Forget Belfast. Down with The Power of the Dog. And up yours, Licorice Pizza! Awards Season is upon us and for your consideration, we propose to you this year’s one true worthy contender – Jackass Forever! Cinema at its purest and a landmark in filmmaking excellence, this latest outing from the Dickhouse crew stuns from the outset with its powerful narrative, original technique and exciting photography, all whilst simultaneously tantalising the heart and soul with its probing exploration of contemporary ideas and powerful emotions.
Plus, there’s a scene where Steve-O puts Bees on his knob.
Yes, perhaps the weighty subjects and underlying themes that pervade throughout Jackass Forever will prove too abstruse, too mystifying or too unfavourable a subject for Critics and Oscar voters to stomach. But those that allow themselves to experience the joy and wonder that Jackass Forever possesses will walk away feeling enlightened, challenged and entertained in the most exhilarating and mind-altering ways. Whether it’s through watching the talented cast performing a tap dance routine on an electrified floor, taking a punch to the groin from a heavyweight boxing champion or letting a Grizzly Bear eat raw salmon off of their nutsacks, the film truly stands out as a monument to the wonders of cinema, containing within some of the most powerful and thought-provoking moments ever committed to celluloid.
Jackass Forever also plays on that Hollywood Nostalgia Itch in so many ways, but unlike other big franchise tentpole sequels and reboots, there’s no looking back to the past, no lazy attempts to simply rehash the popular moments of old. Instead, the film simply looks forward, finding new and inventive ways for the Jackass crew to do what they do best. What they do best is getting hurt and being utterly disgusting, but make no mistake, it is art. Refined, unadulterated art.
The camaraderie of the Jackass crew is evident throughout and the chemistry between them, whether newcomers or old pros, is delightful to behold. At its core, the film’s heart lies in the evident endurance of the gang’s long-lasting friendships, all of which are beautifully experienced through pure and emotional scenes of gentle dick slapping, snake attacks and bungee jump wedgies. The laughter of Johnny Knoxville and the others as they watch their friends get savaged by a bird of prey or shot by a firing squad of paintball gun wielding stormtroopers is utterly infectious, and one cannot help but be caught up in the euphoria as Machine Gun Kelly gets smacked in the face with a giant plastic hand.
Utterly puerile and stupid in the best possible way, Jackass Forever transcends genre conventions and tackles audience expectations with enthralling gusto, offering up perplexing philosophical questions about the human condition and the power of love and friendship. The sheer wave of elation that follows as the men and women on screen are subjected to intense pressure and pain is exactly what the Lumière Brothers envisioned for the medium of cinema as an art form way back in 1895, and the fact we are alive today to experience it is something we must thank the gods to high heaven for. Truly, Jackass Forever is the ultimate cinematic experience, one that must be seen on the biggest screen imaginable to truly appreciate its cultural impact and esoteric themes.
Plus there’s also a bit where Chris Pontius gets his penis bitten by a snapping turtle. Art. Pure art!