Jackass Forever and the Shaping of a Generation

“Hello, I’m Johnny Knoxville, and welcome to Jackass!” It’s a sentence that will forever be etched in the mind of those who grew up in the early 2000’s. I feel such a sense of euphoria when I hear it because I know pure, dumb-a** fun is on the way.

The Early Days of Jackass

Jackass premiered as a television series in October of 2000. The new millennium came with a great deal of changes. There was excitement and a feeling of newness in the air. Throughout the 90’s, skateboarding and its goofy, risk-taking, friendship centered culture began to flourish. Magazines like Thrasher and Big Brother took off and gained popularity. The gnarly-ness of Thrasher’s Hall of Meat and Big Brother’s in your face nature became a staple of skateboard culture for many people growing up in that era. Jackass came around at the perfect time with the perfect cast of characters.

A combination of vomit, poop, and blood splattered the television screen of millions all over. People were excited, and some horrified, to see it. Regardless, it was here. If you were like me, you couldn’t get enough.

Ready to die

After the success of the television series and the first film, spin-offs emerged and continued the era of stunts and hardcore, gross-out humor on MTV. Away from the sightline of my parents I sneakily watched shows like Viva la Bam and Wildboyz despite their disapproval. Growing up in this era most definitely shaped my humor.

After the success of the show and film paired with their low production quality, the Jackass crew knew it was time to step it up for the next installment, and they did not disappoint. Jackass Number Two premiered in September of 2006. The level of crazy turned up multiple notches compared to the first movie. On Steve-O’s podcast SteveO’s Wild Ride, Steve-O and Jackass co-creator Jeff Tremaine discuss the Jackass films.

Steve and Jeff note that the second film may be the best because everyone was, “Ready to die”. It was the most reckless and raunchy they had ever been. Steve-O was in his drug abusing heyday and the crew was on their worst behavior as well. Number Two was the first film I saw in the series. Coming from only seeing the show and it’s spin-offs, it was eye-opening how crazy things were.

A New Era for the Boys

With the third installment, there was a feeling of change all around. Jackass 3D, which premiered in October of 2010, felt more based in comradery and friendship, in a way. Steve-O was newly sober and the feeling was more light-hearted (as much as a Jackass movie can be). A decade had past since the inception of Jackass, and you can feel it. There was a turning of the page type feeling that had me thinking, “Is this the end?”.

The Future of Jackass

I scoured the web year after year following Jackass 3D’s release for any glimmer of hope for another Jackass movie. So much has happened since that movie: I graduated high school and college, I met my longtime girlfriend, I moved to the City, and yet, I still yearn to see those loveable dirtbags kick each other in the groin. This franchise is so meaningful to me that despite all of life’s changes, I still find myself in my happy place when watching these movies.

Finally, after searching for years, it’s back. While originally set to release back in October 2020, the movie is now slated for February 4th of 2021. To say I am excited is an understatement. I cannot wait to watch this in theaters. It will be my first time watching an installment on release weekend in theaters. I’m old enough to see it without a parent now too.

Even though there are some notable members missing like Bam and Ryan, people seem happy to be back. There’s some new, young blood in the mix this time around to keep the old guys on their toes. I am unbelievably stoked to see Jackass Forever.

A Culture of Jackasses

This franchise holds such a special place in my heart. There’s no meaning for the stunts or pranks. Though, it’s more than stupidity to me. There’s a comfort in seeing this group laugh and support each other, no matter how meaningless the moment feels. It’s so real and honest that it feels like you can be part of their crew. That’s what I find comfort and enjoyment in. I’m not just laughing at their pain, I’m laughing right along with them. Growing up, they made it easy for me to laugh at myself and be an open and honest person about embarrassing things.

I don’t know what the future may bring. It feels like the end of the road for the old guys again and I’m not sure if things will continue with the new, younger cast. What I will do is cherish the newest film because it might be the last bit that’s left.

Don’t grow up and never be afraid to be a jackass.

Which Heroes Could Have Saved the Titanic?

Stoner Conversation Starter

I heard a conversation on this topic a couple of years ago on the Sirius Xm show The Bonfire. I not only found it hilarious, but it was genuinely interesting as well. Which fake character with super powers could save a historic disaster? I feel high just thinking of the question.

Sorry in advance for my lack of knowledge in this area. I enjoy it greatly, but I’m somewhat surface level when it comes to this stuff. Sorry if there’s some obscure “Titanic Man” I’ve never heard of. I will keep it at two characters per group for the sake of enjoyable reading. Remember: this doesn’t matter. Enjoy!

Hard to Believe

These superheroes, while beloved, have no chance at success, in my humble opinion.

