11 Things You Need To Know About "Jackass Forever"

MTV's gross-out kings return to the big-screen.
Johnny Knoxville does magic tricks for a bull
Johnny Knoxville performing magic tricks for a bull.

Fans of the 2000’s MTV hit, Jackass, which ran as a show for three seasons on the network before making the jump to the big screen, can rejoice -- it’s been announced a fourth film, “Jackass Forever,” will premier in theaters October 22, 2021.
Produced by MTV Films, Gorilla Flicks and Dickhouse, early photos from the film show a noticeably greyer and more mature look from the motley crew. But as more information about the film comes out, it becomes apparent that their looks are the only things that have matured.
As someone who grew up too young to be allowed to watch the show when it debuted, I’m excited to see a Jackass film in theaters. Because it’s been a few years since the last installment I thought I would look into the past and present of the franchise.
Here’s are few unknown facts about the movie “Jackass Forever”.

It’s been 11 long years since the last installment of the franchise, “Jackass 3D,” hit the big screen. This, along with the tragic death of core cast member, Ryan Dunn, in 2011, led many to believe that the Jackass squad was finished.
Dunn sadly passed away at age 34 on June 20, 2011, when his 2007 Porsche went off the road in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania, and crashed. Dunn’s blood alcohol level was .196, almost 2.5 times the legal limit in the state of Pennsylvania and he was going 130 mph when he crashed.
Zachary Snyder, a Jackass collaborator, and Navy seal, also passed away in the crash, aged 30. Both Dunn and Snyder were beloved by fans and cast members alike.
But despite this tragic loss, they’ve been steadily working on a variety of projects in the years since the last film and seem just as busy as when they first rose to prominence in the early 2000s as a rag-tag troop of skateboarders and other assorted misfits.

Most recently, the gang took over Discovery Channel’s Shark Week where a new cast member, pro surfer Sean McInerny, was bitten by a shark. The incident marked the first time in Shark Week’s 33-year history that a human was bitten. McInerny is expected to make a full recovery.  
It should be noted that the shark attack occurred while McInerny was dressed as Fonzie attempting to recreate the infamous Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skies. The reference to Happy Days elevates the unquestionably idiotic stunt to something so ridiculous that it almost makes it seem intelligent. Almost.
Add to that the fact that the phrase “jumping the shark” is a cultural metaphor for something being past its prime – something surely not lost on the Jackass crew who, despite being known for their gross-out humor, are often more clever than they might want to lead on.
Previously, Steve-O had been bitten by a Nurse Shark while filming the first season of Jackass.

According to director Jeff Tremaine, who created the series in 2000 alongside star Johnny Knoxville and Academy Award-winning videographer, Spike Jonze, the idea of Jackass being considered art is, in his words, “ridiculous.”
When the series premiered, it was not well received by critics. I remember me and my friend’s parents banned us from watching the show or the movies (which didn’t stop us from watching it). Joseph Lieberman and other politicians at the time tried to get it taken off the air to keep kids from imitating stunts on the show.
Regardless, their third full-length feature film, “Jackass 3D,” received a prestigious screening at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Tremaine’s attitude is ironically shared by the very same parents of the early 2000s who shielded their kids from the ultra-low-budget gross-out hit show.

But despite this unsophisticated reputation, there’s something compelling about the levels of creativity displayed by the franchise over the years. In this modern era where more kids aspire to be controversial YouTubers than TV stars, their surrealist street shenanigans paint the original Jackass crew as the Beatles of guerilla street pranks.
Prior to creating Jackass along with Knoxville and Jonze, Tremaine had worked as an editor at the taboo shattering skateboard magazine, “Big Brother” which also featured Knoxville and future Jackass stars Steve-O and Chris Pontius.

Despite being a skateboard magazine, the publication featured deliberately offensive content that hinted at the future Jackass style. Maybe most importantly, Big Brother made four films that featured cutting-edge street skating alongside pranks and skits.
Notably, one skit in the second Big Brother movie featured Knoxville testing self-defense equipment on himself such as a taser, pepper spray, and a bulletproof vest. And how else do you test a bulletproof vest? By shooting yourself in the chest of course.
Despite not being a skateboarder, the stunt launched Knoxville as a bona fide celebrity in the skateboarding world. This clip is available in the Big Brother documentary “Dumb,” which is streaming on Hulu and is like watching an early version of the Jackass style take shape.

