South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

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"Up There" redirects here. For the 1998 film, see Up There (film).
South Park:
Bigger, Longer & Uncut
SouthParkbiggerlongeruncut.jpg
North American release poster
Directed by Trey Parker
Produced by Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Written by Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Pam Brady
Based on South Park
by Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Starring Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Mary Kay Bergman
Isaac Hayes
Music by Trey Parker
Marc Shaiman
Edited by John Venzon
Production
  company
Comedy Central Films
Braniff Productions (Uncredited)
Scott Rudin Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
(Domestic)
Warner Bros. Pictures
(International)
Release date(s)
  • June 30, 1999 (1999-06-30) (United States)
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States[1]
Language English
Budget $21 million
Box office $83,137,603[2]

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 American animated musical comedy film based on the animated television series South Park, and produced, co-written by and starring its creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The film was directed and co-scored by Parker and co-written by their South Park collaborator Pam Brady, and co-starred Mary Kay Bergman, and Isaac Hayes as Chef. It features twelve songs by Parker and Marc Shaiman with additional lyrics by Stone. It was produced by Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. in association with Comedy Central.

The film is largely concerned with the issues of censorship and freedom of speech. It parodies animated Disney films released during the Disney Renaissance, such as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid as well as musicals such as the West End's Les Misérables, and satirizes the controversy surrounding the show itself. In the film, the four boys from South Park see a controversial R-rated movie featuring Canadians Terrance and Phillip. The boys begin cursing incessantly and their parents pressure the United States to wage war against Canada for allegedly corrupting their children. The movie also heavily satirizes the Motion Picture Association of America; Parker and Stone battled the MPAA throughout the production process and the movie received an R rating just two weeks prior to its release.

The film was released in theaters on June 30, 1999, and on home video on November 23, 1999. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who appreciated the humor, social satire, and political commentary. Produced on a $21 million budget, it went on to gross $83 million worldwide in theaters, making it a box office hit. The song "Blame Canada" earned Parker and Marc Shaiman a 1999 nomination for Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Plot[edit]

Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, Kyle Broflovski and Eric Cartman head to the local movie theater to see the new film Terrance and Phillip: Asses of Fire which stars the boys' favorite Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip ("Mountain Town"), but when the boys get there, they are refused entry due to the film being rated R by the MPAA, so they pay a homeless man to accompany them. The boys learn obscene phrases from the movie ("Uncle Fucka") which makes the other kids in town want to see the movie.

Stan finds his love interest, Wendy, ice-skating with a well-educated boy from Yardsdale named Gregory ("Wendy's Song"). Whenever Stan tries to talk to Wendy he throws up, so he asks Chef for advice on how to impress women. He is told that all he needs to do is to find the clitoris. Stan does not know what the clitoris is, but nevertheless searches for it throughout the film.

The kids begin cursing in class, so they are sent to see Counselor Mackey who informs their mothers. Learning that the language was from the movie, their parents force the teachers to enforce a strict dress code banning all types of Terrance and Phillip clothing and abandon their previous lesson plans and run a rehabilitation center for the kids to get them to stop swearing ("It's Easy MMMKay"). Afterwards, the boys and the rest of the children go to see the movie again. Kenny bets Cartman $100 that he can set his fart on fire like Terrance did in the film. Kenny immolates himself and dies when the doctors accidentally replace his heart with a baked potato. The boys are grounded and Kenny, after being refused admission to Heaven for having used bad words throwing rocks at birds and missed Sunday church, is sent to Hell ("Hell Isn't Good"). He is tormented by demons while descending into Hell and meets up with Satan and Saddam Hussein who are gay lovers. The parents of South Park organize a boycott against Terrance and Phillip ("Blame Canada"), led by Sheila (Kyle's mom), who plans to have Terrance and Phillip arrested as War Criminals during their appearance on The Conan O'Brien Show. After failing to get the United States to release them during a heated meeting at the United Nations,Canada strikes back by bombing the residence of the Baldwin Brothers.

