LA Times on ATHF-C-MFFT

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In Gina Piccalo’s carefully worded puff piece in today’s LA Times Sunday Calendar section (“Aqua Teen Jumps to Big Screen”, April 8th, 2007), even the one die-hard Hunger Force fan they got to go on record, Chuck Warren of Long Beach, couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for the so-called “colon movie”:

Aside from the band of drunk frat guys next to them, Warren said the crowd response was pretty tame. As far as the film itself, Warren considered it just another poke in the ribs from Maiellaro and Willis.

“It’s them saying it doesn’t matter,” he said. “As a fan, I kind of liked that. They threw it all in your face and you had to take what you wanted.”

The LA Times article is typical of the kind of publicity stories placed by the movie studios each week, prior to a film’s release, in hopes of generating some box office numbers on opening day. But even by puff piece standards (which are pretty low), this one has a hard time marshaling anything positive to say about the film. (It was reviewed on the Brew, March 17th)

The jist of the piece is that AQHF-C-MFFT is a feature film is based on a TV “cult” hit that, before the Boston bomb scare incident, most people never heard of. And that most viewers either love it or hate it.

Ms. Piccalo has seen the movie, and you don’t have to read between the lines to get the idea that she is warning you to stay away. She sums it all up in this one sentence: “To an outsider, this is either self-indulgent bad writing or fodder for bong hits and acid trips.”


  • LNG

    The creators took the attitude ‘it doesn’t matter’ because it gave them a pass from having to deliver a good picture. Penn and Teller tried that tack in their feature, too, and they also got killed.

  • http://www.travisgentry.com Travis Gentry

    Wow, I actually feel sorry for Warren. They purposely made a movie that even their fans won’t like! But that’s ironic, which means it’s funny! Yeah that’s the ticket… just have to keep telling myself that… Poor Warren.

  • Bill Field

    Piccalo’s quote: “To an outsider, this is either self-indulgent bad writing or fodder for bong hits and acid trips.â€? She still got it wrong, it’s not fodder for BH’s and AT’s. It’s the fodder of bong hits and acid trips –DUH.

    Now that I’ve clarified that, I need to go eat 17 Jumbo Jacks and 3 bags of Cheetos. Oh, and by the way, you’re melting.

  • Corrado (Anthony)

    ATHF is now slated for 800 theaters. I see this dying a quick death at the box office.

  • http://demianjohnston.blogspot.com Demian

    i thought that show got cancelled years ago. i didn’t even know people cared still. weird. Just thinking about seeing this movie bores me so much that my head is starting to hurt. And I am a giant pothead.

  • Eric Wilson

    Travis: As Adult Swim viewer from day one, I can vouch for it…at times they’re intentionally antagonistic towards the audience. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the other half of this year’s April Fool’s prank, when they replaced a block of Saturday anime premieres with Williams Street’s bizarre anime parody “Perfect Hair Forever”…shown in reverse running order, with video doctored to look like a multi-generation VHS bootleg complete with Hong Kong pirate quality subtitles (or, during one stretch, a lengthy excerpt from a high school girl’s blog).

    The stunt was an interesting concept in itself (especially if you actually like PHF), but the people who were expecting the new episode of Bleach (or whatnot) got pretty salty. The network made good on the missed episodes THIS weekend, showing there are limits to their cruelty. At least they didn’t break out Mr. T and the T Force again…

  • http://www.danyboom.blogspot.com dany

    I’m getting a little tired of Aqua Teen bashing. I respect the fact that jerry saw it and I didnt – he should be able to criticize it, where as what grounds do i have to defend it?

    Only the fact that I’ve watched the show a bit and quite like it, mostly because they don’t push the envelope on traditional story writing, they act like no such theories even exist. Like the fact that there is no subplot. I love the strange openings that have little to do with anything and the off-the-wall endings.

