In the Spring, we took our teenagers to see Jackass 4.0 at the local theater. One of my daughter's friends had never seen a Jackass movie before and asked "Mr. Hunt, do I need to know what happened in the first 3 Jackass movies?"
I looked upon my daughter's 18 year old friend with scorn. "Uh, no. A bunch of overgrown delinquents kick each other in the balls and try to put each other in the hospital. And expect a lot of male nudity. Not like Chippendale's, but nasty nudity mixed with poop."
Listen, back in the 1930's and 40's, there were no bigger stars than the 3 Stooges. The Jackass Guys are simply the Stooges of our generation, slapstick comedy at its lowest common denominator.
Last week, we sat down as a family and watched Jackass 4.5 on Netflix. It was a good Jackass movie. It didn't split the atom, the Jackass Guys have a formula and they worked the formula.
Top to bottom, I like most of the Jackass Guys. I do. I don't mean to be flippant or dismissive. They simply are what they are.
After watching Jackass 4.5, my wife and I went back and watched Jackass 2.5 & 3.5 and something started to eat at me. Something that caught me off guard. I felt bad for Bam Margera.
During the initial production of Jackass 4.0, it was very well publicized that Bam was fired for substance abuse issues. But after watching Jackass 2.5, I realized the uncredited cast member was various forms of drugs and alcohol.
Yes, I know Bam crossed the line when dealing with Jeff Tremaine but you know what? If I found out tomorrow that I needed heart surgery, I would want my doctor and my nurses to be sober. If I had to get an ambulance to the hospital, I would want my ambulance driver to be sober. Does Bam Margera really need to be sober to have butt beads yanked out of his butt by a kite?
"Bam is a danger to himself and others," the TMZ headlines screamed. Yeah, you just described every Jackass set.
I'm not saying kids should do drugs. I am saying that 40 to 50 year old stunt performers should be able to drink alcohol.
Let me give you a different example. 4 years ago, Keith Richards, at the age of 74, finally got sober. I don't think anyone was clamoring for the Rolling Stones guitarist to get sober. He could have drank himself right into the grave and I don't think anyone would have thought any less of him. Being a Rock and Roll star and a member of the Jackass Crew aren't exactly the same job, but they're damn close.
If your argument is that you need to be professional on a movie set, you haven't watched any of the .5 Jackass outtake films.
Side Note: When researching this article, I stumbled upon the fact that Jackass star Preston Lacy was born one day before me in 1969. If you look up Preston's filmography, it is almost exclusively Jackass-related. Even 2nd String Jackass performer Preston Lacy has made a career out of Jackass. That's amazing to me.
So this week, Bam was released after a YEAR of rehab. God Bless 'em.
Can he play nice with the other Jackass guys?
That's not exactly how those guys roll.
1 Day Later-
The Anthony Addendum:
My friend Anthony at work said my article was 100% wrong.
He said that after the death of Ryan Dunn there's no way the studio would have financed Jackass 4 unless they knew all the cast members were sober. Anthony said liability insurance is the shadow in the production of Jackass 4.