In response, Sheila (who is now the appointed "Secretary of Offense of the United States") forces President Bill Clinton into going to war with Canada by bombing the city of Toronto Ontario in the process which the Canadians retaliated by bombing the Arquette residence and resulting in the interment of Canadian Americans in prison camps by the United States Government and having Terrance and Phillip executed at an upcoming USO show. Afterwards, Cartman tries to annoy Kyle with a song degrading Kyle's mom ("Kyle's Mom's a Bitch") but he is overheard by Sheila. As a result, he is forcibly implanted with a V-Chip by Dr. Vosknocker which gives Cartman a sharp violent electrical shock every time he swears. Meanwhile back in Hell, Satan declares that if the blood of the two innocent Canadians touches American soil, it will be time for him to rise up and rule the world. Saddam wants to come with him, but Satan is tired of being bossed around by Saddam ("Up There"). Kenny tells Satan to break up with Saddam to which Satan initially agrees, but Saddam wins back Satan with a song ("I Can Change"). Kenny's ghost visits Cartman to warn him of the consequences of executing Terrance and Phillip. The boys, after failing to convince their parents, decide to take matters into their own hands ("What Would Brian Boitano Do"). They have a secret meeting to talk about how they can save Terrance and Phillip. They form La Resistance and Gregory tells Stan to recruit a God-hating French expert on covert operations named "The Mole" ("La Resistance").

While the troops are being entertained by Big Gay Al ("I'm Super"), La Resistance and The Mole infiltrate the USO show, but The Mole was discovered by Sheila and the guards and was killed by guard dogs after Cartman fails to deactivate the alarms ("The Mole's Reprise"). The remaining three attempt to warn their mothers and the army about what will happen if Terrance and Phillip are killed, but they instead laugh at them, and Mr. Garrison throws the switch to the electric chair. A large Canadian force attacks the base and a massive battle ensues between the two armies. In the confusion, the boys are able to free Terrance and Phillip, though Cartman's V-chip begins to malfunction. The other moms, seeing the destruction their "Mothers Against Canada" movement has incited, decide to call it quits and head off to look for their children. After being stunned by an explosion, Stan is visited by The Clitoris which tells him that all he needs is confidence. Stan leads the kids to find Terrance and Phillip who have been cornered by the US army. La Resistance form a human shield while Kyle tries to persuade the army and his mom against killing the two.

Sheila shoots Terrance and Phillip which fulfills the prophecy and results in Satan, his minions, and Saddam rising from Hell and attacking both Canadian and United States armies. Saddam immediately tries to usurp Satan's authority, demanding homage and announcing his intent to rule the world himself. Cartman is able to hold Saddam off by using his malfunctioning V-Chip to generate massive blasts of lightning every time he swears, albeit in an anime - reminiscent fashion. With Kenny's encouragement, Satan finally gets rid of Saddam by casting him back to Hell and getting impaled on a sharp stalagmite. Satan grants Kenny a wish in repayment so Kenny asks for everything to return to how it was before the war, even though it means he'll go back to Hell. He takes off his hood to say goodbye to his friends, revealing his face for the first time. All the other deceased characters are brought back to life, the Canadians and Americans become friends again, Wendy becomes Stan's girlfriend again, everything returns to normal in South Park ("Mountain Town (reprise)"), and instead of returning to Hell, Kenny ascends to Heaven.

In a post-credits scene, Ike is still in the attic (when Kyle was hiding him from the American soldiers from taking him to an interment camp) and then eats a mouse that scampers by.

Themes[edit]

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a cautionary tale on the dangers of censorship. It uses the execution of Terrance and Phillip as the Seventh Sign in a parody of the Apocalypse. Cartman's use of foul language helps to avert the disaster.

Parents and "lazy child rearing" come in for particularly sharp criticism. On their way to see Terrance and Phillip, the boys sing that "movies teach us what our parents don't have time to say!" During "Blame Canada" a couple are seen abandoning their baby in their enthusiasm to join Mothers Against Canada. The song ends with: "We must blame them and cause a fuss / Before somebody thinks of blaming us!"

