The 10 most pretentious critical reactions to Jackass 3D

10.19.10 8 years ago 35 Comments

To my great dismay, the New York Press’ venerable verbose curmudgeon, Armond White, has yet to weigh in on Jackass 3D.  My review, which I never got around to posting, was one sentence, “Yep, I still love Jackass.”  It seems pretty simple: you either like Jackass humor or you don’t.  I could get all high and mighty and point to my fancy college degrees while I come up with a pointed, scholarly defense of why I love it, but I’m also a dude who used to play rugby and crush beer cans against my skull for fun, so that’d probably be silly.  I like it, you don’t, fine. It’s a spectacle.  To me, it’s a little like reviewing the bearded lady at the carnival.  An absurd proposition.  Ridiculous and sort of hilarious.  Though… perhaps the same could be said of Jackass itself.  Discuss.

  • At times Mr. Knoxville and his pals seem to be exploring, with degrees of knowing and naïveté, some of the same surrealist terrain described by Luis Buñuel in his memoir, “My Last Sigh.” (Although in truth only Mr. Jonze, who shows up in a fat suit and under a schmear of latex, seems genuinely knowing.) –NY Times [You can recognize the knowing ’cause of the latex. -Ed.]
  • For me, watching Jackass 3-D was like being plunged into a Hieronymous Bosch painting of hell, yet this very reaction attests to the franchise’s primal, diabolical power. Slate
  • Gravity, if you like, was their straight man: the crunching comedown, the bathos of impact. –The Atlantic [Oh, impact, why must you be so bathological?]
  • Knoxville would never admit to such loser taste, but he and his friends are obviously scholars of “The Divine Comedy,” from which they plagiarized all of their ideas and disguised them as silly stunts to infect the minds of American youth with 14th-century epic poetry. […] A line from Canto I of “Inferno” could be used as the tagline for “Jackass 3D”: “You shall hear the howls of desperation . . . as each of them laments.” –NYPost [to be fair, this was actually a really clever review… ]
  • The men’s raucously playful, uninhibited and affectionate engagement with one another’s habitually unclothed bodies can seem like a spit in the face (and elsewhere) to the outside world’s homophobia. –NY Times [I spit on your wiener, homophobia! Ptoo! Ptoo!]
  • Plus, the world had changed. The jackasses themselves had changed it. Celebrity bull-riding; the naked-wrestling scene in Borat; the huge audience that arose for the Ultimate Fighting Championship; Spike TV gladiators ringed by millions of distantly baying viewers in a Colosseum made of bong smoke: these were post-Jackass phenomena. –The Atlantic

  • When Louis Lumière invented the first portable motion picture camera in 1895, it is safe to say he never envisioned it would be used 115 years later for the purposes of the sort of base, stomach-churning, and just plain idiotic gags found in “Jackass 3D.” [Isn’t that a verbatim quote from the trailer, dipshit? -Ed]
    …The “Jackass” franchise has become passé and not nearly as shocking as it once was. This is its nadir. As brain cells shrivel in response to the irredeemable, cynical, subjectively worthless experience, the only thing to do is pray for the sweet relief that shall arrive when it is all over. –DustinPutnam1
  • This fixation of feces isn’t juvenile. It’s infantile, puerile, and gag-inducing.  –Orlando Sentinel
  • “It” is the “Jackass” franchise, the 10-year-old extreme prank war resulting in more lawsuits and testicular mishaps than Brett Favre’s sexts. – [Heeey, folks! And what’s the deal with airline food? Don’t forget to tip your waitress, try the veal!]
  • The Jackass movies blossomed, like a flowering plant from the derriere of a nudie in a Hieronymous Bosch painting… –Movieline

(*rings bell*) TWO HIERONYMUS BOSCH REFERENCES, TWO HIERONYMUS BOSCH REFERENCES! (*bangs gong, runs around the room waving arms above head*)

It’s always interesting to me when people use the Lumière brothers as a point of reference to bemoan the crumbling of the art of cinema as exemplified by Jackass.  For one thing, it betrays a severe lack of historical context.  The Lumière brothers knew nothing of “cinema” with a capital C the way most critics now reference it.  Some of the brothers’ first films were just footage of an oncoming train (which famously sent terrified first-time motion picture audience members scattering for the exits), and short pranks where someone kinks the gardener’s hose and then unkinks it when he looks down the tube for the blockage, spraying his face with water. Which is to say, motion picture, as it was originally envisioned, was pure spectacle.  It was not “art.”  The Lumière brothers would be mortified by Jackass?  Please.  Jackass is spectacle. If anything, the Lumière brothers would find it familiar.

1. While I did find this guy on RottenTomatoes, and he appears to be a member of some film critics society, it should be noted that he doesn’t appear to work for a publication of note, and currently has 11 Twitter followers.

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