Best. Episode. Ever? Pick your 'Simpsons' favorite
"The Simpsons" airs its 500th episode this Sunday night. "At Long Last Leave," like many latter-day "Simpsons" outings, features a story we've seen variations on several times before (including in "The Simpsons Movie"), but also features many funny jokes that affirm my belief that I'm happier to live in a world that keeps giving us new "Simpsons" episodes (especially when they are occasionally as great as "Holidays of Future Passed") than I will be in the one where that inevitably stops. The couch gag in particular is marvelous, and actually made me choke up a bit.
The show has been on so long, has passed so many anniversaries, that I've run out of deep thoughts to say about the series at this latest milestone. So instead, I will borrow a suggestion from Time's Jame Poniewozik, who took the occasion of the 500th episode to both declare his own favorite "Simpsons" episode ever ("Homer's Enemy," which I've never liked) and to invite viewers to do the same.
I like Poniewozik's insistence on being absolute here. You can't name your 2 or 3 favorites, can't rattle off a list. Off the top of your head, if someone asks you what your favorite "Simpsons" episode ever is, what comes to mind? For me, it's "Homer the Heretic," the third episode of the show's magical fourth season, in which Homer decides to skip church for once, has the best Sunday of his life, and decides that, from now on, he's going to worship the Lord in his own way, as he wisely explains to Marge here:
There are many, many, many "Simpsons" episodes I can easily and immediately accept as someone's favorite, but to me, "Homer the Heretic" captures everything that was and is great about the series: social satire, extraordinary quotability ("'This Things I Believe'"), a good family story, and an innate sweetness in spite of Homer's outsized antics.
That's mine. Your turn. Remember: pick only one, and, if you have time, explain why it's your favorite.
2014 | Documentary | NRSummary: Lively and touching documentary follows Kurt Russell's father Bing as he creates a scrappy and surprisingly successful minor-league baseball team.Director: Chapman Way, Maclain Way
Cast: Todd Field, Kurt Russell, Rob Nelson
1994 | Comedy | RSummary: Convenience and video store clerks Dante and Randal are sharp-witted, potty-mouthed and bored out of their minds. So in between needling customers, the counter jockeys play hockey on the roof, visit a funeral home and deal with their love lives.Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1973 | Comedy | PGSummary: Before Star Wars, George Lucas paid tribute ot the '50s of his youth with this dramedy featuring Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss as high school seniors trying to make the most out of their last night in their California home town. Keep an eye out for a very young Harrison Ford!Director: George Lucas
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat
2014 | Family | PGSummary: After a construction project begins digging in their neighborhood, best friends Tuck, Munch and Alex inexplicably begin to receive strange, encoded messages on their cell phones. Convinced something bigger is going on, they go to their parents and the authorities. When everyone around them refuse...Director: Dave Green
Cast: Teo Halm, Astro, Resse Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt
1984 | Action | PGSummary: A bullied kid, new in town, is trained in karate by an old handyman, who hides his storied past. Climaxes in one of the most rousing final sequences of the '80s.Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Elisabeth Shue
1948 | Comedy | NRSummary: Ad exec Cary Grant flees to the country from Manhattan, and makes a series of impulsive and bull-headed choices as he tries to create his own personal dream home.Director: H.C. Potter
Cast: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas
2004 | Fantasy | PGSummary: Ella of Frell is given the "gift of obedience" by a fairy, only to realize that it's more of a curse because it could separate her from her true love, Prince Charmont. Will Ella manage to conjure a "cure" that enables her to live happily ever after?Director: Tommy O'Haver
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Aidan McArdle
2006 | Documentary | NRSummary: Dave Chappelle hosts the block party to end them all in Brooklyn, featuring stand-up comedy from Chapelle in addition to performances by Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, the Roots, Cody ChesnuTT, Big Daddy Kane, and the reunited Fugees.Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Dave Chappelle, Yasiin Bey, Lauryn Hill
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