Much of the film's satire and many of the songs are concerned with the refusal of people to accept responsibility for failure and their tendency to look for scapegoats. (Some of the songs are also parodies of musical theatre, but this is usually secondary to furthering the satire.) Movies, government, society, foreigners, and Satan are all blamed leading Kyle to remark: "whenever I get in trouble, you go off and blame everybody else. But I'm the one to blame. Deal with me."[3]

Musical numbers[edit]

  • "Mountain Town" – Stan Marsh (Trey Parker), Kenny McCormick (Matt Stone), Kyle Broflovski (Matt Stone), Eric Cartman (Trey Parker), Sharon Marsh (Mary Kay Bergman), Sheila Broflovski (Mary Kay Bergman)
  • "Uncle Fucka" – Terrance (Matt Stone) and Phillip (Trey Parker)
  • "Wendy's Song (There's the Girl That I Like)" – Stan Marsh (Trey Parker)
  • "It's Easy, MMMKay" – Mr. Mackey (Trey Parker), Stan (Trey Parker), Cartman (Trey Parker), Kyle (Matt Stone), Gregory (Trey Parker), South Park Elementary Students
  • "Hell Isn’t Good" – D.V.D.A. featuring James Hetfield
  • "Blame Canada" – Sheila Broflovski (Mary Kay Bergman), Sharon Marsh (Mary Kay Bergman), Liane Cartman (Mary Kay Bergman), Carol McCormick (Mary Kay Bergman), Citizens of South Park
  • "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch" – Cartman (Trey Parker), South Park Elementary Students
  • "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" – Stan (Trey Parker), Kyle (Matt Stone), Cartman (Trey Parker)
  • "Up There" – Satan (Trey Parker (and Michael McDonald on the high notes))
  • "La Resistance" – Gregory (Howard McGillin), South Park Elementary Students, Shelia Broflovksi (Mary Kay Bergman), Soldiers (Trey Parker and Matt Stone), Satan (Trey Parker), Terrance (Matt Stone), Phillip (Trey Parker), Stan (Trey Parker), Kyle (Matt Stone), Cartman (Trey Parker)
  • "I Can Change" – Saddam Hussein (Matt Stone), Satan (Trey Parker)
  • "I'm Super" – Big Gay Al (Trey Parker)
  • "The Mole's Reprise" – Christophe le Mole (Trey Parker), Kyle (Matt Stone)
  • "Mountain Town (Reprise)" – Chef (Issac Hayes), Stan (Trey Parker), Kyle (Matt Stone), Cartman (Trey Parker), Sheila Broflovski (Mary Kay Bergman), Sharon Marsh (Mary Kay Bergman), Liane Cartman (Mary Kay Bergman), Citizens of South Park
  • "What Would Brian Boitano Do? Pt. II" – D.V.D.A
  • "Eyes of a Child" – Michael McDonald

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone co-wrote Bigger, Longer & Uncut, while Trey Parker became the director of the film.

Developmental stages began for the film midway through the series' first season production in January 1997.[4] Co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone signed a deal with Comedy Central in April 1998 that contracted the duo to producing South Park episodes until 1999, gave them a slice of the lucrative spinoff merchandising the show generated within its first year, as well as an unspecified seven-figure cash bonus to bring the show to the big screen, in theaters.[5]

A large part of Parker and Stone's conditions attached to any potential movie project was that it must at least be R-rated, to keep in touch with the series' humor and its roots, the short The Spirit of Christmas. Parker stated that their desire was to approach the film from a much more creative perspective and do something other than a simple movie-length version of a regular episode.[4] Despite alleged pressure from Paramount Pictures officials to keep the movie toned down, the two won the battle for a more mature rating. "They really wanted to be able to go beyond the South Park television show," said Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox to TV Guide at the time. "They really fought hard for and won the right to make an R-rated movie."[6] Paramount executives went as far to prepare graphs displaying how much more money a PG-13-rated South Park feature would perhaps accumulate.[7]

The William Morris Agency, which represented Parker and Stone, pushed for movie production to begin as soon as possible, while public interest was still high, instead of several years into its run, as was done with Beavis and Butt-head Do America.[8]

Casting[edit]

George Clooney appears in a voice cameo as Dr. Gouache.
Brent Spiner provides a voice cameo as Conan O'Brien.
Eric Idle performs the voice of Dr. Vosknocker.

