"It was a different time then."
In pre-9/11 2001, it was truly a different time for pop culture. We were hanging by a moment, getting touched by drops of Jupiter in our figurative hair. Fantasy was making a comeback, E! Entertainment Television anchors were creepily pontificating the love lives and matching denim fashion choices of Justin and Britney every damn day. Things were so much easier then.
Along with fantasy the likes of Shrek, Harry, and Gandolf, there was another genre of film that was extremely popular at the time: dumb gross-out comedy with a heart of gold. These films, usually modeled after the Farrelly Brothers' super-successful There's Something About Mary, typically involved a male dolt entranced by a lovely lass. In between scenes of gross stuff like, say, eating a cancerous testicle (Tomcats) or a character getting their hand stuck up a cow's butt (Say It Isn't So) there usually was a storyline involving a guy in love or a fractured relationship. In the end, everyone was happy and smiling. In its own way, it was a perfect date movie for guys and gals. The ladies stayed for the half-hearted love story while the guys stayed for the gross-out gags. I'm guessing this is where Freddy Got Fingered came into play — a film that premiered Fri. April 20, 2001.
Holy crap it just occurred to me that this film will turn 17 years old this Friday. Where does the time go? If Freddy Got Fingered was a living thing, it'd be allowed to drive a car and see other R-rated movies like itself.
Personally, I was in the middle of a Troma Pictures high. If it wasn't an aggressively ugly, anti-social movie involving surf nazis and or toxic avengers produced by the New York-based independent film company, I wasn't inclined to check it out. I think this reverse film snobbery is what drove me to Tom Green's film. Somehow, some way I was able to find a soul down as hell to see this film with me, my friend Eric. It was April 21st, a Saturday afternoon at the Regal Cinemas Charles Towne Square 18. We entered with our diabetes-worthy sized drinks and overly "buttered" popcorn along with approximately 12 other folks. We sat in the center seats watching trailers for such memorable films like Pearl Harbor, Angel Eyes, and the other film that premiered that weekend, Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles. Before too long, we were watching Regal's rollercoaster policy trailer (needless side note — this was back when Pepsi still had a soda contract with Regal).
- Courtesy Regency Enterprises
- At its core, Freddy Got Fingered feels like Tom Green's middle finger to film conventions, mainstream comedy structure, and Hollywood in general.
After the 20th Century Fox logo disappears, we hear Tom Green narrate his X-Ray Cat drawings then we are treated to a skateboarding-through-the-mall segment with Sex Pistol's "Problems" blaring behind it. Soon thereafter we meet Green's character, Gord and other characters, like his violently perpetually angry dad (Rip Torn) and his BJ obsessed wheelchair-bound girlfriend (Marisa Coughlan), who are constantly wrapped in all of his nonsensical psychotic escapades while he attempts to leave his job at a cheese sandwich factory to become a cartoonist. Gord is an aggressively stupid selfish psycho who creates havoc and ruins lives. The film is packed with forced sentimentality, comically large plot holes, and way-too-on-the-nose dialogue (re: Stop it! This is a fancy restaurant!).
At its core, Freddy Got Fingered feels like Tom Green's middle finger to film conventions, mainstream comedy structure, and Hollywood in general. How else do you explain scenes like the shockingly violent running gag involving mishaps that continuously befall a 10-year-old boy, our main character holding a meat log yelling "Ding Dong!", an elephant ejaculating all over the film's patriarch, and so many other weird touches. It all seems like a litmus test not only for an audience's endurance but to see what Green could get past the MPAA and Fox executives — a large scale version of the pranks Green practiced on his shows.
I don't think it's over-intellectualization or insulting to call Freddy Got Fingered, like a lot of Troma's films, an intentionally revolting, obnoxious, uncomfortable film made for a small percentage of jagoffs who love geek shows and celluloid trainwrecks. I think it's fair to say me and Eric were those jagoffs that day. Have you ever seen a person walk out of a theater? By the time a crowd member held up a "When Is This Fucking Movie Going To End?" sign, the theater was completely empty except for the two stupid assholes in the center seats. I guess on some abstract metacommentary level, we enjoyed the film's transgressive ugliness, its surrealist deconstruction, and its overall lack of logic. Or maybe we're just as messed up as Tom Green.
Having recently revisited the film, I still feel it exists on some sort of punk rock level of anti-filmmaking. I still laughed at some of the film's brazenness. Someone, unintentionally I'm guessing, gave Tom Green seven million dollars to pull a prank meant to rival anything Andy Kaufman attempted. That fact alone still makes me smile.
Freddy Got Fingered — Directed by Tom Green. Starring Tom Green, Rip Torn, Marisa Coughlan, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Harland Williams, Anthony Michael Hall, and Julie Hagerty.