Rants for the Riff Raff: A Tribute to Jackass Number 2
I am a huge Jackass fan. I was the kid in middle school who ignored all the warnings and filmed my own version with my friends (it was called What the Hell? and it was god awful). I remember hearing about it when it first came out, but it wasn’t until my friend Christian showed me the first movie when we were 12 that I got hooked.
I searched the TV listings for anytime the show came on. I memorized the disclaimer. I started watching Viva La Bam and Wildboyz. I changed the wallpaper on my computer to an image of Bam Margera jumping off a hotel roof into the pool below. I found a skull and crutches t-shirt at a store in Canada. I put up a poster of Johnny Knoxville getting his nipple bitten by an alligator in my room (it’s still there to this day).
And then, when I was a sophomore in high school, I found out they were making a sequel. I was ecstatic. I watched the trailer at least twice a day for a week. I searched for clips during my digital photography class instead of editing photos. I counted down the days until September 22nd, 2006.
When the day finally rolled around, I could barely contain myself. I was 15, so I had to have my parents drive me to the theater. I wasn’t old enough to get into R-rated movies, so I had to hope that the ticket seller was cool/didn’t care. I couldn’t find anybody to go with, so I sat by myself.
I was practically vibrating with excitement during the previews. Finally, a warning popped up on screen, and the movie started. It was one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had. The crowd was fantastic. It was sold out, so every seat was filled with loud, excited, mostly drunk people. We laughed uproariously at the funny parts. We gasped at the painful parts. We shouted warnings at Johnny, Chris, Steve-o, and the rest whenever they were about to do something unusually stupid.
The crowd that night was on par to a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween. I left the theater elated, filled with adrenaline, and giggly. I spent the entire car ride home regaling my dad about the various things the Jackasses did to themselves.
I still love that movie. It is my favorite of all things Jackass. I was excited when they announced Jackass 3D, but nowhere near where I had been 4 years prior. I’ve still only seen it once, and it wasn’t even on the day it opened. Things had changed. Before the second one came out, I didn’t think they were ever going to do anything together again. I thought I had seen the last of their antics. Then the movie came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass. As great as it is, the third one just couldn’t compare.
Jackass is over now. They could make another film in theory, but it’s not going to happen. The entire 3rd film felt like a tribute to their younger selves. They had to go all out, because it was the last chance they had. The end credits of that movie features now-and-then pictures of the cast while “Memories” plays in the background, and it almost had me tearing up. That alone would be enough for me to believe it’s over, but after the death of Ryan Dunn, there’s no way they can come back.
Jackass Number 2 is one of the defining movies of my life. Is that a bad thing? I’m not sure. Clearly there are better movies out there. Thoughtful, intelligent movies with artistic camera angles and a brilliant script. But they don’t mean as much to me as Jackass. Though they lack sophistication, I challenge you to find films with more heart. The Jackasses put themselves on the line more gleefully and more often than just about anyone. I don’t know why exactly they do it, but I know I love them for it.
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