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The Original "Toy Story"

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Apparently George Lucas has been selling out his art from near the beginning. No wonder the first two Star Wars (ep. 4 & 5) are the best ones. Here’s Gary Kurtz, who produced the first 2 films:

“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”

[…]

After the release of “Empire” (which was shaped by material left over from that first Lucas treatment), talk turned to a third film and after a decade and a half the partners could no longer find a middle ground.

“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.

Kurtz said that ending would have been a more emotionally nuanced finale to an epic adventure than the forest celebration of the Ewoks that essentially ended the trilogy with a teddy bear luau.

As I kid I admit I did like the Ewoks, but it clearly was manipulative (not all bad I concede) and I’d appreciate a better film today. Of course South Park knew all along.  

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Nice Work FBI

From the A.V.Club I learn that:

The FBI has arrested the Virginia man who posted a “warning” to South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker on a radical Muslim website back in April, after he told federal agents of his plans to travel overseas and join a terrorist group. Zachary Chesser, described as a 20-year-old “university dropout,” was apprehended while attempting to board a plane at a New York airport despite being on a no-fly list, after which he spoke at length with FBI agents about his connection to al-Qaeda associate group Al-Shabaab, which he intended to join in Kenya or Somalia.

Don’t Piss Off South Park Fans

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment
I usually don’t like hackers, but, well…
Image from RevolutionMuslim.com
(the site that threatened Matt and Trey)

(h/t Dan Savage)

Standing Up For South Park

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment


So the newest episode of South Park was heavily edited and now won’t be rebroadcast.  I’m a little ashamed that we can’t stand up more for our freedoms.  Here’s a decent recap of the controversy on CNN that features the courageous Aayan Hirsi Ali.

Can we also replace National Prayer Day with this:

Muslims Pissed at Cartoons Again. Not Funny.

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Matt Parker and Trey Stone, creators of South Park, are being threatened (not explicitly) on the radical Islamic site Revolutionmuslim.com 

CNN writes:

The posting on Revolutionmuslim.com says: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.” 

[…]

Over still photographs of Parker, Stone, van Gogh and others, the Web site runs audio of a sermon by the radical U.S.-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is now in hiding in Yemen. The sermon, recorded some time ago, talks about assassinating those who have “defamed” the Prophet Mohammed  citing one religious authority as saying “Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that.” U.S. officials say al-Awlaki is on a list of al Qaeda leaders targeted for capture or assassination.

The last episode of South Park satirized the ridiculousness of not being able to draw a cartoon of Mohammed.  In the episode he appears disguised in a full bear suit, in a van, and behind a censor bar. In a previous episode before the Danish controversy erupted, Mohammed appeared in as a member of the Super Best Friends – no one freaked out. In an interview Parker and Stone make the point that if everyone had reprinted the Danish cartoons there would be no one specific to target and it would diffuse the threat while also displaying our commitment to free speech. Sadly, Comedy Central prevented them from showing Mohammed. 


I hope the American media stands up against these terrorists and defends free speech and freedom of the press. Everyone should standing with Trey Parker and Matt Stone.


(h/t Dave)

Springtime for Joseph Smith!

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

The Book of Mormon is the new musical headed to Broadway in 2011.  The creators? South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Amazing.  

The South Park duo have been kicking around the idea for a while, and are said to be currently working on music and lyrics with Tony winner Robert Lopez ofAvenue Q (which, to bring it all full circle, was itself heavily influenced by South Park: Bigger, Longer, And Uncut, according to Lopez).

South Park’s Politics

February 26, 2010 2 comments

Matt and Trey aren’t on your side.  

“It was just lame, that’s exactly what we’re talking about–people trying to claim the show,” said Matt, who in 2005 announced “I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals.” When I asked him about the quote, Trey responded, “It’s all based on saying the shocking thing. We used to have a great time going to Hollywood parties and saying ‘I think George Bush is doing a great job.’ We’d clear out the room. I used to love it.

Both men were adamant that the show has no political affiliation. “I would never want the show to be a Democrat show or Republican show, because for us the show’s more important than that. It isn’t for everybody else in the world, but it is for us. We don’t want you to come to it thinking, ‘These guys are going to bash liberals,'” Matt explained.

They are almost certainly libertarians personally (even if they don’t like the label) but I believe they’re being honest when they say the show doesn’t take political sides.  They’re looking for the laugh and looking to skewer anyone who needs it.  

Neither Stone nor Parker will delineate his political views, and both contend that the libertarian label, which has been applied to them in recent years, is not entirely appropriate.

Categories: Politics, South Park
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