Unfortunately, one original member from the iconic franchise will reportedly not be appearing in the upcoming film.
Despite having shot many scenes for the film, Bam Margera will not appear in this installment due to personal issues with director Tremaine. Margera made several unhinged posts on social media including explicit threats made to Tremaine’s family.
The Jackass director has filed for a restraining order against Margera in court. Margera has in turn sued the director for stealing his intellectual property. According to the jilted Margera, Knoxville and Tremaine plotted to remove him from the film to save money because he reportedly is contracted to collect a 5-million-dollar checks with each installment of the Jackass film franchise.
Margera was not only an original member of the cast but a creator who had provided the early TV version of Jackass with a significant amount of footage he had already shot with his own crew CKY.

This method of using film already shot by members of the cast had the benefit of not only cutting down filming costs but reportedly helped keeps insurance premiums for the showdown. After all, if it’s already filmed and the performer is ok, there’s nothing to insure.
The fact that Bam is having so many personal issues is troubling. Growing up, my friends and I identified more with him than the rest of the crew because he was from Pennsylvania, he liked the best music, and he and his friends just seemed like they were normal people you would see in Northeast Ohio.
The idea to merge CKY and Big Brother was Tremaine’s, offering Margera a partnership of sorts that has sadly become strained. Hopefully, Margera can overcome his substance abuse and mental health issues. Maybe friend and fellow cast member, Steve-O, who is now 13 years sober, can give him some help.

Jackass and its various MTV spinoffs including “Wildboyz” and “Viva La Bam” served as an entry point in the early 2000s for many young people who later got into making content. Not only the YouTubers who most obviously pinch their style but people who got into skating, filmmaking, or music because of the crew.
The franchise served as an ambassador to alternative culture and the show’s breakout success was the trojan horse that got underground punk rock bands and skateboarding onto MTV and in front of the eyes of impressionable young creators.

Although many modern content creators are direct descendants of MTV’S gross-out kings, a few things separate the original Jackasses from today’s YouTubers.
In the current climate, content creators will often prey on unsuspecting people, but the Jackass crew are always deliberate about not involving civilians and directing all meanness and potential harm towards each other.
It’s a subtle difference but one that elevates the franchise above simply being mean to strangers and filming it.
Members of the general public who just happened to be there when the show was filming were treated to borderline performance art pieces such as Preston Lacy, an extremely heavy-set man, walking into a porta-potty and watching Acuna, a little person, walk out of the confined space dressed in the same clothes, seemingly transformed.
It is this sense of creativity and a telepathic ability to write stunts that will captivate viewers' imaginations that set Jackass apart from its seas of imitators. Sadly, it seems many in the current generation of YouTubers missed the memo about keeping the unsuspecting public out of the line of fire.
So, if we have Jackass to thank for giving us this current crop of insensitive, crass, and oftentimes downright mean YouTube stars, shouldn’t we be hounding them down with pitchforks and torches like Frankenstein’s monster?
Holding them accountable makes sense until you begin peeling back the layers and realize that the original gross-out crew didn’t come out of anywhere and built on a lineage that stretches back decades.

The show’s breakout star, Knoxville, lists Bugs Bunny and Buster Keaton as his main influences.
Watching old clips on YouTube of Buster Keaton defying death by surfing on the front of a train (an act revitalized by the boys with a car substituting the train) makes you think that Keaton would have made a great addition to the Jackass gang. As for Bugs Bunny, many of Knoxville’s gags seem like they were straight out of a cartoon.

To be fair, drawing influence from Buster Keaton and other classic Hollywood characters doesn’t make it art. But if you’re the kind of person who feels like the franchise is beneath you, is too gross or lowbrow for you, the truth is that the heart Jackass is friendship.
Just watch any of their media and you can tell they are not only seriously creative but also have an authentic camaraderie. They might mess with each other and laugh at each other’s pain, but you can tell they are genuinely close in a way only jumping onto a shark together can make people close.
And in an era where many people are feeling isolated and lonely even as COVID lockdown restrictions ease, the Jackass gang are back to offer up their pain as entertainment and to hopefully spread some joy in a world that is sorely lacking in it. Maybe the real Jackasses were the friends we made along the way.

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