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JACKASS 3D, 2010
Johnny Knoxville and company return for the third installment of their TV show spin-off, where dangerous stunts and explicit public displays rule. Johnny Knoxville ingratiated himself to wrestling fans with his appearances on the WWE circuit, and we're wondering if he's feeling like the Randy "The Ram" Robinson of the Jackass crew.
Release Date: 15 October 2010
For the most things really do get better with age. New ideas come along that introduce us to new ways of looking at and/or enjoying the world. But, us humans being who we are, just as inevitably someone will quickly come along, take that innovation, and apply to banal, unimportant means that we would all be better off without. It’s a necessary part of the idea life-cycle, like getting measles or the mumps for the first time. It’s unpleasant to go through, but if the idea comes out successfully on the other side it should be here to stay.
Thus, “Jackass.” In 3D.
There’s this Icelandic shark dish, Hákarl, which requires the meat to ferment in a hole in the ground for six weeks or so, before being hung up and aged for a few months. By all accounts its one of the foulest tasting things on Earth; eating it is more of a test of character than anything else. Watching “Jackass” is a lot like that.
It’s been ten years since the franchise first appeared on MTV so the layout should be pretty familiar to everyone. Actor Johnny Knoxville and his gang of stuntmen/circus freaks put themselves in situations of extreme physical danger and then react with surprise and dismay when they get hurt. In between they put on various gags and pranks often with an eye towards making their own film crew vomit. And repeat for about 90 minutes.
There’s also something desperate at work in the newest version as well. None of our hosts are spring chickens who can get away with shocking each other with cattle prods physically and emotionally. Middle-age is beginning to beckon and the site of middle-aged men having footballs kicked in their face isn’t going to be funny. So they go into the breach one more time, with the dawning realization that the thing that made them successful (and if this is success I’d hate to see failure) in the first place has also become all they’re good for, and that not much longer.
It’s usually at these moments when a certain amount of existential truth begins to seep out, such as early in the film when Steve-O – about to be hit in the groin with at T-Ball – admits he’s beginning to hate being Steve-O.
But for just a little while longer, “Jackass” is going to be successful. The general inexpense of these things – clumsy adaptation into 3D aside (there are only two stunts set up in such a way to take advantage of it) – guarantees that it will be successful as long as there are boys who want to see the fantasy’s of six-year-olds played out for real.
It says something (I’m not sure what, but something) about civilization that we can have this group of individuals who, at any other point in history, would surely have died from an inability to fend for themselves. Now, with those sorts of concerns no longer needing the time or manpower they once did, these people have actually managed to move from the bottom to the top of the food chain by celebrating that lack of survival instinct.
So. “Jackass.” In 3D. That’s progress.