With the release of Jackass Forever approaching (Feb 5th) we take a look at each of the franchises big screen outings, offering insight into the films and adding commentary on exactly what each entrant brought with it in terms of entertainment. And laugh at the carnage, obviously.
We begin with 2002’s Jackass : The Movie. By this point Jackass had established itself as an almost subversive or counter culture phenomenon with mainstream appeal. It didn’t take long for this monster truck of a franchise to make it into cinemas, after a short and successful run of the series on MTV.
The film opens with that familiar place card and Johnny Knoxville voice over:
“WARNING : The stunts in this movie were performed by professionals, so for your safety and the protection of those around you, do not attempt any of the stunts you’re about to see.”
This sets the viewer up for the carnage that is about to unfold. The intro that follows is a suitably epic stunt involving a giant, high-speed shopping cart (or trolley as we like to say here), on an incline, with pyrotechnics, smoke, slow motion and O Fortuna blasting.
It also makes a great setup for the film and introduces the cast nicely.
As with title card and opener, Rent-a-Car-Crash-Up-Derby gets the film firmly underway. The skit sees Knoxville renting a car, completely modding it and taking it to a destruction derby. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then returns it to the rental company who are noticeably concerned by the damage to their car. Knoxville protests “I returned it with a full tank of gas” before fleeing the scene with 2 sex dolls under his arms and giggling.
The first very serious injury of the film occurs just 13 minutes in to the film with Johnny Knoxville flipping a golf cart and gaining a concussion. The same stunt saw Ryan Dunne being thrown clear of the crash.
Fireworks Wakeup represents the first of multiple big screen skits involving Bam Margera pranking his long-suffering parents. This skit saw Bam setting off a large amount of fireworks in his parents bedroom while they slept. Following up 5 hours later when his father (Phil) is leaving for work and Bam sets off another volley within his car. A stunt that is only topped by releasing a live crocodile into their house a few skits later.
You can see the early seeds being planted for 2013’s Bad Grandpa with Knoxville donning a latex mask and shoplifting on Hollywood Boulevard as a pensioner.
A staple for the franchise is the in-team pranking war that ensues throughout the following films. With this particular outing electric hair clippers are deployed with ninja-like speed and lethal ferocity.
Jackass : The Movie contains a consistent amount of highs and a few lows: The wholesome frolicking fun of Night Pandas flying the flag of joy. And the skit where Knoxville receives a non lethal bean bag round to the stomach being of particular somber note.
The budget For this first film outing was $5 million and it earned around $22 million on its opening weekend alone with the continuing earnings reaching around $80 million. That in itself is a resounding testament to what has been established and what follows.
It’s safe to say no-one will ever listen to Roger Alan Wades If you’re gonna be dumb you gotta tough or Andrew WK‘s Party Hard and not think of Jackass.
It’s also safe to say that Jackass : The Movie represents the most immature, puerile and low brow humour imaginable, and it is so unbelievably satisfying to watch. There’s something basic about this type of comedy. Much like when children laugh at cartoon violence, or farting – no-one teaches them it’s funny, it just is. Man fall down. He funny.
That’s where this film lives. It has no qualms about a man jumping off a tree in his y-fronts to give himself a wedgie. No issue with strapping rockets to a pair of roller skates. Having a roller disco in the back of a moving truck. Snorting lines of Wasabi. Eating yellow snow.
The overwhelming charm of Jackass is the setup of the film. It feels like a film that happened incidentally of the chaos that occurred when it was being filmed.
The format is equally tailored for the Tik Tok generation with its short attention span and conveyor belt of skits, lasting as short as ten seconds.
This is childish. I love it.
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