Wolverine

While an amazing hero, Logan can only do so much on a body of water, in my opinion. An often overlooked power of his is the ability to speak to animals. I don’t believe it matters what their species is. With that in mind, the possibility of getting help from the sea life is a possibility. Though, the barrier of the water makes it impossible to communicate properly. The adamantium that has been such a benefit becomes a hindrance in this instance. While Wolverine is said to be invulnerable, drowning becomes his downfall here. Assuming he is too heavy to swim hundreds of miles, he will sink to the bottom and drown.

Batman

I love Batman but I don’t think there is much room for discussion here. If rich bachelor Bruce Wayne were on the Titanic back in 1912, there is no technology available for him to utilize (i.e. Batwing). His martial arts will do nothing to save the ship. Maybe a batarang through the ship can help end the suffering quicker. Yikes, that’s dark.

It’s Possible

It could happen. Under the best circumstances, these people could (maybe) get it done.

Hulk

Hulk has unbelievable strength. The ship saving ability that comes to mind is his jumping. With the understanding that he can jump 3 miles, and knowing that the ocean is around 2 to 2 1/2 miles deep on average, he could reach the bottom, jump out with the ship, and advance a mile at a time. I’m not so sure that’s a reliable technique. His often overlooked ability to breathe underwater seems like the superpower to save everyone. Coupled with his super strength, he could carry the boat on his back and swim to safety. That is, if he can remain Hulk for long enough. Using the MCU Hulk, he is in a permanent state of well-balance Hulk body with Bruce’s mind. In that case, I think he gets it done.

Spiderman

The loveable web crawler and my favorite superhero of all time stands a chance. We’ve already seen our most recent iteration of Peter Parker save a ferry (with a little assistance). Although he struggled, if he digs deep, he can come through and save the Titanic. According to my research, Peter’s webs are waterproof. With this in mind, it would be possible to stop the leaks and keep the ship afloat to at least buy time.

Easily

No problemo.

Superman

Obviously. Must I go on? I don’t think there is any debate about how powerful the most famous superhero of all time is. Superman’s character has even been criticized for his lack of weaknesses. There’s little this man cannot do. Within a minute he can carry the sinking ship to safety.

The Flash

Being able to run a mile in a fraction of a fraction of a second makes The Flash extremely useful in this situation. At his speed, running on water is no issue. The only issue I could see would be stopping while on water. I’m not so sure of his quickness underwater. At the very least he could place people on a flat patch of ice if it’s big enough. Given the Titanic took nearly three hours to sink, I think it’s a given that he saves the day.

What do you think?

Damn that was nerdy. Where’s SpikeTV’s manly programming when you need it?

Got any suggestions to add? Disagree? Let me know!

Ghost Hunting and Skepticism

Childhood Memories

I can’t deny it, there was once a time when I enjoyed watching people run around abandoned prisons with GoPro’s strapped to their heads and the camera capturing it all in night vision. Shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures were nighttime and Halloween staples for me and my sister growing up. Creepy noises accompanied by shrieks of terror set the mood perfectly. I was recently watching an episode this past weekend and I found myself feeling annoyed. This type of show that once invoked fear and excitement in me only made me try to disprove every bit of “evidence” they presented the viewer, and cringe a lot too.

Credit: South Park Studios

Question Everything

I am a perpetual skeptic. Sometimes it can get on the nerves of my loved ones, but I like who I am. I like that I don’t take everything at face value. From the time I was a young child in religion class or being taught day-to-day life by my parents, I can remember questioning things. Being an individual is an important part of my identity. I am a big proponent of not following a crowd. I don’t mean you have to stand out, I mean ask yourself why you do anything. “Am I trying to fit in and be a part of something or do I genuinely like what I’m doing? Am I thinking for myself?” Being that type of person, it can be frustrating when people are adamant about something that cannot be backed with scientific facts.

I understand the comfort and necessity of faith whether with religion or anything else. Believing in something giving you purpose makes life feel meaningful. This is the reason why I am not an Atheist. There is no proof of a higher being, but there is no way to disprove in either. My motto is to believe in the possibility of anything and don’t be afraid to have your mind changed.

Present Evidence

With most of these shows about ghost hunting, there is little attempt at explaining what may be causing creepy noises or cold spots. I often hear people say “there’s nothing that could possibly cause this, it’s evidence of paranormal activity.” This article from Newsweek talks about “paranormal investigators” who employ scientific methods when investigating haunting cases. Often, there are legitimate reasons, other than ghosts, for creepy things occurring in your home.

