Andy Hall has reviewed the Region 1 release of Freddy Got Fingered and asks: Is Tom Green’s movie a misunderstood masterpiece, or a steaming pile of horse excrement?
Anyone who reads DVD Times regularly will know that if there’s a bad movie out there, then I’ll review it. Glitter, Battlefield Earth et al, I’ve sat through them all, and most of the time they are every bit as bad as expected. By all expectations, Tom Green’s “gross-out” fest Freddy Got Fingered should be sitting on top of the pile of all-time bad movies. After all, it swept the board at the anti-Oscar “Razzies”, collecting five awards, including worst picture, worst director, worst actor, worst screenplay, and worst screen couple (“Tom Green and any animal he abuses”). So is it indeed the worst movie ever made, as many have stated? I don’t think so, and here’s why:
When Tom Green set out to make this movie I believe he had three objectives in mind:
- Spoof the “gross-out” genre by completely out-grossing them
- Deliberately wind up the critics
- Entertain his fans
1. Spoof the “gross-out” genre by completely out-grossing them
This is the “gross-out” movie to end all “gross-out” movies. The plot such as it is, involves Tom playing Gord Brody, who leaves the family home in Oregon to head to Hollywood in order to sell his cartoons. A meeting with animation studio head Dave Davidson (Anthony Michael Hall) does not go well, and he tells him his ideas are stupid and that he should go away and re-think them. So he returns home, much to the annoyance of his father Jim (Rip Torn) who (rightly) considers him a complete waster and thought that he’d got rid of him. Thus begins a war with his father involving them fighting, destroying each other’s property, and culminating with Gord lying to the authorities that his father had been molesting his younger brother Freddy (Eddie Kaye Thomas); hence “Freddy got fingered”. Meanwhile, Gord is still trying to come up with a successful animation idea, and dating sex-mad wheelchair bound Betty (Marisa Coughlan).
All this however, is just a loose framework to hang some of the most excessive gross humour seen in a movie, knocking pretty much anything the Farrelly brothers have done into a cocked hat. When Dave Davidson tells Gordy that he should “get inside the animals” he takes it literally, slicing open and climbing inside a dead deer. Other scenes include Gord swinging a newborn baby around a room by its umbilical cord, licking a broken bone wound, and most infamously, masturbating a horse and later an elephant.
So does this film succeed in this area? Most definitely yes, as Tom Green has gone so far over the top that there really isn’t any need to make another “gross-out” movie, as in Freddy Got Fingered, the definitive one has been made.
2. Deliberately wind up the critics
It appears that Tom Green was deliberately looking to get the mainstream critics backs up with this movie. Boy, did he succeed. “A piece of crap!” said Ifilm. “A Vomitorium” said the Chicago Sun Times. Other gems include “a thoroughly rancid piece of cinematic sludge”, “One huge stinking, steaming turd of a movie”, and “I have gotten better entertainment value from a colonoscopy”. Of course the crowning glory of all this was picking up five Razzies. The big difference was that Green actually turned up to collect his awards. Of other winners, Travolta thought he was making a masterpiece in Battlefield Earth, as did Vondie Curtis-Hall with Glitter. But Green set out to annoy and disgust the critics, and so in this area, the film is also a complete success.
3. Entertain his fans
If any of the said critics had actually watched The Tom Green Show then they should have known what to expect. All the offensive and outrageous behaviour from his MTV show was replicated here, just bigger. Anyone a fan of the show and Green’s sense of humour would not be disappointed with this movie. Its meagre $15 million was just about recouped, so all Green’s fans would have seen it, and hence it succeeds in this area as well.
At the end of the day there are only two possible marks I could give this film: a “0” or a “10”. Sure, it’s offensive, disgusting, and to quote the critics, “appalling”, “tasteless”, “rancid”, etc, etc. But looking at the evidence above this is exactly the movie that Tom Green set out to make and it therefore succeeds completely. It is in no way a masterpiece of filmmaking; perhaps the complete opposite, but because his movie-making practical joke worked so well, to the extent of cleaning up at the 2002 “Razzies”, I have to give Freddy full marks.
“You can’t hurt me, not with my cheese helmet”.
This was a fairly low budget movie, yet the quality of the image here is generally pretty decent. I say generally, because there are a couple of scenes, notably one where Gordy first meets Drew Barrymore’s character, that look dark and grainy. I can only assume that this was due to the filming itself, and so nothing to do with the DVD. All in all, it’s a reasonably decent transfer.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t overly spectacular, but is more than sufficient for meeting requirements here. Music is powerfully presented, and although it’s mostly the front channels that are used, there are some occassional directional effects.
There are also English and French Dolby Surround tracks available.
For a low budget small-scale movie, this disc is stacked with extras. Starting with the insert, which amusingly includes some of the worst reviews (and one good one), they include:
A number of commentaries are included, though only one is full length, being director Tom Green’s commentary. His commentary style is as manic as he is on-screen, unsurprisingly. He confirms my thoughts about the movie by claiming that he was mocking “gross-out” movies by making things as gross as possible, and in the same way with sugary sweet sentimental movies. One amusing fact was his recollection of one of the early days of shooting, when the crew suddenly realised what kind of film they were making.
Additionally, there are a number of scene specific commentaries from Marisa Coughlan, Rip Torn and Harland Williams. The menu system does allow you to just watch the particular scenes that they are commenting on. Marisa Coughlan seemed generally concerned for her safety during the shooting of some of her scenes; Rip Torn apparently enjoyed the experience, except for the infamous elephant scene. Last but not least, Harlan Williams is the funniest, as he mocks the whole commentary process.
An amusing extra is the PG-rated version of the film, which cuts out all the stuff that kids shouldn’t see. Hence it clocks in at just over three minutes.
There are two featurettes here. The first, and best, is an MTV Special, which is aimed for a 30 minute slot on US television, meaning that it’s 22 minutes long. Here Tom Green observes that 50 years ago it wasn’t possible to show Elvis below the waist when he gyrated on stage… and then goes on to take a look at the horse-masturbating scene. The second featurette is much briefer, at just four and a half minutes. Tom Green explains the movie, and although there’s not much to it, it does feature the deleted boat scene.
There are six deleted scenes presented in non-anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 stereo sound. We get more animal abuse, this time with a cow, and more time at the cheese factory. Additionally there is a scene that was to be an Apocalypse Now homage, but was dropped when they couldn’t license the Doors’ The End music for it. The boat scene isn’t actually here (just a scene immediately afterwards) but as it appears at least three times elsewhere on the disc it’s not a problem. Green comments on why these scenes were dropped; his method of filling dead space when he’s finished is very unique and “Tom Green”.
The World Premiere audience participation track is an alternate soundtrack for the movie that lets you hear what it was like at the movie theatre when it was first shown. With an audience of drunken students (who probably got in for free), it’s predictably raucous and boisterous.
The trailer and TV spots section contains the theatrical trailer and four TV spots. The TV spots called “Do you like” and “Cheese and sausage” are particularly amusing. Many here feature that infamous deleted boat scene.
Finally, the Cast and Crew section features some surprisingly in-depth and serious information about the stars and crew, rather than just basic filmographies. The Soundtrack section features a full text listing of every track on the soundtrack album, followed by a TV spot for it.
There are no ROM based features available here.
As a film, Freddy is almost impossible to rate, but as a Tom Green practical joke it is a 100% success. The disc is well stocked with extras, so if you are a fan or just want to see what all the fuss is about, the disc is worth checking out.
“Daddy would you like some sausage, Daddy would you like some sausage…”
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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