    I am not for a second defending the quality of the animation. And I know it won’t do much business. But someone made an animated feature with no talking unicorns – oh wait, maybe there will be some. You know what i mean – No cutesy stuff. Someone gave these guys a million dollars and a couple years to make an animated film for adults and I think it’s worth celebrating and supporting that.

  • http://http//:www.ronimation.com Ron

    There seems to be a divide between people who produce animation. It seems as though animation has to look good OR be well-written. I see no reason why there isn’t room for both. Why can’t something be as well written as South Park and be equally visually subversive and thught provoking as John K.s work (much of it anyway)?

  • John

    fodder for bong hits and acid trips.

    Adult Swim will probably borrow that line from Ms. Piccalo and use it as their new corporate slogan. And if they really like it, maybe Time-Warner CEO Richard Parsons will use it during the company’s stockholders meeting on May 2 to explain the entire direction of Cartoon Network and the company’s animation division over the past several years.

  • Shmorky

    The only thing that I find interesting is how they managed to make a movie for a budget way under 1 million and still ended up with nicer animation than Hoodwinked (20 million).

    I’d rather sit through 2 hours of Aqua Teen than 2 minutes of Hoodwinked. Ugh. At least I can be happy millions of dollars were not wasted on this. Only 750,000. Also, it’ll only be in 800 theaters. I don’t think there’s any reason to see ATHF as a threat to animation.

  • RODAN

    I don’t know why I’m even wasting my time commenting on this one…. But out of regards for the brew…. I’ll just say Eeew!

    And wish all a Happy Easter!

  • Matt Wilson

    You’re doing a great job preventing people from seeing this movie by constantly bringing attention to it any way you can.

    It was never going to be a box office success. By constantly making a spectacle of it, you are guaranteed to give them more business. Considering all it has to make is a worldwide gross of 1.5 million dollars to be profitable, it doesn’t take a whole lot to push it over the top. A healthy dose of negative publicity ought to do it.

  • LNG

    ’200 Motels’: No longer the worst film ever made!

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    The Venture Bros. is actually funny, and it would be great to see it expanded to a feature before it’s too old and no one cares about it anymore.

  • Anastasia Lee

    >>It’s them saying it doesn’t matter,� he said. “As a fan, I kind of liked that. They threw it all in your face and you had to take what you wanted.�

    …and you PAY money to see this? I weep for my generation.

  • Bill Freiberger

    Ron, there is a show that looks good and is well written. It’s called Drawn Together.

  • Ben

    I hope you weren’t putting “cult” in quotations for sarcastic effect because if so I feel I have to step in and say that ATHF is fairly popular amongst people born after 1982. I mean, even Danzig likes ATHF. Though the news story may have drawn the older peoples attention to the show, post bomb scare ratings only showed an increase of 6,000 viewers. Not to say that the 6,000 is the amount of people who learned of the show from the Boston incident, but just throwing it out there.

  • http://vice.parodius.com/ Dave Silva

    Does ANYONE even think this will make money at the box office? This’ll be a killer DVD release, just like the season sets of the series. Nothing more. They’ll make back all the money they spent on the film and then some.

  • Karma

    “Ron, there is a show that looks good and is well written. It’s called Drawn Together.”

    For the sake of all common sense in the world, I seriously hope you are joking with this statement.

  • vzky

    “For the sake of all common sense in the world, I seriously hope you are joking with this statement.”

    Bill is the producer of Drawn Together.

    Enough said.

  • captain murphy

    ATHF usually is amongst the top five for the Adult Swim block (the top spots go to shows that had life outside the network, Family Guy and Futurama.

    Has any one seen a review of the movie that has been written by anyone that actually watches, and gets, the show? That would be the only valid review for existing fans. An “I Don’t get This” review reflects more on the reviewer, than the movie.

    The movie DVD might outsell the DVD sets of the TV show, because not many will see it otherwise, whereas there are plenty that do not buy the box sets of the TV ATHF, because they have seen the episodes repeatedly.

