Tied to the release of Johnny Knoxville’s Action Point, Paramount has released Jackass: Complete Movie and TV Collection, an 11-disc set of previously released DVDs of their movies and TV shows that showcase the outrageous high jinks, stunts, and pranks performed by the Jackass cast, which besides Knoxville includes Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Steve-O, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Chris Pontius, Preston Lacy, Dave England, and Ehren McGhehey as well as a number of recurring folks behind the camera.
The Jackass fellas are like those troublesome kids who cause a commotion in the neighborhood with their crazy antics, pestering the old folks, riling up the dogs, and basically setting a bad example. Their sense of humor is so lowbrow they find it funny when they piss on each other or receive a kick in the balls (after the initial pain sensation). The bits grow bigger, wilder, and more dangerous as they strive to top what they’ve done before.
Jackass has its origins in skateboarding culture. Knoxville pitched an article to Big Brother, a skateboarding magazine, about testing self-defense equipment. Editor Jeff Tremaine, future co-creator/director of Jackass, suggested Knoxville videotape it, and the material appeared in Big Brother‘s movie Number 2 (1998). The two then teamed up with Bam Margera and his Camp Kill Yourself crew (CKY, also the acronym for Bam’s brother’s band) who were making skateboard/stunt videos. Other jackasses were brought in to round out the cast and with the help of Tremaine’s friend, director Spike Jonze, a show was created that found a home on MTV, which aired for three seasons and 25 episodes.
The TV portion is comprised of four discs: three volumes, with each showing a season’s highlights, and The Lost Tapes, a mixture of what didn’t make the cut on the volumes. Right from the get-go, Jackass put the audience on notice of what to expect with the first stunt being “Poo Cocktail” in which a Porta Potty is used by crew members and then turned upside down with Knoxville (and cameras) inside it. Other ridiculous material in the episodes include dangerous stunts, many of which are unsuccessfully executed and leave the participant hurt; silly pranks on the fellow cast mates, the crew, and the unsuspecting public.
Volume 1 contains commentary by the Jackass gang on the first 59 of the 106 bits. Volumes 2 and 3 and the only extras are cast bios, a photo gallery, and a quiz. It’s funny when one gets a question wrong. The Lost Tapes extras are “Hi, I’m Johnny Knoxville”, a collection of the show’s opening with Knoxville and others makes the introduction. The “Credits Sequence” edits together the show’s closing. Jackassworld.com presents four bits that from their website.
The movie portion is comprised of seven discs. Without the restrictions of television standards, Jackass gets bigger, wilder, and grosser. They made three theatrical movies (Jackass: The Movie; Jackass Number Two, which I previously reviewed, and Jackass 3D, presented here in 2D). Because they had so much material during production, they made two direct-to-DVD movies (Jackass 2.5 and Jackass 3.5).
Jackass comes with a commentary by director Tremaine, cinematographer, Dmitry Elashkevich, and knoxville, and one by the cast. There is “The Making of the Jackass: The Movie” and Outtakes. Jackass Number Two comes with a commentary by the cast, Tremaine, and Elashkevich; “The Making of Jackass Number Two;” seven Unrated Additional Segments, all involving male nudity or facsimiles thereof; Deleted Scenes; 16 Additional Segments; Outtakes; “Karazy” music video from Pontius’ band, a trailer, VMA spots, and photo gallery. Jackass 2.5 comes with “Making of Jackass 2.5” and “Making of Jackass the Game” with the gang doing some motion-capture work.
Jackass 3 offers the Theatrical and the six-minute-longer Director’s Cut. In addition to 3D, some of the sequences were shot with Phantom cameras that shoot 1,000 frames a second, showing the full damage. The picture quality of the film is improved over the previous releases. There is also “The Making of Jackass 3D,” Outtakes, and Deleted Scenes. Jackass 3.5 includes “Jackass: the Beginning,” which tells the story of the group; eleven Deleted Scenes, and the Jackass 3D European press tour.
Bad Grandpa sees Knoxville venture out on his own, like a musician putting out a solo album. Cutting out the stunts, Bad Grandpa is a prank movie like Borat with Knoxville as his old man character Irving Zisman in a story about taking his grandson on a road trip. The movie presents shocking situations with an old man and a kid and the way the public reacts, like when both are drinking beer in a park. There are no extras but Bad Grandpa .5 is basically a feature-length making-of documentary.
Jackass is not for the faint of heart. The pranks and stunts are silly and cringe worthy, especially when the latter fail, and they make use of quite a lot of bodily fluids and excretions. I could do without them as the vomiting, nose-picking, and other evacuations are extremely unappealing to witness. Watching the show is a challenge in and of itself, but it’s hard not to laugh at the sheer idiocy and recklessness on display. Jackass: Complete Movie and TV Collection is a must-own for fans and thrill-seekers.