Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Scenes from "The Simpsons Movie" Premiere and After Party

Marge's hair looms over the Fox Westwood Village Theatre, where "The Simpsons Movie" premiered on Tuesday night.

Finally -- 18 years after "The Simpsons" bowed in 1989 (I'd been a fan since first seeing the shorts on "The Tracy Ullman Show") -- there I was Tuesday night, enjoying the long-awaited "The Simpsons Movie" in a crowd that included the voice actors, Matt Groening, exec producers like James L. Brooks and Al Jean, execs like Peter Chernin, producers extraordinaire like Brian Grazer, writers like Judd Apatow, and more.

Security was tight: Those who weren't able to sneak their phones in the door (and there were a lot who pulled off this feat) had to check them in. I was standing behind Brian Grazer, who, with Blackberry in hand, was trying to figure out where to go.

I brought along my friend Tony, who writes for "King of the Hill" (animation fight!) and we plopped down in the front row balcony. Premieres never start on time, and this one finally got going about 40 mins. after its 7:30 start time.

Then, the movie. What a fun ride. Some of the story points are semi-familiar (after 400 episodes, how could they not be?). But finding a big enough story to make it worthy of a "Simpsons Movie" couldn't have been easy -- and yet, the writers pulled it off. The jokes are on-target and the animation is beautiful. The action focuses mostly on the family -- so although all of your favorite characters are there, few of them play major roles. (Good parts for Flanders and Comic Book Guy, however.)

Afterward, the party at the Wadsworth Theatre (on the VA grounds in Brentwood) was big enough that it never felt crowded. Food was on the not-so-healthy side (Mac and cheese, pot roast, tacos, etc.) -- but what else would you expect from the Simpsons. Celebs sighted included Joe Mantegna (who voices Fat Tony), Fred Willard, Michelle Kwan, B.J. Novak ("The Office"), Rex Lee ("Entourage"), Masi Oka ("Heroes"), Nancy Cartwight (voice of Bart)...

And yes, there were donuts. Some pics:

Homer's head, meanwhile, hung over the Bruin, where "The Simpsons Movie" was also screening.

The Duff Beer blimp flies over the yellow carpet festivities.

A gospel chorus sings "Spider-Pig." (See the movie -- you'll understand.)

"Marge-a-rita," anyone?

Dancing Lisa and Marge silhouettes.

Bart's chalkboard gag.

Bartenders pour drinks inside a massive fake donut.

"Simpsons"-style donuts: Pink frosting on Krispy Kremes. A sugar explosion. I'm still bouncing off walls.

Fried Candy Bars. Mmmmm.... grease!

Fried Milky Way. I tried a few bites, but it was a little too doughy and the Milky Way wasn't melted enough. Yes, I should probably throw up now from all the junk I ate last night.

Thanks to 20th Century Fox Film's Chris Petrikin for squeezing a couple TV guys into the screening and shindig.

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