The cast of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is mostly carried over faithfully from the television series. Co-creator Trey Parker voices the characters of Eric Cartman and Stan Marsh, and Satan, Clyde Donovan, Mr. Garrison, Phillip Niles Argyle, Randy Marsh, Mr. Mackey, Ned Gerblanski, the singing voice of Big Gay Al, the speaking voice of Gregory, The Mole, and President Bill Clinton, as well as multiple other background characters. Matt Stone portrays Kyle Broflovski and Kenny McCormick, as well as Saddam Hussein (even though during the end credits it says that he was voiced by himself), Terrance Henry Stoot, Big Gay Al, Jimbo Kearn, Gerald Broflovski, Bill Gates, and additional voices. Mary Kay Bergman voices Wendy Testaburger, the core mothers of the film (Sheila Broflovski, Sharon Marsh, Liane Cartman, and Carol McCormick), Shelley Marsh, and the clitoris.

Isaac Hayes reprised his role from the series as Chef, and voice clips of staff children Jesse Howell, Anthony Cross-Thomas, and Franchesca Clifford make up Ike Broflovski. Guest voices for the film included George Clooney as Dr. Gouache, Brent Spiner as Conan O'Brien, Minnie Driver as Brooke Shields, Eric Idle as Dr. Vosnocker, and Dave Foley provides the combined voices of Alec, Billy, Daniel, and Stephen Baldwin.[7]

Kenny's entire face was revealed for the first time.

Michael McDonald as himself (the track "Eyes of a Child") and as Satan's high notes in "Up There", and Howard McGillin provides Gregory's singing voice in "La Resistance (Medley)". Stewart Copeland, former drummer for The Police, guests as an American soldier. Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill and The Goode Family, provides Kenny's voice in his sole speaking appearance at the end of the film.[7] Although initially denied by Paramount, Metallica lead singer James Hetfield said in 2001 that he provides vocals for the track "Hell Isn't Good".[9]

Cast[edit]

Writing[edit]

The plot of the season one episode "Death" heavily influenced the film's screenplay. The plot and theme of both scripts revolves heavily around the parents of South Park protesting about Terrance and Phillip due to the perceived negative influence it has over their children. Parker said, "After about the first year of South Park, Paramount already wanted to make a South Park movie, and we sort of thought this episode would make the best model just because we liked the sort of pointing at ourselves kind of thing."[10]

During the time, the team was also busy writing the second and third seasons of the series, the former of which Parker and Stone later described as "disastrous". As such, they figured the phenomenon would be over soon, and they decided to write a personal, fully committed musical.[11]

Animation[edit]

The animation in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was created in 3D using Alias|Wavefront (now the Alias Systems Corporation) PowerAnimator software, running on Silicon Graphics O2 and Octane workstations. Characters and individual scene elements were designed with both texture mapping and shading that, when rendered, resemble 2D paper cut-out stop-motion animation.[12] The artists at South Park Studios (at the time, called South Park Productions) used a multiprocessor SGI Origin 2000 and 31 multiprocessor Origin 200 servers (with 1.14 terabytes of storage) for both rendering and asset management. Backgrounds, characters and other items could be saved separately or as fully composited scenes, with speedy access later.[12] "By creating flat characters and backgrounds in a 3D environment, we are able to add textures and lighting effects that give the film a cut-out construction paper stop-motion style which would have taken many more months if done traditionally," said Gina Shay, line producer of the film.[12]

The animation team, beginning with season five, began using Maya instead of PowerAnimator.[13] The studio now runs a 120-processor render farm that can produce 30 or more shots an hour.[14] As the show's visual quality has substantially improved in recent seasons, the animation of South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut is a prime example of the show's old, cruder, even more primitive animation style.[15] In the audio commentary on the Blu-ray reissue of the film, Stone and Parker take ample time to criticize how "bad and time consuming" the animation was during the era.[16] IGN described the animation as "fall[ing] somewhere within the middle ground—not quite cardboard cutouts, but not quite fully computerized either."[17] Nate Boss, in a review of the Blu-ray reissue for High-Def Digest, commented, "There is no comparing the two, as the movie has a classic (for South Park, at least) animated feel, so full of the cut-outs we have grown to love, while the newer seasons sport a more computer processed feel."[18] The film, unlike the television series (at the time), was animated in widescreen (1.78:1).[11] "Although the 'primitive' animation of South Park is supposedly a joke, it's really a secret weapon," said Stephanie Zacharek of Salon. "The simplicity of Parker and Stone's technique is what makes it so effective."[19]

Music[edit]

"Mountain Town"; the opening number for the film, has been compared to musicals such as Beauty and the Beast and Oklahoma! As it described the setting of the film.

Problems playing this file? See media help.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released June 16, 1999
Recorded 1999
Genre Comedy
Length 50:34
Label Atlantic
Producer Darren Higman
South Park chronology
Chef Aid: The South Park Album
(1998)
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
(1999)
Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics
(1999)

The musical score and songs featured in the film were composed and written by Parker and Marc Shaiman. The musical features 14 songs, each evoking a familiar Broadway style.[20] The soundtrack also parodies many familiar Disney conventions, with several songs spoofing Disney musicals such as Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.[21] The tracks "Mountain Town" brought comparisons to Oklahoma! and the opening to Beauty and the Beast, and the "La Resistance" medley drew forth favorable Les Misérables comparisons.[22] "I'm Super" recalls Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest" and "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch" echoes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "Up There", "I Can Change" and the "Mountain Town (Reprise)" recalls The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World", "Poor Unfortunate Souls" and "Part of Your World (Finale)", and "Uncle Fucka" is reminiscent of Oklahoma! (especially the ending).[23]

The score received critical acclaim, with Entertainment Weekly claiming it is "a cast album that gleefully sends up all the Hollywood musical conventions we're being deprived of."[21] The soundtrack was released June 15, 1999 by Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group. "Blame Canada" was constantly highlighted as one of the best from the soundtrack and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. "I was like, 'We're going to get nominated for an Academy Award for this.' I really was," Parker said. "I even told him [Shaiman]."[24] The song takes place in the film when the United States blames Canada for corrupting its youth. "We're making fun of people who pick ridiculous targets to blame anything about what's going on in their lives, so Canada was just the perfect, ridiculous, innocuous choice for a target," said Shaiman.[24]

In 2011, Time called the music of the film the "finest, sassiest full-movie musical score since the disbanding of the Freed unit at MGM."[23]

Editing and censorship[edit]

The team working on the film commuted between the project and the series, pushing both to scheduling extremes (changes to Bigger, Longer & Uncut were made as late as two weeks before its release) and fighting constantly with Paramount.[25] "They wanted a Disney kind of trailer. We said no. They put together a totally un-South Park MTV video for the song 'What Would Brian Boitano Do?'. We had to go make our own version."[25] Paramount's first trailer for the film advertised it, according to Parker, as "the laughiest movie of the summer," and promoted it in such a way that South Park is completely against. Parker and Stone told the studio of their dissatisfaction with the trailer, and upon the creation of a second trailer with minimal changes, the two broke the videocassette in half and sent it back in its original envelope. "It was war," said Stone in 2000. "They were saying, 'Are you telling us how to do our job?' And I was going, 'Yes, because you're fucking stupid and you don't know what you're doing.'"[26]

In another instance, Paramount took the songs from the film and created a music video to be aired on MTV. In accordance with broadcast standards, the studio cut various "R-rated" parts out and edited it into what Parker described as a "horrible little medley," with all humor absent. The studio sent the original tape to Parker and Stone over a weekend, with plans to send it to MTV on Monday to prepare it for airtime beginning Wednesday. Stone instead put the tape in the trunk of his car and went home. Paramount threatened to sue Parker and Stone in response.[26] Parker also noted that the title was an obvious innuendo, and "they (the MPAA) just didn't get it".[27]

Release[edit]

Paramount Pictures won a jump ball with Warner Bros. (parent companies Viacom and Time Warner, respectively, jointly owned Comedy Central until Time Warner exited the venture in 2003) to release the film in the United States, with Warner Bros. getting the international rights. Viacom bought all of Comedy Central in 2004,[8] but Warner Bros. continued to distribute the film internationally.[28][29]

Bigger, Longer & Uncut was rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America; there were numerous news reports of underage fans of South Park engaging in unsuccessful attempts to gain entrance to the film at theaters.

