, I couldn't resist this opportunity to whet fans' appetites.
The DVD will be out on December 18, and it will be circular. Also, the film will be available in both full screen and widescreen formats. I don't know why you'd want to buy full screen, unless you want to sit and pretend you're watching an extra-long episode of the TV series.
Outside of bootleg T-shirts and posters, we haven't seen much of Bart Simpsons' penis. I'm going to assume most of you are content with that, but Newsweek reports we might be seeing more of Bart than ever before in the upcoming Simpsons movie.
It's not as if cartoon wang has never been seen before: we've seen Cartman's on South Park, and another short-lived animated series on Comedy Central, Bob and Margaret, showed occasional toon frontal nudity, as well. However, the quoted Newsweek piece doesn't say anything about the audience being exposed to Bart, just that Bart exposes himself at one point (which could mean the characters in the movie catch a glimpse but we don't).
Those of you who read my Simpsons reviews know I'm somewhat of an apologist for the series, defending it against those who say it's no longer a worthwhile show. I will say, however, that I don't think newer episodes always earn the emotional resonance they strive for. Many of the episodes from the first few seasons were genuinely heart-warming, but that emotional center isn't as prevalent in later episodes, though I hasten to add it's not gone completely.
In a brief interview on Rotten Tomatoes, voice actor Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Barney, Krusty the Clown, many others) talked about how doing voices for the movie was different than doing voices for the TV series. James L. Brooks, who has helmed such blockbusters as Terms of Endearment and As Good As It Gets, and has been an executive producer on the series from the very beginning, helped direct the voice actors to get them to enhance the emotional aspects of the characters. The result, says Castellaneta, is a movie that will be not unlike the TV series, but with levels of emotion reached that don't necessarily work on the small screen.
The movie comes out July 27.
Thanks to fellow Simpsons nut Wild Bill for the link.
I'm going to post my overall thoughts on this TV smorgasboard later this week. But before I hop a plane back to Jersey, I wanted to talk about the session that was a TV nerd's dream, at least to this TV nerd: FOX's panel to celebrate the 400th episode of The Simpsons, which will air this May. On the panel was none other than creator Matt Groening, executive producer and TV legend James L. Brooks, current show-runner Al Jean, and voice actors Yeardley Smith (Lisa) and Dan Castellaneta (Homer and a bunch of other voices).
Burns: Listen, Spielbergo, Schindler and I are like peas in a pod. We're both factory owners, we both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked damn it!
This episode opens like any other, with one tiny omission: Matt Groening's name does not appear on the Simpsons' television along with "James L. Brooks" and "Sam Simon." The story goes that Groening and Brooks were at odds over whether to let Jay Sherman from The Critic (a show created by Simpsons peeps Mike Reiss and Al Jean) appear in the episode. Groening felt, and quite rightly I believe, that Jay was not a part of the Simpsons' universe, and didn't belong on the show. A transcribed article about the tiff can be found here.
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