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    PCR #340  (Vol. 7, No. 39)  This edition is for the week of September 25--October 1, 2006.

The Tampa Film Network Meeting for Spetember  by Chris Woods
On The Set of "A Quiet Place"  by Nolan B. Canova
"The U.S. vs John Lennon"  by Mike Smith
Jackass a Success!  by Mark Terry
Halloween Monster Mayhem Contest....Is Bush Anti-American?  by Matt Drinnenberg
Ouch....Save Me A Tribble....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 39: "True Romance"  by Mike Smith
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My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours

Jackass a Success!

Saturday morning I went and saw the new Jackass Number Two. Most folks would get on here and give you a review. There would be a couple of spoilers and their opinion on the movie. Good or bad. That's cool and all, but I wanted to take it one step further.

It got me to thinking about the message board as of late and the levels of success in this industry. What truly does success mean?

One of the things I always like to do in my "Middle Toe" articles is mix in my industry experiences as it relates to the topic. In my ever on going learning process I realized stunts in films are an important aspect for the types of movies I want to be involved with.

Spring, 2003, at stunt school doing what is called a "suicide" highfall from 40 feet. The fear on my face is for real. You have a lot of time to think when you are that high up.
While I lived in Florida I took stunt classes with Jerry Alan and Kim Kahana (which his school is argued to be the only accredited stunt school in the world!) and learned some valuable lessons about this industry. Since I was lucky enough and had the opportunity to play college basketball I felt I was at least athletic enough to hang with some of the stunt guys. As an actor the reason I took the courses was to up my value as someone who could do his own stunts. More importantly as a producer I took the classes to see how stunts worked and learn safety on the set. My feeling has always been, how can I ask a stuntman to do a stunt that I wasn't willing to do myself?

During Kahana's stunt school I got my ass kicked for 5 weeks. Without question it was more difficult then playing basketball in college. The training was like a boot camp. It gave me a new found respect for the Doers in this business and the men and women who came before me.

I quickly started turning up my nose at supposed film makers who had little proven accredited education and claimed they came from the school of hard knocks. If only they knew what that meant. Guys that say they know films because they listened to a few DVD commentaries and can not materialize any work they have ever done. A lot of these people would be the first people to turn their noses up at a film like "Triple X." Quickly saying that "it sucked" and not realizing a man died for people's entertainment.

That's what we have been really talking about. Movies as entertainment or art. Regardless what the word is, if the film has reached you in some way and communicated to you then its done its job. As Paul Guzzo said, "Not every movie is meant to change the world." Also just because a movie is geared more as a product commercially doesn't automatically mean it sucks. Opinion states that, not fact. Guess what opinions are like? Also consider what is one man's trash is another man's treasure. See Andy's Oddservations article weekly for that proof.

During the time of my stunt training Jackass TV show was at its height of what I thought would be its commercial appeal and the first movie was coming out. The majority of the stunt guys that I trained with hated Jackass. The general feeling was the Jackass crew was extremely unsafe and in some ways made the art of stunt work into a joke.

I personally always loved the concept of Jackass and was in the theater the opening weekends for each movie.

Was there more to the reason that stunt people hated Jackass? Maybe there was some jealousy that a movie with very little format/budget could be made finically successful with silly stunts and locker room humor. Maybe its more than I can even understand at this point in my learning.

Now what do I mean by successful? It has to be eating at the some of the guys who frequent this site to see Jackass Number Two far and clear be the #1 movie this week. Almost tripling Jet Li's final film in its first weekend. I love it.

There is no question that this series is "successful" at earning money at the box office. (boxofficmojo.com)
1.)Jackass (2002) #1 opening weekend
Budget 5 Million
Domestic Gross over 64 Million

2.) Jackass Number Two (2006) ***first weekend only #1 opening weekend
Budget 11.5 Million
Opening weekend Gross 28.1 Million

Not to mention these films make a killing on the home video market.

I agree that earning money isn't the only way to measure success but it is a fact based way to measure a film comparatively to others. Since film is a form of communication this series "Jackass" communicates in its sophomoric way in spades. Their goal is to get a reaction out of you and make you have a good time at their expense. There is no question in my mind that a variety of audience could see this film and all get some type of reaction from it. So the Jackass crew is successful in this department as well. Is the movie good? That's for you to decide. Am I stupid for liking it? No. Not anymore than someone who loves Jean Luc Godard movies. Wink Wink

One last bit of consideration is that this (shot on video) MTV show has been successful in creating a lot of work and notoriety for the people involved with the show. In the case of Johnny Knoxville, a star was created. Like it or not.

All the time I hear in this industry the cliche' "big." He is a "big" producer. She is a "big" writer and so on. That doesn't mean anything. How about saying he is a successful producer or she is a successful writer? Success is based on your ability and satisfaction of reaching your own goals. Whatever they might be. It could be trying to change the world with film, making money, winning awards, expressing political views, or sticking your penis into a snakes cage to get a laugh. On a sad note, success is usually outlined by other people judging what you have done. Opinions. If you are truly happy with you work and at peace then you are successful.

***I would like to say congratulations to Chris Woods, Joe, The Guzzo's and the group who are working hard with limited prep time on the movie, "The Quiet Place."

Also have to say to my buddy Shelby, way to go for the Rhonda Storms documentary you have been putting together.

Two different groups of film makers that are getting things done and in my minds eye are successful!

"My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.