The film was rated R for "pervasive vulgar language and crude sexual humor, and for some violent images" by the Motion Picture Association of America; this rating did not come as surprise to most media outlets, as many had predicted long before that the film would likely be for ages 18 and over.[8] However, there was much more discussion within the MPAA than initially reported in the media. The board's objections to the film were described in highly specific terms by Paramount Pictures executives in private memos circulating at Paramount. For months the ratings board insisted on the more prohibitive NC-17.[30] South Park was screened by the MPAA six times—five times, the board returned the movie to Paramount with an NC-17.[25] The last submission the filmmakers received was an NC-17, two weeks before release. A marketing agent from Paramount called the two and explained that the studio "needed" an R. In response, Stone called producer Scott Rudin and "freaked out." Rudin then called a Paramount executive and, in Stone's words, "freaked out on them." The next day the film was changed to an R rating without reason, with the original film intact.[26] "The ratings board only cared about the dirty words; they're so confused and arbitrary," said Parker to The New York Times shortly before the release of the picture. "They didn't blink twice because of violence."[30] During production of the trailer for the film, the raters objected to certain words but had no problem with a scene in which cartoon bullets are killing soldiers. "They had a problem with words, not bullets," he said.[30] The MPAA gave Paramount specific notes for the film; in contrast, Parker and Stone's NC-17 comedy Orgazmo, released in 1998 by Rogue Pictures, was not given any specifications on how to make the movie acceptable for an R rating.[26] The duo attributed the R rating to the fact that Paramount is a member of the MPAA; the distributor dismissed these claims.[31] The film was given a 15 certificate by the British Board of Film Classification with no cuts made. It was rated MA15+ (Mature accompanied for those under 15) by the Australian Classification Board without cuts.

As predicted through the actions of the boys in the film, there were numerous news reports of underage South Park fans engaging in unsuccessful attempts to gain entrance to the film at theaters.[31] There were reports of adolescents purchasing tickets for WB's own Wild Wild West and instead sitting in to see South Park.[32] This came as a result of a movie-industry crackdown that would make it tougher for children to sneak into R-rated films, as proposed by President Bill Clinton at the time in response to the moral panic generated by the Columbine High School massacre, which occurred two months before the film's release.[33] South Park was cited, along with American Pie as explicit films released the summer of 1999 tempting teens to sneak into theaters.[34] When the film was released in the United Kingdom in August 1999, there were similar reports of the film drawing an underage crowd.[35]

Hayes, voice of Chef in the film, responded to conservatives urging prudishness as a cure for society's ills: "If we give in to that and allow [entertainment] to become a scapegoat, you might wind up living in who-know's-what kind of state.... If you believe in [your artistic vision] and you've got a moral conviction, take it to 'em!"[36] The rating of film later brought comparisons to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, released in theaters in a digitally altered and censored version just two weeks after South Park.[37] Kubrick's original cut was given an NC-17 rating, but Warner Bros. then blocked out characters in an orgy scene so the film could be rated R. In response to these debates and controversy, Stone called the MPAA a "bumbling, irresponsible organization".[38]

Promotion[edit]

The licensing arm of Paramount took the step of significantly expanding retail distribution beyond specialty stores (Hot Topic, Spencer's) to big chains (Target, J.C. Penney), which involved carefully stripping T-shirts of racy slogans from the television show.[39] Licensing industry observers credited Comedy Central with carving out a profitable niche in an industry dominated by powerful partnerships that link fast-food chains and Hollywood movie studios, which was particularly tough for South Park, as no fast-food chains wanted to ally themselves with the show's racy content.[40] Eventually, J.C. Penney ended the tie-ins with the show in April 1999 as a result of customer complaints.[41]

The film also suffered negative publicity before release. It was initially reported that on the day of the Columbine High School massacre, a friend of the killers was seen wearing a black T-shirt depicting characters from South Park.[42] Both Parker and Stone come from Colorado, and Stone went to Heritage High School, not far from Columbine High. He proceeded to take three days off from work following the shootings. "Nothing seemed funny after that," he said.[30] South Park was, at the time, generally waning in popularity: ratings dropped nearly 40 percent with the premiere of the series' third season and, according to Entertainment Weekly, "it [wasn't] the pop-culture behemoth it was last year [1998]."[25] In response to the decline, Parker commented "Suddenly we suck and we're not cool anymore. The funny thing is, last year we were saying the same things and we were hip, fresh, and cute. Now they're telling us we're pushing 30, we're failures, and we're sellouts."[25]

