Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jackass: The Online Movie (Movie?) (Wait what?)

I would like to start this by saying I loved both Jackass and Jackass: Number Two. I even thought there was a lot to discuss about it - if it was art, if it was a movie, why critics praise it as a film but it is dismissed as garbage as television.

But this week it was announced that.... (from (i got the link from drudge) (i am honestly ashamed of all the links that got me here).....

In a radical departure from the traditional movie business model, Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment and MTV New Media are co-producing "Jackass 2.5," a sequel to its two-time boxoffice hit that will skip multiplexes entirely. Instead, "2.5" will be offered online for free over a two-week span beginning Dec. 19 courtesy of Blockbuster and its new online property Movielink, which will exclusively host the 64-minute film during that period. The movie will be made available at

So Jackass 2.5 will be the first online movie. Let us pontificate on this.

First off, let's consider the business meeting that pitched this idea.

"Why don't we send over those idiot kids to do their dumb stunts and make themselves look like birdbrains for another hour and we'll put it online! As long as those morons don't kill themselves we'll have another hit! And if those dopey imbeciles do, well, then screw those nincompoops!"

This event, sure, is a landmark moment in film distribution. But, c'mon Paramount, first off, we see Jackassian clips all the time on Youtube - you are basically splicing 64 minutes of them together.

Sure, there is a Jackaesthetic that will thread the movie together (my favorite theme is vomiting cameramen). But how will this Jackaesthetic be perceived when it is watched over the same medium as other amateur films [ed. note" films!?!? I guess I must?], some which we surely be better than the Jackass, umm, performance pieces. Will Jackass get the same respect as a film, which it most certainly did in its last outing, when distributed over the internet?*

My guess is no - I think the charm of Jackass was seeing it in celluloid. The elevation of the material emboldens the choices of the studio and the, uhh, writers, directors, and actors. Wow.

A landmark moment sure. I believe that Jackass and Jackass: Number Two are movies. But what elevates, what is essentially a longer, unrated t.v. episode, to that status?

Sorry to dismiss Jackass, but I believe the real landmark moment will be when major studio distributes a studio picture online. Something written, something directed, something acted. Unfortunately, this indicates to me that I do feel a distinction of high and low art.

"You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for leeches placed on my EYEBALL."

*Metacritic Score for Jackass: Number 2 - 66.... and according to New York Times reviewer Nathan Lee... "Debased, infantile and reckless in the extreme, this compendium of body bravado and malfunction makes for some of the most fearless, liberated and cathartic comedy in modern movies."

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