A Gooden Worsted Double Feature

Freddy Got Fingered
Blame it on Tom Green, with others.
My Rating:

"The Jerk" repositioned to be less high-brow.

Bitable Bytes:
"Incorrect, Bizarre, Barbaric!"
"Zany Antics!"
"[Tom Green] does things that human beings shouldn't do!"

Maytag Neptune Video Users Manual
(no credits)
My Rating:

Gets the job done

Bitable Bytes:
"Organization and utility!"
"'Better than Ever!'

Freddy Got Fingered

What to do while watching: Wonder dubiously about the demographic that this film aims to reach.

What to eat while watching: You might wish to refrain from eating during this screening.

Friends, welcome to the new house! The Mrs. and I purchased a southwest-style bungalow with a fantastic garden now fecund with fall bounty. I have lit pilot lights, rearranged the garage, installed shelving, switched the direction in which our washer and dryer doors open. I am the little homemaker. So, I didn't have time to go to the video store. Instead, I finally forced myself to watch the advanced copy of Freddy Got Fingered that found its way into my hands by a strange series of coincidences. (No, studios are not sending comp copies to me, yet.) I also watched the Maytag Neptune Video User's Guide, because I was excited about my new appliances and because I needed something to "wash down" the first film.

If you're looking for gross, politically incorrect viewing, you should rent Mondo Cane (1962). You get graphic images of people eating bugs, boars being clubbed to death, religious zealots bloodying themselves with glass shards before running through the streets. All this is delivered with a dated, Western ethnocentric narration that casts everyone else's behavior as incorrect, bizarre, or barbaric.

The good thing about Mondo Cane is that, at the very least, it is a documentary, so no plot intrudes on these interesting and vivid images. The movie was so successful as a cult film, more probably for its shock value than for its anthropology, that at least a dozen Mondo movies were made, including sequels to Cane, and others such as Mondo New York, Mondo Topless, Mondo Bizarro.... There's also Faces of Death, which I've not seen, but understand to be similarly shocking.

MTV's Tom Green also likes to be gross, and he is much more interested in shock value than anthropology. Though we lose the international focus, the one thing that Freddy Got Fingered has over the Mondo movies is that Green and/or his writers have added a sort of plot-like device to act as a six-pack holder for the separate disgusto-stunts that Green pulls.

The set up in twenty-five words or fewer: Goof-off Green wants to be an animator, but it's hard to break in, and his father (Rip Torn), meanwhile, harangues and harasses the manboy. The resolution in a dozen words: Green achieves success and makes peace with his dad using elephant semen.

Kudos to the video box for encapsulating in a few screenshots almost every major gross-out to come in the movie. Those stunts that the video box failed to reveal were repeated three or four times each (blood spurting on people, kid getting whacked in the head), so we could get the same sense of familiarity with these zany antics, too.

The let's-make-up-and-be-buddies scene between father and son is a surprising addition. Inexplicably, it tries to reach for the trophy of tear-jerking over-sincerity. You'd wonder why they'd include this scene at all, seeing as it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But if you look at the ridiculously bad acting with which it is delivered, you realize it's all part of the same silly joke. Oh, ho, ho!

Without being too preachy, I wonder if the increasing threshold of shock is unhealthy for our collective psyche. This man does things that human beings really shouldn't do. That's the joke. It disturbs me that he believes this is the best way to achieve fame; and that achieving fame by performing these acts is the worthiest goal for his life. Maybe Howard Stern or Johnny Knoxville can shed more light, but if I were the child in The Emperor's New Clothes, I'd point at Tom Green and say, "That man is disgusting, and I don't want to look at him." And though my esteem of Drew Barrymore has never been as high as my esteem of, say, Nelson Mandela, it is lowered a notch further by the fact that she, Green's wife, puts her mouth on the mouth that--pardon my blunt accuracy--sucks horse cock.

Other than all this, the movie is a good thing to have on in the background while unpacking boxes. I found the garlic press, honey!

Maytag Neptune Video Users Manual

The video user's manual does not negate the need to read the printed manual. It says so on the tape, but I haven't read the printed manual yet, and I've already done three loads on the new combo.

I have to give the producers a lot of credit for their organization and the utility of their emphasis. In a svelte 20-minute package, this video:

- Gives enough information so that one can wash and dry clothes immediately
- Defines and highlights some of the most useful features and options
- Reveals some of the non-obvious facets of the appliances by showing the washing and drying action with interior cams
- Underscores the correctness of the choice in brands by spelling out the long-term cost savings in electricity and water--and showing why these are real and true.

Starring the Maytag Neptune Washer and Dryer, and co-starring a blonde, wifely woman, this film does some annoying things, too, which is why I could not rate it higher.

For one, the four C's: cleaning, capacity, care, and conservation are a little too cute, cuddly, contrived, and corporate for my tastes. Like I'm going to bring these up in conversation or something. Yes, the corporate message is hammered home again and again.

Just as Freddy Got Fingered ended with the most cloying and needless outtakes of that film, the Maytag video ends with a commercial for Tide HE detergent, plugged as the best detergent to use with the Neptune Washer. Maybe I'm rabble-rousing, like Fight Back with David Horwitz, but how do I know whether Tide really is the best or whether they helped cough up production money to Maytag in exchange for the endorsement?

At any rate, it was made clear to me that Maytag is "better than ever," "puts [me] in control of [my] laundry," and "maximizes cleaning results." Honestly, couldn't they have come up with better dialogue than this drab consumer-speak? I mean, I'm pleased, yes, but would I call this washer, "simply amazing"? No. "An arm and a leg"? Yes. "The best washer I have ever owned or used"? I think I'd say that too. But "Simply amazing"? Never.

The video also demonstrated the step-by-step process for reversing the washer and dryer doors, which I followed with success. I think that's a pretty good indication of this video's usefulness.

A Gooden Worsted Giveaway!
Let me be blunt: The Tom Green film is bad. I don't want it in my house. I would throw it in the trash, but someone out there might want it. Be the first to send me a written postcard, and I will send you Tom Green's Freddy Got Fingered. In case of a tie, the tape will go to the card that I find most interesting, funny or pleasing. If no cards are received by September 21st, I trash Tom.

Send to:
"Gooden's Giveaway"
c/o Daniel Ari
6400 Hollis St., Suite 12
Emeryville, CA 94608.

Want to share a happy story with Gooden?

Gooden loves to share!

For your collection:

Mondo Cane

Gooden's Cinema Pick:
Ghost World. This is a good movie, one of the best I've seen in a while.

Gooden's Listening to:

The Search for the Moptop of Floppery Hair (CD with Coloring Book).
For kids around 3 to 7 who are into records and coloring books, it's a good one. Also for adults who are into same. E-mail Brian Knave, co-creator, at bknave@primediabusiness.com.

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