Just because you saw Jackass 3D (and I know many of you did), and just because you might have even enjoyed parts of Jackass 3D (as I know many of you did), it doesn’t mean you have to be happy about the film opening at number one this weekend with a whopping — a whopping — $50 million. In fact, it had the biggest Friday in October of all time.
The gross, I suspect, puts many of you in a philosophical pickle: You saw Jackass 3D, it made $50 million, and it will undoubtedly spawn another sequel, not to mention trickle down into the rest of the multiplex offerings. You spoke loud and clear on this: You want more stupidity. You’re cool with the inevitable Idiocracization of Hollywood. And your best defense? Not every film needs to be like Citizen Kane. Sometimes, I just want to turn my brain off.
I hear you. Jackass is different, right? Why? Because it doesn’t aspire to more? Because it’s comfortable being moronic? Because their laughter is infectious? Fine. That’s cool.
Unless you can make the distinction between a movie like this and Meet the Fockers or Norbit — and I can’t; I’ve wracked my brain trying to make an honest distinction — then you have lost the moral high ground. It’s hard to complain about cultural erosion if you spent $10 to watch a man launch a turd out of his ass. You can criticize Katherine Heigl movies, and Rob Schneider movies, and Adam Sandler movies, but that criticism will feel somehow empty after you applaud a pig rooting around in an obese man’s anus for an apple.
Mind you, I’m not passing judgment. I feel like I’m an intelligent-ish person, and I liked the first Jackass, and I thought the second was OK. The third one — I laughed a couple of times, but 80 percent of it, I wish I could unsee. I feel guilty about contributing money to its overall gross. It made me sad. When a man began batting a ping pong ball with his penis, I felt that Mike Judge’s Idiocracy had been fulfilled. And what was even sadder about that was the fact that Mike Judge — whose Beavis and Butthead introduced the movie — contributed to it. So, if you’re feeling tortured by your own hypocrisy, imagine how Mike Judge must feel.
At least you’re in good company.
Red debuted at number two, with a strong $22.5 million. We held the review until tomorrow to give TK a chance to review it. Watching Helen Mirren shoot a machine gun gives him a lot of pleasure. The Social Network came in third, Secretariat held well (dropping only 25 percent) to come in fourth, and Life As We Know It finished at number five.