Yesterday, William Friedkin, director of Sorcerer, The Exorcist, and The French Connection, passed away at 87. Social media was quickly filled with people sharing their favorite stories about the talented filmmaker. One of the highlights was Simpsons writer and Titanic enthusiast Mike Reiss.
When working on the Mr. Plow show, we heard that William Friedkin was a fan of @TheSimpsons. So we put in a parody of his film SORCERER just for him. Years later he visited the show, charmed everyone, and even wound up as a guest star. RIP a great guy. pic.twitter.com/fTH8etohEy— Mike Reiss (@MikeReissWriter) August 7, 2023
The first time I saw Sorcerer was after a long night of theater bartending with my friend Sean. We shuffled our way back to his place, he threw on the 1977 William Friedkin thriller, and I was glued to my seat for the next two hours. It was tense, thrilling, and terrifying, and I had never seen anything like it. Or so I thought.
It’s no secret that The Simpsons is laden with pop culture references. I’ve once heard the show described as having a time capsule-like quality, and few things have made more sense to me. The Simpsons was my “cool older brother” who introduced me to songs and movies I may not have heard otherwise. It blessed me with an eclectic taste and a varied sense of humor. So, of course, The Simpsons was actually responsible for my first exposure to Sorcerer.
The show took an innovative approach to animation. They would direct scenes cinematically. Some shots would purposefully emulate popular movies and television. It gave the show its identity while also allowing for some of the finest film parodies to exist. Friedkin’s legacy will extend beyond The Simpsons. Still, it’s wonderful to have a movie like Sorcerer captured this way.