Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jackasses get hosed

I've got my new Jackass Number Two DVD and it makes me happy. I would love to write an eloquent essay about the whole Jackass thing, but I'm not eloquent. And they deserve better than that anyhow. It's all best summed up by Knoxville's shirt in one of the segments. It says Fuck Art. Let's Dance.

So there you go.

But I will say that even though Number Two made me laugh just as hard as the series and first flick did, there was a bit more of an edge to it. There was supposed to be more of an edge to it, because clearly they wanted to top the first one. But it's not just from the stunts getting more severe and the pranks getting more brutal. It's been four years since the last movie was made, and four years in a body that's got 30 years of hardcore wear and tear on it is pretty substantial. Even the baby of the crew, Bam Margera, is getting a bit old-er. Ehren McGhehey's hair is thinning and his front tooth was missing for most of the skits. When they'd show the guys naked -- which was a lot (the Dickhouse logo isn't a rainbow for nothing, kids) -- you'd see the gnarly aftermath splotched and scraped all over their flesh. It was those brief moments when I'd think that Pontius didn't have it so bad drinking the horse semen. Puke and it's over. But how long did Bam, Johnny, and Ryan suffer after taking those crowd-dispersing pellets?

I won't go so far as to say that it seemed like Knoxville has a death wish. Quite the contrary, it kind of seems like he's overwhelmed with trying to fit everything into his life all at once. After the first movie, he was criticized a little, with people saying that he left radical shit to Steve-O and the others.

I don't really think that was a fair criticism, as his shtick has always been a bit offbeat from the rest of the crew. He did the riot-testing and shooting himself shit and was better with the off-the-cuff quips while pulling pranks. (I mean, really, I still grin when I think about him saying, "I hit a dog," when he returned the destroyed rental car.) And as the ringleader, it always was kind of his thing to help goad everyone else into being a jackass, too. And it's his over-the-top, shotgun cackle that works as a laugh-track for the bits. Someone's howling in pain -- sometimes Knoxville himself is -- but then there's that contagious laugh, and then everyone else is laughing like a lunatic, too.

They may be all busted up, but they're having the time of their lives.

But maybe Knoxville took some of that criticism to heart and decided to risk life and limb -- repeatedly -- for this second venture. Don't get me wrong -- he's crazy as a shithouse rat, alright. But he's not stupid, either. He is also an emerging movie star, if anyone can ever find a role to mesh his electric charisma with his edgy sensibilities. (Johnny -- call me! I'm writing something for you! For real!) And the most worry we ever see etched across his face isn't when he's waiting to be charged by a yak, but during the end credits, when he's laying on the ground with a bloodied scratch across his face and someone comments that his face is fucked up. And in yet another instance, he literally gets shot, but points to his face and asks if it's alright and then says he's fine as long as his face is unscathed. Vain? Perhaps a bit. But pretty funny, too. And considering he reportedly makes 5 mill a picture, not so irrational a concern.

I think he does have the capacity to make a career out of acting. I mentioned in another post that he showed promise in the little-seen The Ringer. He was just a little TOO flattened out into a "nice guy" in that role, but he still made it work. Maybe it is a matter of pride that he felt compelled to go back and do another round of Jackass.

They closed out the first flick with a spoof of all the guys being old men, still hobbling down the street, Steve-O in his leopard thong and Knoxville in his Chuck Taylors, with explosions going off and jackassy shit going on. But four years later -- and four years older -- they did come back and do it all over again, and did it bigger and badder. And I have a feeling it wasn't to prove anything, but just because no matter what else they do, they all know that Jackass will be the best time of their lives. Even if the bruises last longer, and the cuts go deeper, and the falls are taken harder. They still cackle like maniacs through it all.

But this news today pleases me anyhow. I don't really care about Madge and what she's up to. But just like I'm glad to see Knoxville get some other work that probably pays the bills more than Jackass, I'm also glad to see the same for Pontius, Steve-O, Preston, and Wee Man. (who I guess is also on that new reality show about becoming a cop.) It's nice to think of Steve-O getting a paycheck that doesn't involve puking up his guts or impaling himself with a fishing hook. Even if it probably won't be as funny.

Damn. I guess I did write that essay. But at least it wasn't eloquent. Fuck eloquent. Let's Dance.

1 comment:

meep said...

I saw this post way back when, but only came back to read it after putting Jackass#2 on my netflix list. I'm now Johnny Knoxville's biggest fan. I know. Don't cut in line, bitch! But really. Thanks for this.