Wednesday, October 20, 2010


3rd NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

From NY Press by Armond White

In 2002, the New York Film Critics Circle came close to naming Jackass the year’s Best Non-Fiction Film until more traditional-minded members (after some audible grumbling) pushed the vote to the since-forgotten Standing in the Shadows of Motown. (Some might call that a cop-out.) Now, Jackass 3D continues the prankster series that began on MTV and, at last, has picked up a kind of honor: Jackass 3D held its premiere at the Museum of Modern Art.

Clearly, notions of respectability have changed since ’02, but so has the mainstream’s understanding of the Jackass phenomenon’s significance. Curator Josh Siegel put Jackass 3D in the same tradition being celebrated in MoMA’s series “More Cruel and Unusual Comedy: Social Commentary in the American Slapstick Film,” which showcases movies from the silent era that dared to crack the funny bone before tickling the mind. The Jackass crew—Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Wee Man and Steve O— perform Three Stooges-style slapstick with mischievous disregard for propriety and safety. Turning their bodies into pincushions, punching bags, toilets and vomit projectors, they publicize redneck recklessness as a form of foolish All- American freedom.

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