Happy New Month, folks, and happy 3/4 of a birthday to me. What got me thinking about this is a mystery to me, but it's something that everyone should be somewhat well-versed in. There are days when you have time off and you want to watch a good movie, but then paying attention to the movie turns into more of an ordeal than whatever it is you have a day off from. I know the feeling well, and it's been the downfall of many a movie-watching venture in my day (such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, of which I own my copy and someone else's and still have never sat through the whole thing).
So it's very important, for those days when your brain is only functioning at about 25-50%, to have a backlog of really stupid movies that you can indulge in. They won't hurt your brain, they won't lose your attention, and some of them are extremely entertaining. Though I must caution you that without smoking at least a little pot before watching, they may not quite have the desired effect. Here are a few of my own favorites.
#5: Not Another Teen Movie. I was first a party to this one during Team Sunday, a weekly ritual in my fraternity house during which seven or eight people would all buck up to buy a bag of pot, smoke the whole thing together in one sitting, and watch something funny on TV, usually Adult Swim or something similar. As is the case with the Scary Movie films, and Epic Movie, and Date Movie, and whatever else, this film makes references to as many popular movies that fall into the category which it happens to be ripping on (in this case, teen movies), and does so in hilarious, ridiculous fashion.
Absolutely everything in this movie is exaggerated to the hilt, with a football coach who spouts the word 'goddammit' three times per sentence, an "ugly girl" who's actually just a really hot girl disguised beneath glasses and a ponytail, and a "token black guy" who literally kicks another black guy out of a party because he's supposed to be the only black guy there. My first time watching this movie saw me laughing more than I'd laughed in a good while. But I reiterate, this one especially needs an accompanying bag of weed, or else it might be a little over the top.
4: Pootie Tang. Welcome to the first time I saw Wanda Sykes that didn't make me want to shoot her in the face. This one was a real surprise, which my current roommates Ian and Dave popped in for me during college, before I'd moved in with them. It tells the story of a boy whose romantic exploits with women began at a very young age, as evidenced by the grown woman throwing his tricycle out of her window in a fit of emotion. Pootie Tang is somewhat of a real-life superhero, who walks among us and speaks his own language ("Baby, I'm gonna sine your pitty on the runny kine"), but serves as the ideal role model for kids for some reason, and kicks people's asses with his magical belt. The story is about how his love for skanks got him into quite a pickle, and he has to crawl his way back to popular credibility. Very funny, with lots of good catch phrases ("Wa-da-tah").
Again, do not watch this movie sober, or you'll probably fucking hate it.
3. Idiocracy. This one came out relatively recently, and I discovered it on Cinemax one evening at home. It's a Mike Judge movie, whose hilarious career has included Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill and Office Space, all winners in my book. This film, which stars Luke Wilson and that stupid goddamn Maya Rudolph from SNL (whose presence was similar to Wanda Sykes in Pootie Tang - surprisingly tolerable) as two test subjects for an Army experiment. These two present-day saps are loaded up into cryogenic freezing pods for what was supposed to be a year, but due to an embarrassing pimping scandal, end up frozen for a full 500 years. And while they're frozen, human civilization becomes overwhelmed by rednecks and white trash who reproduce at frightening rates, driving down the average IQ further and further until, by the year 2505, the world is populated entirely by idiots.
This one has been on On Demand for a few weeks now, and I think I've been a party to it about ten times. Trust me, it's getting a little stale. But the first several times watching provided quite a bucketful of laughs, even though I wouldn't be surprised if the movie's predictions for our future were dead on. I heard that one of the most popular new names for American girls (this is no lie) is Nevaeh, which is the word "heaven" spelled backwards. If there are assholes doing that kind of shit today, then having names like Tylenol and Velveeta 500 years from now doesn't sound so far-fetched.
*Side note: Please join me in my quest to tell every Nevaeh I ever meet that their name is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
2. Dirty Work. Norm Macdonald at his finest, and Artie Lange at his usual, in one of the funniest, most poorly-acted movies I know. These two are best friends, as they've been since they were kids, and they "don't take no crap from nobody," as central-character Pops remarks. They've always had clever ways of getting back at people for messing with them, and when Pops needs $50K for a heart transplant, they turn their vengeance skills into a business in order to save his life.
Shit, I just pretty much told you the whole movie. But look for Norm Macdonald's steel-toed wit to spruce up many an otherwise normal scene, especially his reaction to treatment from fellow prisoners during a brief visit to jail. And don't miss the hilarious screaming and sound effects during the fish-spreading scene.
1. Dumb and Dumber. You might have started reading this list and thought, "What a stupid article. I bet you he puts Dumb and Dumber as #1." Well, fuck you, you were right. But while this may be a common, almost cliched choice for tops in this category, I would argue first: Fuck you, I've never heard of a top 5 dumb movies list before, and second: This is almost too brilliant of a movie to even allow on this list. The only reason I'm letting myself get away with it is that the focus of the movie is on stupidity itself, making it that much more appropriate.
This movie helped to launch the career of one of Hollywood's biggest comedy stars in Jim Carrey, and I would imagine didn't hurt Jeff Daniels's career. Jim Carrey's character was maniacally funny in this film, if not one of the funniest in any movie. The movie produced an endless array of catch phrases, some of which I employ every single day of my life ("There ya go," or "Big Gulps, eh? All riiiight," come to mind). And it has been adequately accessible to me throughout my life, whether loving every minute of it as an 11-year-old, or doing the same now at 23.
For this quality, Dumb and Dumber lands among the greatest comedies of all time in my book, and certainly of the 1990's. Whether it can stand up to smarter comedies like The Big Lebowski, has yet to be debated here - but we'll save that for another day. For now, I have a whole day off today, so I'm off to enjoy it.