Tag Archives: Johnny Knoxville

Forever Is a Long Time

Jackass Forever

by George Wolf



How does that hit you? Like a promise, or a threat?

Your answer is really all you’ll need to decide whether this sixth big screen installment of the Jackass franchise is for you.

After opening with a fairly inspired monster movie spoof that features a penis, Johnny Knoxville, his crew (Steve-O, Wee Man, Chris, Jeff, etc.) and celebrity guests (Machine Gun Kelly, Eric Andre, Tony Hawk) settle into what they do best: a parade of pranks, stunts, and hidden camera gags that also frequently involve the male nether regions and/or bodily fluids from both man and beast.

And oh, yes, some of their antics go straight to the funny bone.

One of the best, entitled Silence of the Lambs, throws some dudes into a pitch dark room with a venomous snake while giving us the Buffalo-Bill-with-heat-vision-goggle-eye view of how they react.

Hey is that a naked guy tucking his sack back? Maybe.

Other segments, like Knoxville adopting his Bad Grandpa makeup to check out a big sale on furniture, seem to wrap up just when you want them to amp up. The hits and the misses keep coming, equally likely to leave you laughing, wincing, or checking your watch.

But you can’t deny the bonds of friendship are still strong among these idiots, and after twenty-some odd years of insanity, a distinct whiff of sentimentality is in the air.

Or maybe that’s the dump someone just took in a store showroom. Hard to tell.

Shout at the Devil

We Summon the Darkness

by Hope Madden

The year was 1988, and as far as you know, metal bands shouted “hail Satan” and evangelicals took to the airwaves warning their flocks about cults driven to spill virtuous blood.

Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) jumps in the way back machine to road trip with three besties headed to a rock show. Alexis (Alexandra Daddario), Val (Maddie Hasson) and Bev (Amy Forsyth) are rockin’ like Dokken with those bare midriff black tees and upside down cross dangles, but something’s amiss.

For one thing, their hair is not nearly obnoxious enough. No way they’re en route to a rock concert in ’88. No one’s hair even grazes the car ceiling.

Also, that trio of dudes they’re flirting with (at least one of them is mulleted, so there is a whiff of authenticity) is clearly beneath them. Plus, with this nationwide ritualistic Satanic killing spree going on…

Here’s the thing, though. I was actually alive in rural Ohio in the late Eighties, and there honestly were people—like, people in authority—who believed our corn fields were lousy with covens. They believed metal music transmitted the words of the dark lord to the eager ears of teens.

It wasn’t true. It’s just that all rock bands in 1988 sucked.

Nonetheless, Meyers creates a nearly believable atmosphere for his spare, occasionally comical dive into Ozzy-inspires Satanism.

Hasson charms as the hot friend with a weak bladder. While the banter never feels quite fresh enough to be improvisational, the dialog among the three girls is random, comfortable fun.

Daddario and Hasson share a silly chemistry that keeps scenes bright and engaging, even when the slight plot begins to wear through.

In its best moments, We Summon the Darkness conjures Kevin Smith’s Red State (an underseen and under-appreciated horror gem). Johnny Knoxville plays intriguingly against type as the Midwestern pastor warning youngsters about the lures of the devil, and Daddario has enough screen presence to anchor the movie.

There’s just not a lot to see here. Pretty girls. Terrible music. Worse clothes. Religious zealots. Backwards thinking. Friends who drive you crazy on a road trip because they have to stop every ten minutes to pee.

Yes, that does sound like 1988 to me, actually. It’s just too bad Meyers couldn’t deliver the kind of inspired, memorable scares born of high school relationships, weirdos and misfits he shared in My Friend Dahmer. Instead the camaraderie and atmosphere become entertaining distractions from a forgettable story.

Grandpa’s Off His Meds Again!


by Hope Madden


If you can look past the entire scenes that Bad Grandpa lifts from Borat, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and Little Miss Sunshine, you might see two things:   1) A lot of Columbus, Ohio  2) A decent little comedy.

A Jackass production, the film operates Borat-style, as “grandpa” has to drive cross-country to deliver his grandson to a sketchy father. The two stop periodically along the way to convince polite Midwesterners, such as the kindly folks at my neighborhood diner Paul’s 5th Avenue (don’t you dare call it Paul’s Pantry!) that both man and boy are behaving very badly.

There are some really inspired moments, as well as a lot of asinine entertainment. Part of what makes the film work as well as it does is the obvious delight Johnny Knoxville, playing Grandpa Irving, takes in his young co-star Jackson Nicoll. And why not? Nicoll is genuinely delightful.

The kid’s hilarious – a deadpan genius – and Knoxville makes excellent use of his wee accomplice as well as some pretty effective old man make up to prank the unsuspecting grocery clerk, stripper, biker, mover, mourner, wedding guest, and Grandview Heights restaurant patron.

The film’s antics are mild when compared to the rest of the esteemed Jackass canon, and connecting them with a narrative sometimes works but often doesn’t. The same can be said for the string of hanging-testicle sight gags.

Bad Grandpa often feels forced and a bit derivative, but when it hits, it’s hilarious and there’s no denying the joyous chemistry of the two leads. Their giddy charisma is infectious, and it makes for a shamefully enjoyable waste of 90 minutes. (But be sure to waste the full 90 as the outtakes and behind-the-scenes shots are characteristically amusing.)