Critical reception[edit]

The film has received critical acclaim. Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the film "outrageously profane" and "wildly funny", noting that "While censorship is the filmmakers' main target […] [Parker and Stone's] favorite monster is the Motion Picture Association of America, self-appointed guardians of the nation's chastity. It's all in good dirty fun and in service of their pro-tolerance theme."[43] Stephen Holden of The New York Times heavily praised the film, regarding the film's "self-justifying moral" as "about mass entertainment, censorship and freedom of speech." He also praised Cartman's subjection to the V-chip, which he called "the movie's sharpest satirical twist, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange".[44] Entertainment Weekly graded the film an A- and praised the film's message in a post-Columbine society, as well as Parker and Shaiman's musical numbers, which "brilliantly parody / honor the conventions of Broadway show tunes and, especially, the Disney-formula ditties of Alan Menken."[45] The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan neutrally regarded the offensive nature of the film, commenting "Yes, the lampooning is more broad than incisive, but under the bludgeoning of this blunt instrument very few sacred cows are left standing."[44] In a review that was later quoted on the film's original home video cover, Richard Corliss from Time warned viewers "You may laugh yourself sick -- as sick as this ruthlessly funny movie is."[46] Corliss would later name the film his fifth favorite animated film of all time.[47]

The film had its fair share of critical detractors, without noting the conservative family groups offended by the film's humor.[48][49] Jack Matthews of the Daily News suggested the film's running time made Parker and Stone "run out of ideas",[50] while Roger Ebert stated that the "vicious social satire" of the film both "offended" and "amazed" him. Ebert called the film "the year's most slashing political commentary", but also said "It is too long and runs out of steam, but it serves as a signpost for our troubled times. Just for the information it contains about the way we live now, thoughtful and concerned people should see it. After all, everyone else will."[51] It has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes; the site's consensus stating "Its jokes are profoundly bold and rude but incredibly funny at the same time." It also has a 74 out of 100 rating, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", at Metacritic.[52]

Box office[edit]

On a budget of $21 million, the film opened at No. 4 with a gross of $14,783,983 over the four-day Independence Day weekend from 2,128 theaters for an average of $6,947 per theater ($11,090,000 and an average of $5,211 over three days) and a total of $19,637,409 since its Wednesday launch. It ended up with a gross of $52,037,603 in the United States and Canada, with the 3-day opening making up 38% of the final domestic gross. It made an additional $31.1 million internationally for a total of $83,137,603 worldwide.[2]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD worldwide November 23, 1999, with a VHS release initially for rental services only, such as Blockbuster.[53] A traditional retail VHS release followed on May 16, 2000.[54] The DVD contained three theatrical trailers for special features, which many criticized as being typical of "bare-bones" DVD releases.[55]

There is also a NTSC laserdisc version that was released on January 18, 2000; copies are extremely rare.[56][57]

The film was re-released for Blu-ray on October 5, 2009 in celebration of its decade-long anniversary. The film's 1080p AVC encode (at 1.78:1) was taken from the original film source as well with random audio sync issues, despite the fact the film was animated entirely digitally.[16] IGN's Scott Lowe explained, "Although clearly aged, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut looks great and is free of the washed out, compressed imperfections of previous standard definition releases of the film."[18] However, Michael Zupan of DVDTalk notes that an automatic digital scratch removal process may have inadvertently removed some intentional lines from the picture, notably during Cartman's first scene with the V-chip.[58] The disc contained a full-length audio commentary from Parker and Stone, as well as other crew members though most of them had no recollection of making the film due to heavy scheduling.[11]

Awards and nominations[edit]