  • Corrado (Anthony)

    You know aside from the obvious plugs on AS, I don’t believe I’ve seen one ATHF movie commercial. That’s unheard of these days. I mean you have to show the public that your movie is coming out. I guess they don’t have much marketing invested in this.

    I actually do plan on seeing this movie sometime this weekend. If there’s a cinema nearby that’s actually playing it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/thenextstepislast Dennis Vogen

    sigh. this is awful. i’m also in the minority of “aqua teen” fans. and i think the reason is: i can separate entertainment into genres. thought-provoking, well-executed animation has its time and place, and usually plays the biggest part in advancing the art form. but, sometimes, it can be exhausting. for example, “akira” is an amazing motion picture experience. but i can’t watch it more than once a year. i just can’t.

    where as i can come home after working a 14 hour day and watch a little low-budget, absurd comedy without getting a mental and visual workout. i just want to relax and get a cheap laugh or two. i see the difference like wine and beer. wine is exciting and full of depth. but i can’t drink it all the time. plus, who the hell does a keg stand with a bottle of vintage merlot?

    do i think shows like “aqua teen” and “family guy” advance the art form? hell, no. but when i consider the context, i find them to be entertaining and frequently funny. if i had to choose to see “aqua teen” or this month’s “furry animals voiced by actors who’s names sound familiar” movie, i’d pick “aqua teen” without a doubt. sometimes i need a beer. oh, and for fans who are upset over the terrible reviews – if the critics are so positive they could do better, let them.

  • Inkan1969

    It’s weird. All these articles and review about the movie keep saying “stoner humor”. I don’t really know where that’s coming from. I’ve never done any recreational drugs; I don’t smoke or drink either. Heck, I even try to avoid caffeine. But I had several favorite ATHF eps, and they still made me laugh. The characters just hit it off with me.

  • http://www.youtube.com/thenextstepislast Dennis Vogen

    i agree. i’ve never smoked pot in my life. it’s kind of like being a follower of dave matthews (who i’m not a fan of, for the record). they kind of assume that if you’re a huge fan of the dmb, you probably smoke a lot of weed.

  • Suriel

    The vast majority of you are completely missing the idea behind ATHF as a whole. The entire series is bottled up in a nutshell in the movie, it will be hot or cold hit or miss for everyone out there, they even state this within the first 5 minutes of the film.

    I have never done any drug in my life, I happen to see the humor in it as a whole and even found the movie to be true to what i expected. Not everyone finds the same things funny and not everyone will be able to laugh at ATHF as i have, and that is ok. The people making ATHF made something that THEY enjoyed to make and a few out there enjoyed watching.

    People tend to find the exact same stories comforting and pleasing, while i see the truth in this myself I also appreciate the fact that this show and movie where unique. Evil dead , Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness come to mind when i think about ATHF, maybe it wont be huge in theaters and maybe it used a very small budget but for years to come there will be a group of people who understand the intention and enjoy something that most will never be able to grasp.

  • Bill Freiberger

    Well, I saw the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie yesterday. I thought it was absolutely hilarious. Laughs from start to finish. The theater was fairly crowded and the audience all seemed to enjoy the movie as well. I think the problem is that all the reviews are written by old farts. How can you judge the movie if you don’t enjoy the series? Check it out and decide for yourself.

  • kisia

    Ok. I’m a HUGE fan of ATHF, the show. Don’t do drugs. Just think it’s hilarious and love the way it looks visually. It may not be traditional animation, but both the look and the way the characters move are, at least to me, appropriate for the sensibility. I saw the movie yesterday. I thought parts were funny, but as a whole, thought it was pretty boring and predictable. I really really expected more. And yeah, I got all the “in” jokes but still…

    To me, I realized that maybe one of the reasons ATHF works as a series is that for 11 minutes, you’re hit with a lot and it’s funny and then gone. But they couldn’t sustain that for 87 minutes. So, to me, while the movie didn’t suck, it certainly wasn’t great. I, for one, am really disappointed.