TV-14, primarily for constant and unflinching sexual innuendo. I mean, imagine that you didn't know who Beavis and Butt-Head were. That's reasonable. I mean, this is a show that has been off the air for an entire generation. One of the characters in the title of the film is named "Butt-Head". Me explaining the parental advisory section on a movie that has "Butt-Head" in the title is a bit on the nose, don't you think? There's also language that is coupled with that innuendo.
DIRECTORS: Albert Calleros and John Rice
Ah, my first day of work. I got here early enough to write a blog entry before my official duties begins. So let's take a look at what I will be writing? Sure, Beavis and Butt-Head had to align with my first full day in the workplace. I have some setting up to do, but I'm still way on schedule, so I'm going to write about the thing that my parents freaked out about when I was in high school. I remember Beavis and Butt-Head being this massive scare across the country. This was pre-South Park. But I'm 99% certain that it was post-Simpsons. Either way, there might have been this weird ourobouros thing going on with the fear of Beavis and Butt-Head because here I am, nearly 40, writing about the newest Beavis and Butt-Head movie.
The thing about the fears about Beavis and Butt-Head was that not many people understood the long con that Mike Judge was pulling. I mean, Patrick Stewart --super fan of Beavis and Butt-Head --did. But nobody knew who Mike Judge was. We didn't really get that Beavis and Butt-Head were created to satirize my generation. Like many animated characters who are meant to expose the faults of our culture, we worshipped them instead of saw the inherent criticism of these characters. As much as people both worship and fear Rick and Morty, Beavis and Butt-Head were there to show us what not to do. Instead, it influenced a bunch of morons to play Frog Baseball. I can see why Beavis and Butt-Head were retired. I'm not sure if it was just the attitude of Judge himself or if the '90s grunge moron was becoming passé. But Mike Judge needed to be a little less subtle about his disdain for the way society was progressing. We got stuff like Idiocracy and Office Space to really point the finger at us. In light of that, Beavis and Butt-Head as a show made a lot more sense.
I can see why Judge probably returned to these characters. The cynic in me thinks that Paramount+ showed up with a dump truck full of money and demanded that he do it. But there was nothing at fault with the Beavis and Butt-Head model. He just needed my generation to grow up a bit. I can't imagine Gen Z jumping on board this character. I'm actually amazed that these characters still mostly work in such a different culture. I mean, a major tenet of these characters were the fact that they made fun of music videos, which mostly don't exist anymore. As the movie shows, these two should be old farts who are still obsessed with the bands that they thought were cool in high school.
So if I'm going to write a blog about Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, I have to look at what it is satirizing. It's not like Judge is taking a potshot at one person or group. I don't think that was ever Beavis and Butt-Head's mission statement. If Idiocracy was an attack on anti-intellectualism, I have to imagine that Judge is disillusioned with the state of our country today. There's never been such a sense of pride about facts and education to my knowledge. (I say this out of an anecdotal perspective and am applying my own depressing thoughts to the discourse.) But Judge applies an almost hopeless attitude to the way we exist in post-Trump America. If the OG Beavis and Butt-Head pointed out the stupidity of Bush's America, with low ambitioned individuals getting frustrated at the moronic stupidity of the eponymous characters, this is the movie that stresses that we're never going to find common ground. I'm really swinging for the fences with this one, but maybe the film is about the absurdity of having basic expectations on the left.
Beavis and Butt-Head are finally given something that progressives want: the disadvantaged are given a chance to leave their toxic environments. In the case of the movie, it has to do with sending these kids to Space Camp. Listen, I went to Space Camp a whole bunch of times. Do you want me to prove it? I went to Space Camp enough times to know that you eventually go into Space Academy if you are old enough. Yeah. That's some street cred right there. It's not like my parents were rich. I'm living a far more economically stable life than I did when I was a kid. But I know that my parents had to be financially set to send me to Space Camp because that is expensive. But because I've become this progressive liberal hippie, I want the disadvantaged to receive these opportunities. But Judge isn't going to throw a softball at the left. Nope. There's a major flaw in that attitude of sending Beavis and Butt-Head to Space Camp. It's throwing money at a problem as opposed to actually taking the time to get to help these kids.
Because a goldfish has no idea how to climb a tree, these guys are going to take their previous world knowledge and apply it to Space Camp. And because democrats like me are so thrilled to see success in any form, they put it on display. They send Beavis and Butt-Head to space. Before I get too much on my breakdown of satire, I would like to point out that a lot of these choices are probably done in service to a plot. Beavis and Butt-Head had to find a way to 2022 and to do that, they had to be sucked into a wormhole. It doesn't change that there's a message there. Serena wanted to badly to be this moral good for mankind that she ended up exposing a really dark side to herself. It's the frustration that comes with an objective good staring you in the face and people choosing not to get on board. Beavis and Butt-Head, avatars of anti-intellectualism, are incapable of growth. It's what makes them work so well on TV. We know that there isn't going to be a lot of change for them over the course of the story. Because these characters won't move and enjoy bliss, it's us who have to look at ourselves.
Serena goes from this advocate for the sciences and alternative forms of education to someone who is willing to kill to maintain political clout. I mean, the movie literally puts the boys in a 2022 gender studies class and they make the same mistake Americans make on such a grandiose scale. There's no room for nuance and there's no room for interpretation when it comes to Beavis and Butt-Head. When they are told that they have White privilege, they see it as this get-out-of-jail-free card. And that's great. That's the knee jerk reaction of the right saying that "I've had it just as hard as anyone", but from a place of laughter and stupid joy. It's kind of brilliant.
In terms of a movie, I don't know if Do the Universe really does anything particularly cinematic. I'm going to be talking about The Bob's Burgers Movie in a few days and will be covering the same points. It is kind of a bigger episode of the show. I want people like my wife to love this, but I don't honestly see that happening. At this point, I think you either like Beavis and Butt-Head or you don't. That seems like an empty statement, but it might be more of a commentary on how we absorb popular culture. The fact that I had to write out the name "Paramount+" on this blog kind of shows how nuanced entertainment has become. Things aren't necessarily aimed for a broad audience anymore (something that the fine folks at Warner Bros. Discovery should probably learn quickly before they completely gut HBOMax). Like, I don't expect to see this new wave of Beavis and Butt-Head fans popping up. Instead, I see a bunch of 40-year-old liberals like me commenting on our own flaws instead of making active change to fix ourselves. (What? I'm aware that I'm part of the problem!)
It's kind of amazing that sexual innuendo still gets me laughing. Like, this is a full-length movie and I still chuckle over things that Beavis and Butt-Head find funny. And to a certain extent, I do see some character arcs, mostly with Beavis gaining even a modicum of emotional maturity over the course of the film. But this is not going to be one of those movies that changes cinema, even in the least. It's a great episode of Beavis and Butt-Head, but beyond that it is just something to entertain you while running on a treadmill.
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Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.