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Blame Canada". To date, it is one of the two R-rated animated films to be recognized in any category by the Academy. (The other film being Waltz with Bashir.) When the time came to perform the track live at the ceremony, as is customary for the Academy Awards, it ran into trouble with ABC's standards and practices department: censors demanded they write TV-friendly lyrics.[59] "It would be ironic to have to change the words in a movie about censorship," remarked Shaiman.[59] Censors were particularly unhappy with the use of the word fuck and allusions to the Ku Klux Klan. When Parker and Shaiman declined these requests, Robin Williams, a friend of Shaiman's, sang the song with black tape over his mouth and turning his back when curse words were to be sung.[60] Parker and Stone attended the ceremony in drag, wearing replicas of dresses previously worn at the Oscars by Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez.[61] The two claimed years later that they took acid before the ceremony and were high while wearing the outfits.[62][63] The song ended up losing to "You'll Be in My Heart", a Tarzan song by Phil Collins (that film came from ABC parent Disney). In response, Parker and Stone ridiculed him in two consecutive episodes of the series' fourth season ("Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000" and "Timmy 2000").[64] In DVD commentary, Parker states "we were fully expecting to lose, just not to Phil Collins".[65]

Another track from the movie, "Uncle Fucka", won an MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Performance.[66]

American Film Institute Lists

Lists and records[edit]

  • The film has been nominated by the American Film Institute for their list of the Greatest American Musicals.[70]
  • In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted the film at No. 13 in the greatest comedy films of all time.
  • In 2001, Terry Gilliam selected it as one of the ten best animated films of all time.[71]
  • In 2006, South Park finished fifth on the United Kingdom Channel 4's "50 Greatest Comedy Films" vote.[72]
  • Readers of Empire Magazine, in a 2006 poll, voted it No. 166 in the greatest films of all time.
  • In 2008, the film was included in Entertainment Weekly's list of the "25 Movie Sequels We'd Line Up to See"[73] and "The Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years".[74]
  • The film is No. 5 on Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies.
  • IGN named it the sixth greatest animated film of all time in their Top 25 list.[75]
  • In Guinness World Records 2001, this film was said to have the most profanity used in an animated film. It contained a total of 399 swear words (the word "fuck" was used 146 times), 199 offensive gestures and also contained 221 acts of violence.[76]

Legacy[edit]

Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA, later said he regretted not giving the film an NC-17 rating.[37] In response to the film's controversy, the MPAA began backing up their ratings on print posters by posting reasons to explain them, beginning in 2000.[77]

The film's use of profanity gained it a Guinness World Record in their 2001 edition for "Most Swearing in an Animated Film" (399 profane words, including 146 uses of fuck;[76] 128 offensive gestures; and 221 acts of violence—in effect, one every six seconds). In the song "Uncle Fucka", the curse word fuck is said 31 times. The pop punk band Blink-182 would often end songs on their The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show Tour with lines from "Uncle Fucka" throughout 2000. The lines can be heard on the band's live album, The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!).[78]

There is an urban myth that the film was also banned in Iraq, for its depiction of Saddam Hussein as Satan's abusive homosexual lover. Because of the sanctions against Iraq at the time and the collapse of the Iraqi Dinar (which kept theaters and retailers from being able to pay the required licensing fees), no film production company had been able to distribute movies in Iraq since the Gulf War, although the content of the film made it highly unlikely to have been approved by the government censors in any case.[79] While the real Hussein was on trial for genocide charges in 2006, Matt Stone joked that the U.S. military was showing the movie repeatedly to the former dictator as a form of torture.[80] Parker and Stone were also given a signed photo of Hussein by the American soldiers.[81]

In 2011, Time called South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut the sixth greatest animated feature of all-time.[23]

Sequel[edit]

Parker and Stone said in a 2008 interview that a theatrically released sequel would most likely be what concludes the series.[82]

In 2011, when the official South Park website FAQ was asked whether a sequel would be made, it was responded with "the first South Park movie was so potent, we're all still recovering from the blow. Unfortunately, at the current moment, there are no plans for a second South Park movie. But you never know what the future may bring, crazier things have happened..."[83]

In 2013, Warner Bros. Entertainment relinquished to Paramount Pictures its rights to co-finance a potential future South Park movie during their negotiations to co-finance the Christopher Nolan science fiction film Interstellar. Previous efforts to create a second South Park film were complicated due to both studios retaining certain rights to the property.[84]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]