Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

freddy got fingered

Tom Green spends much of the film with his mouth wide open and shouting dementedly.

Much funnier than Jennifer Aniston.

And Adam Sandler and Kevin James and Rob Schneider and the scores of other popular entertainers who permeate Hollywood. Of course, these people are generally not critics’ darlings, however few if any of their hackneyed, horribly successful films have received the reception that Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered did in 2001. Roger Ebert no less was one of its most savage attackers, writing emphatically how it didn’t ‘scrape the bottom of the barrel’ and that it didn’t even ‘deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels’.

It is indeed a very polarising film; I concede that it’s just an immature indulgence from Tom Green, but at least it’s not a load of recycled tedium. It’s quite remarkable that this film was financed at all, let alone by 20th Century Fox. What’s even more surprising is that this is very much Tom Green’s film, no executives interfered in the creative process; it is, for better or worse, the work of an auteur.

The film focuses on Gord Brody, a 28-year-old animator/slacker living in his parents’ basement. In the film’s opening moments, Gord is seen strewn across his bed completely supine as he narrates one of his draft animations like a blithering idiot. He soon gets a job in a Los Angeles cheese sandwich factory while he tries to sell his work to an important animation executive.

Green has an irreverent, dark and extreme sense of humour that he releases through his character Gord in a series of outrageous set pieces, most of which begin with or entirely comprise him shouting maniacally. It is Green’s unhinged lunacy that makes the film so… different. Highlights include him violently handbrake turning as he is bowled over by the sight of a horse’s penis, his horrifying misinterpretation of an advertising executive’s advice, his impersonation of an obnoxious stock broker during a dinner with his new girlfriend and the many altercations with his father Jim (Rip Torn).

Rip Torn’s performance is a highlight of the film, he is brilliantly cantankerous and frequently clashes with his son, he is the perfect adversary for Green’s proverbial slacker. He shows, quite understandably, no faith whatsoever in what he calls Gord’s ‘doodles’.

I’ve personally always had a fondness for Freddy Got Fingered. Even for its admirers, it can indeed be a tough, tiring watch from beginning to end, I think it largely depends on what mood you’re in. Once the viewer has endured what has become quite an infamous 1 hour and 23 minutes, it is a film that’s best revisited as separate puerile set pieces rather than as a full narrative.

But however you watch it, whether its by yourself with a cup of Earl Grey or with friends and much alcohol (a recommended method), it will ultimately always be funnier than Adam Sandler.

50%

Gummo (1997)

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Its aberrance is undeniably interesting.

Harmony Korine’s ‘Gummo’ is a very strange little film. Its documentary realism is rather captivating, the bizarre people we see appear to be completely real.

There’s no plot to speak of, its just an insight into underclass America. The filthy circumstances these people live in will make you cringe, as will their moronic forms of socialising, which includes cheered-on chair smashing.

The film is certainly laced with pretension, and there are pointless scenes that just reek of ‘art-house’. I can understand why some people wouldn’t like it; it’s non-linear, quirky narrative is very likely to polarise audiences. However, I found the veritable aberrance of the film undeniably interesting.

While ‘Gummo’ isn’t that good, its candid realism makes its uneventful narrative quite engrossing; it may well be the most peculiar film you ever see.

60%

Bad Taste (1987)

Bad Taste

Until Jackson’s follow-up Braindead, this may have been the goriest film ever made.

I love Bad Taste. I love that the film was clearly made for about $20 and that the cast consists of Peter Jackson’s mates. It’s also so enjoyable because the film demonstrates how talented a filmmaker Jackson is. For example, there is a scene early in the film where Derek (Peter Jackson) has a blood spattered fight with some alien invaders on a cliff side. Through raw talent and a massive amount of bravery, Jackson and his team achieves a tangible sense of acrophobia.

The story is that Earthlings are under threat from alien invaders who are endeavouring to fill a culinary gap in their intergalactic fast-food market – that of human flesh. The malicious extra-terrestrials don’t arouse suspicion as they assume human appearances.

Such a grave situation calls for the toughest team available – the Astro Investigation and Defence Service. This elite team comprises Derek (Peter Jackson), a perverse Kiwi with an insatiable bloodlust, Barry (Pete O’Hearn), a man who will use his .44 Magnum only when necessary and Frank (Mike Minett), Giles (Craig Smith) and Ozzy (Terry Potter), a trio of muscle car driving tough guys.

Jackson’s early films have a real talent for choreographing gore: there are heads being blown off, brains being eaten, arms being torn off, severed heads being drop kicked, seagulls being head butted, entire bodies being chain sawed and even sheep being detonated. The film is utterly drenched in an outrageous amount of viscera, but it is all of the slapstick variety with a strong Commonwealth lacing of black humour.

Though the film is by no means performance driven, there is a certain charm about the cast’s inexperience. Also, Peter Jackson is hilarious as the absurd, demented Derek, whose horrible shrill laugh and personal motto ‘I’m a Derek, Dereks don’t run!’ are particularly memorable.

The filming locations, such as the aforementioned cliff side, are all of outstanding natural beauty; Bad Taste is as much an advertisement for the country as Jackson’s later work would be.

As we all know, Jackson has since gone downhill, directing the poxy Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies – what a shame. However, he has recently expressed interest in making another horror film; I just hope he sticks to his roots with a shoestring budget and an immeasurable amount of corn syrup and gore.

81%

To those interested, below is a fascinating documentary on the making of ‘Bad Taste’. It’s remarkable what a talented, enthusiastic director with a shoestring budget can achieve.

This is part one of the documentary, parts 2 & 3 should be easy to find on the related video section at the end of the clip.