I guess this post is more about having facts or evidence to back up any arguments and beliefs you may have. In general, it feels like many people stick to beliefs they were taught because that is what was always told to them to be true. If you are one of those people, all I ask is for is to be open to other ideas and ways of thinking. More conversations and less disagreements sound more fun to me.

Entertainment Over Everything

While I can’t help but laugh at shows that push “real” ghost-hunting as the premise, I understand their purpose and can enjoy it as a novelty. I just wish they all went for a scientific approach. Paranormal shows and reality television in general feel stale at this point but they have solidified their place I don’t see them going away ever. I hope that someone out there is willing to be themselves and go against the grain to create something original and entertaining.

Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts, more people agree with you than you think.

The Magic of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

15 and Counting

Everyone’s second favorite show about nothing has premiered December 1st on FXX and Hulu. Season 15 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia began and I am finding myself laughing out loud as much as seasons past. While there are still episodes that miss the mark somewhat, no show can be perfect. When an episode does miss the mark, it’s usually because they are trying out new ideas, which, in my opinion, is forgivable. That is what keeps things fresh in a series that premiered over 15 years ago. Of course, they keep producing Lethal Weapon remakes, but it’s in their personalities to not learn from past mistakes or realize that ABSOLUTELY NOBODY wants to watch their films.

Their characters continue to devolve and stay as hardheaded and stuck in their beliefs as other seasons. It’s a big reason why I love the show so much and why other shows like Seinfeld and South Park are successful to this day. It is much more fun for shows to go against the traditional idea of character development and keep them unlikeable but somehow still loveable at the same time.

Credit: FX Networks

South Park and Sunny are similar in the way that they keep up with the times. They have mentions or entire episodes focused on topics that are in the news. Things like politics or Covid. I couldn’t help but wonder what they were up to during quarantine or how they handled the election (If you haven’t watched episode 1, it was exactly how you think they would). Much like Cartman, whenever the gang does something seemingly nice, there are usually some ulterior motives, and I love it.

Hate to Love Them

The characters in It’s Always Sunny are still unbearable narcissists that I, somehow, can’t get enough of. When I mentioned that there was no character development, that’s not entirely true. It’s more of a devolution. We definitely have gotten deeper understandings of each character throughout each season. During each episode you can see moments of Dee’s attempts at comedy, Dennis’ serial killer mentality, Charlie’s illiteracy, Mac’s sexuality, and Frank’s shady business moves. The fact that they are not forced and seem to fit in seamlessly into each episode keep things consistent and fun to watch.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is my favorite series of all time. It’s a show that continues to deliver a product that fans enjoy. While I don’t want it to ever end, I know that day will come, and sooner rather than later at this point. The show and it’s cast and characters will live with me forever. So I’m going to savor each and every season that we get from here on out.

In the meantime… Let’s pull up our bootstraps, oil up a couple of a***s, and do a little plowing of our own.

How I Came to Enjoy Gaming Again

A Thing of the Past

For the longest time, I felt a disconnect from things that, at one point in time, gave me the most joy. Watching movies and playing video games were the at the top of my list growing up. It felt like nearly every weekend of my childhood, my family and I were jumping in the car and heading to the nearest AMC theater to watch the latest releases. Sure there were quite a few duds in there, but they can’t all be winners, right? It was more about the experience. Viewing films like they’re supposed to be seen. On the big screen.

Blaming Covid

I’d believed that the closure of theaters took my passion away, but looking back throughout my college days I hardly went out to catch a movie at all. My experience with movies at that period in my life was being stoned and scrolling through Netflix for an hour before settling on an episode of The Office or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for the hundredth time. Not quite a cinephile, right? I think I was trying to live what I believed college and adult life to be: smoke weed, party, and go to class as a student and work and attend grad school as an adult. In the process of trying to blend in or be the person I believed I should be, I left behind some great pleasures of mine. Without any personal hobbies, what does life become? What is it all for if you are not enjoying little pleasures?

(Re)discovering the Love

I actually look forward to new releases again. Outlandish sounding games where you can be a cat roaming the streets or fight like a kung-fu master make me feel like an excited kid again. It’s a feeling I wasn’t sure would ever return, but am so glad it did. I watch trailers for films and can’t wait to reserve my seat, even if they end up being busts (cough Matrix Resurrections cough). But there can be films that fill your heart as well. Movies like Spiderman: No Way Home. That’s part of the fun.

I started to find a small piece of my personal meaning of life. It can be tough to not get lost as you grow up and enter adulthood. Hell, that’s the point of being out on your own. To learn about yourself. Once you realize what you truly enjoy, life becomes more fun. It’s less about showing others who you are and simply showing yourself.

Now grab that controller or bag of popcorn and get back to doing what you love!

%d bloggers like this: