There are tons of songs and films surfacing that remind us all of when we were fifteen. That pre-high school innocence is certainly unique for us boys, especially if you saw “Jackass: The Movie” during its opening weekend last Friday.
Police, ushers and local news reporters were buzzing around theaters as if it were the opening of “Terminator 3” or “Beavis and Butthead” in their 20’s. A good turnout of college and high school kids packed theaters for late screenings of the MTV movie.
MTV films are a brand that always seems to make you ashamed of what you just saw, or that you were somehow oddly enough connected to the characters of the movie. For many, it was some of both.
Ringleader of the “Jackass” gang of eight, Johnny Knoxville introduces the movie from the larger than life shopping cart chariot they ride in on, after plowing through a cloud of cement dust and right after MTV’s warning disclaimer note with the “Jackass” logo of skull and crutch-bones.
The movie begins with its riders toppling into an elaborately exaggerated fruit vending stand, various melons, apples and bananas setting off with explosives as well.
Director of the show Jeff Tremaine’s film adaptation with Spike Jonze is just the whole string of MTV episodes put together, with a few scenes at the beginning and end restaged into a half-way Hollywood caliber.
Private parts get electrocuted, fixed with bottle rockets or bitten by whale sharks and alligators. The occasional “Jackass” member vomits upon consuming his own urine and Matchbox cars get placed where the sun don not shine. Camera men are also shown vomiting after outrageous stunts, and nudity becomes exposed and ultimately glorified.
Still reading? The best part is Knoxville and crew dressing as old geezers, wrinkles, motorized carts and all, showing the inevitable sequel potential at the film’s end, as Rip Taylor makes a brief cameo.
Also making cameos are director Tremaine and assistant brain Spike Jonze. Then there are pro skater and bikers Tony Hawk and Mat Hoffman doing some fat-bottomed half-pipe shredding.
Loyal “Jackass” parents Phil and April Margera are not quite as famous as the Ozzy household, but are involved with just as many pranks, courtesy of son Bam Margera. Rocker Henry Rollins guests also, commanding a Hummer during a rough-ridden tattoo session out in the California desert.
The film’s scenes are shot in “Jackass” hometown West Chester, Penn., as well as Japan, Alligator Ally, Fla., Los Angeles, CA., and Hopewell, OR., if not only for their stunt purpose scenarios and the appalled reception of locals.
Obvious enough, the feature film of “Jackass” stunts doesn’t require a huge budget. A few cameo appearances, lots of cheap explosives, beer, rubber dolls, toys and stunt paraphernalia are the only essentials. For what turned out as a fans-only movie, a fair number of middle-aged patrons were in the audience.
MTV movies, if they could be called films, or just elaborate spoofs or spectacles of current shows or trends, serve well enough as films kids can reminisce about while still young and unbothered. Anything more substantial out of their films is unlikely, considering the primetime lineup of shows.
Flannel and grunge were the dying trends when my middle-class suburbia hit fifteen. Now it looks like enlightenment from physical injury and torture seems pretty hip. “Jackass” should not be around too much longer from the looks of past shows turned into fans-only movies.