Quick Thoughts: The Jackass Series

More stunts, skits and stupidity.



In the previous post, we looked at the first Jackass movie in respect to our draw to it on a wide scale. Want I to quickly pick up on in this post is the core theme that runs throughout this entire series and an awful lot of films like it: self-destruction. This theme is the crux of a much more acute reason as to why people like this movie. As I alluded to in the previous post, understanding the draw to this film isn’t hard if you’ve ever been a teenager. This allusion was there to imply that this movie resonates with us on a destructively pubescent level. I always assume that almost every single person has stories of how stupid they were as a teenager. Whether it be setting fires, breaking windows, throwing shit at cars, destroying things for no reason or screwing with animals, we all did stupid things – and we did them out of boredom. When we reflect on the stupid shit we’ve done (sometimes still do) we inherently see a huge risk or danger that we put ourselves in. If it’s not ourselves we put in danger by jumping off of things, climbing across high structures or blowing things up, it’s certainly others when we throw stones, break windows or make dares. It’s because of boredom that we’d risk so much – as our mothers would often say, it’d be breaking our necks, losing an eye or snapping a bone. We did these things nonetheless–and out of a complete disrespect for others and ourselves. Looking past the vicarious elements of Jackass, this is why these movies appeal to us so much. They embody this selfish and disrespectful flippancy that completely disregards safety and sense. I believe that this is the core reason why anyone would hate these films. But, at the same time, it’s clearly the reason why we, on an individual level, are drawn to them. There is something twisted and malicious in all of us, especially in young boys, it must be said, that has an affinity to pain in all its forms. As many would say, this has a lot to do with rebellion; we hurt ourselves and others because we have no other idea of how to grow away from people and into ourselves. There is also an added element of existential friction in these films though. This is something that has been inadvertently picked up on quite a lot on the blog. In talking about art as communication, art as a painful endeavor, a Burden Of Dreams needing a Heart Of Darkness, there has been this constant subliminal suggestion that people find worth in pain and hardship. We don’t just see this in movies, but in all aspects of life. We respect those that ‘work hard’ that walk the proverbial path less travelled by. Why? It seems that there is something of a lesson demonstrated by our stupidly destructive teenage years. They show us that we find worth in the things that scare us, because these are the things that, in short, let us know we’re alive. This echoes through from idiotic, adrenaline-surge inducing stunts to the simple things in life. From making hard decisions in work to putting in that little bit more effort in our relationships, there lies a core lesson taught by a stupid childhood: the tough, dangerous and nonsensical things in life are the ones that pay off, that make us feel good. I think that explains our draw to this film, our ability to laugh at people being hurt whilst simultaneously respecting them. A lot of what we do in life is there to generate an existential friction that tells others and ourselves that we exist, that we’re doing something, that we’re causal bodies in this world – and we’re rewarded for this by the chemical factory that is our bodies.

So, the final aphorism I’ll leave you with is: simply surviving seems to be the mere continuation of life whilst living is almost dying, is tempting death, is skating that painful boundary between being here and about to leave – all so we can retain perspective and a sense of control over where we are in this mess. Such seems to be the near-pretentious take away of this idiotic series of films.



Previous post:

Jackass: The Movie – Idiocy

Next post:

The Aristocats – Where Music Takes You

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