Observer writer Danny Gallagher saw the comedy film Jackass Forever once drunk and once stoned. So technically, he still hasn't seen the movie.One of Danny's sober friends
The number one movie in the world right now is Jackass Forever. Some might see this as a sign of our impending doom, that we're de-evolving as a species to a classification of intelligence lower than our biological ancestors. Nonsense. There are plenty of other, much clearer signs that our intelligence is waning and most of the best examples of that are just getting back home after a long stay at Dealey Plaza.
Unlike other film franchises that struggle with their identity, the makers of Jackass know how to deliver and improve upon the formula. It's not just an endless series of nut shots and concussions. It's about finding new and exciting ways to deliver nut shots and inflict concussions. Anybody can kick another man in the bean bag. The Jackass TV show and films take an already brilliant lunacy to its most logical evolution — like convincing someone to let a lightweight boxer punch them in the balls and then arranging to have UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou to do it instead.
Jackass Forever is the movie the world has earned the right to watch at this point. It feels like almost every movie — even the popcorn summer flicks — is trying to cram in some obvious lesson. We're all so wrapped up with each other on every level of disagreement, we need something that allows us to laugh at another person for reasons other than their politics. The only thing that might unite us is seeing Alex Jones take a hard right cross to his balls.
The Jackass movies always cheered me up when I need it most. The first one premiered toward the end of my last year in college when I started having panic attacks about starting my career in the middle of a bleak job market. Jackass Number Two landed right after my girlfriend dumped me. Jackass 3D came right when I got laid off from my full time job, which led me to a full-time freelance career starting with a story for an AOL blog about Stephanie Hodge, the first female Jackass member who easily suffered the worst injury of them all when a stunt went wrong.
All of the films have two things in common: they made me and friends laugh, and I was buzzed when I first watched oh all of them.
Drinking during a Jackass movie was never by design. It just happened that way. I saw each of them with friends after going to a nearby bar or in a place that served delicious alcoholic beverages. The beer or liquor didn't make the films funnier or better. I laughed just as hard when I was sober even at the bits my whiskey-soaked brain could recall.
However, things are different now. I drink gin.
I'm also at a high point in my life. My career is going well and I'm with someone who still loves me even after telling her I would see Jackass Forever twice on its opening weekend.
The anticipation for Jackass Forever reminded me of the one I felt for the big-screen remake of the musical Cats. I knew Cats would make me laugh during moments when it didn't intend to be funny, whereas you'd have to be brain dead not to laugh during Jackass Forever So I saw Cats twice, once sober and again drunk, to see the difference. I'd have to ramp up my reckless viewing experience for a Jackass movie, though I promised I would never do a review on anything higher than angel dust, not even for the Weird Al biopic.
Jackass Forever is about getting stupid and letting out that side of yourself that laughs when Moe pokes Curly in the eyes or Bugs Bunny uses the wrong pronoun to convince Elmer Fudd to blast off Daffy Duck's bill with a face full of buckshot. So if we're gonna get stupid, then I've gotta get STUPID. I watched one screening of Jackass drunk and another screening high.
Now before we proceed any further, I want to again make this clear just as I did with my Cats adventure: DO NOT attempt this in a public movie theater regardless of your tolerance level, ability to maintain your composure or whether or not you are Andy Cohen.
The Drunk Screening Even though I write and talk about drinking a lot, I really don't get drunk the way or as often as I used to when I started in my early 20s. I had a self-loathing streak that pushed me to wreck myself to the point of learning a lesson that never came. I learned later in life that you can enjoy alcohol for its taste and not just its ability to erase your motor skills and your capacity for knowing when you're on fire.
About four hours before the screen time, I started on my task. I poured myself three perfect martinis (chill the glass with ice and water, coat with vermouth and stir the gin with the ice instead of shaking it). I accidentally swallow an olive whole on the third glass. So I figure I should do shots since it's safer, which should've told me I was drunk enough.
Put me in coach. I'm ready. Also, I wrote "couch" in my notes.
I took Lyfts on both of my rides to and from the theaters because I may be an alcoholic but I'm a responsible alcoholic — or at least that's what I plan on telling the judge at my misdemeanor arraignment. I was accompanied by a friend who is smarter than I am — or can just hold his alcohol better —so I'm not stumbling around by myself. Plus, it's fun for my drunk ass to have an audience.
The opening scene was made for my current condition. It had me laughing louder than I've laughed in a long time, partly because of the alcohol. My volume tends to go up when my soberness is low. Chris Pontius utters an appropriate scream for the amount and location of the pain he receives just in the opening and I could not contain myself to my seat because I was doubled over with laughter in the forward and backwards position.
By the halfway point of the film, my head hurt from laughing. It felt like I took a running header into a brick wall. I was pounding my fists on my chair and knocking over a beer in the process, something I don't actually remember doing but I can see beer stains on my notebook. Eventually, my laughs got so loud that someone came over to ask if I was alright.
I know I laughed a lot but I actually don't remember a lot of the movie because I could only focus on one thing at a time and my own reactions distracted me from the very thing to which I was reacting to begin with.
I passed the ultimate drunk test. I could not follow the plot to a Jackass movie. The High Screening
We may live in a state where marijuana is still illegal, but as history keeps trying to teach us, that won't stop people from using it. Marijuana or weed as the kids are calling it hasn't really been a big part of my life. I can't get used to the smell, I'm barely functional when I'm on it and I can't afford to move to Denton.
So I go to that one friend we all have who knows how to get the stuff because he knows the right people, the different types and strains and the password that tells them they aren't a cop (it's "Marshmallow").
I want to cover my bases and make sure I'm high enough so I smoke a joint and take three edible chocolates that don't have that overly skunky taste. It takes about 10 minutes and I can feel the veneer of intoxication roll over my eyes the way a tablecloth gets draped across a dining room table. Words come and go but they aren't able to spill out of my head as frequently or as loudly for some reason. I have to ask my friends if I'm opening my eyelids.
I'm ready, coach. Put me in again. This time, I type "conch" into my notes.
Since I was drunker than Andy Dick just getting out of rehab, I could remember maybe two or three bits from the movie but even some of the details were backwards, like mistaking milk for pig semen in one stunt and pig semen for milk in another — a forgivable mistake.
Unlike the previous viewing, I don't think I made a sound during the entire movie. The scenes were still funny to me but the loudest noise I made was a mild guffaw.
It felt like time ran slower than the movie's run time. I'd find myself waking up in a new era of consciousness. I kept looking at my watch to see how much time had actually passed (out of curiosity, not boredom) and then remembered I was only wearing my leather bracelet because I'd left my watch at home. I did this at least 10 more times in the span of four hours.
The time meld makes it easier to keep up with the plot of each bit but once you're on to the next one, any memory of it just leaves your head. One bit called "Silence of the Lambs" stuck with me because of its creepiness. So in a way, pot makes Jackass Forever a better deal from an economic standpoint. It's the same running time but it feels like you're getting an extended cut for the same price. It's like smoking a Groupon.
By now, I've seen Jackass Forever twice and it still feels like I haven't watched it. I can't wait to see it.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune,Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.