Shouldn't there be a statute of limitations on all Tom Green movies?
March 24, 2016 12:14 PM   Subscribe

James Myers, Jr. of Concord, NC was arrested on Tuesday after police stopped him for a broken brake light and, upon running his license, were surprised to discover an outstanding arrest warrant for him. From 2002. For failing to return a rented VHS tape (VHS was a video storage format popular in the United States at one time). That tape? Tom Green's 2001 opus, Freddy Got Fingered. (Trailer)
posted by Naberius (97 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everyone knows what VHS was, c'mon. It wasn't that long ago. Also, can you really get arrested for something this silly?
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:18 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Daddy would you like some credit for time served?
posted by resurrexit at 12:18 PM on March 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


Everyone knows what VHS was, c'mon. It wasn't that long ago.

Methinks that's the joke.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:19 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Aha OK
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:20 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think just having rented that film should put you on some kind of list ...
posted by k5.user at 12:21 PM on March 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


Screw the arrest; how is he ever going to live with having to tell his friends and family that he even *watched* Freddy Got Fingered?
posted by mystyk at 12:24 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


What is the reason (beyond intentional humiliation) for going through a formal "arrest" process with someone who's just going to be released on a promise to appear with no court appearance? Even if they need to collect a photo, fingerprints, signatures on the paperwork, etc..., there's no reason that can't be done at a counter in a police station rather than making him go to jail, take off his belt and such, putting him in a cell, and such.
posted by zachlipton at 12:24 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


As a one-time Concord resident, I am not surprised that if this happened anywhere in the world, it happened in New Hampshire.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:25 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


How does a rental contract become a warrant? What legal function converts private debt to a criminal charge? I'm genuinely curious, if anyone knows.
posted by Think_Long at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2016 [25 favorites]


I think just having rented that film should put you on some kind of list ...

Thanks to the Bork nomination hearings and the resultant Video Privacy Protection Act that is probably the only thing you can do in America that won't get you put on a list.
posted by srboisvert at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


We were just explaining to our youngest yesterday what VHS was. He's grown up with nothing but DVDs, and we ended up explaining how people just didn't own their own copies of movies when we were growing up, and moving through the rise and fall of video rental places, and so on. Then when I found a VHS tape at a garage sale, I had to call him over to show him what they looked like (he'd seen them before, but didn't have anything to connect them to).
posted by Four Ds at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2016


I think it was in Concord, NC. But as a NC-ian, the sentiment still holds.
posted by three easy payments and one complicated payment at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Two things I love about this story. One, Tom Green called him from Australia to sing and offer help. Two, he was worried his daughter thought he was going to be arrested for a broken taillight. Wait until she finds our the real reason for the arrest. How embarassing to tell the kids at day care your Dad rented a Tom Green movie. Banished to the block corner.
posted by AugustWest at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Think_Long: "How does a rental contract become a warrant? What legal function converts private debt to a criminal charge? I'm genuinely curious, if anyone knows."

If you don't return a rental item the owner can report it stolen. Sure in this case it was a $100 rental tape but it is the same law that applies if you don't return a car.
posted by Mitheral at 12:29 PM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Think_long, the article said he was arrested for theft of for hire services. He essentially stole services from a business.
posted by AugustWest at 12:30 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, con-CORD not CON-cord. Sorry!
posted by Rock Steady at 12:31 PM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Or, what Mitheral said.
posted by AugustWest at 12:31 PM on March 24, 2016


Think_Long: "How does a rental contract become a warrant? What legal function converts private debt to a criminal charge? I'm genuinely curious, if anyone knows."

If you don't return a rental item the owner can report it stolen. Sure in this case it was a $100 rental tape but it is the same law that applies if you don't return a car.
posted by Mitheral at 3:29 PM on March 24 [+] [!]


So would the video store have reported it stolen to claim it on insurance? Or would this actually ever have been used to get a VHS tape back?
posted by edbles at 12:32 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm looking forward to a modern, drum and bass update to Alice's Restaurant.
posted by nestor_makhno at 12:33 PM on March 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


As a one-time Concord resident, I am not surprised that if this happened anywhere in the world, it happened in New Hampshire.

Eugene Mirman got a $15 parking ticket in Portsmouth for backing into a parking spot. He would like you to know about it.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:35 PM on March 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


So, not only the guy was arrested after having a broken tail light, but for not returning a VHS and it was of one of the biggest crimes to cinema ever. It's like a giant hole of shame, and when you dig it, you only find more shame. Next thing you know, he rented it several times.

But, huh, that's weird. Most videoclubs I recall around here had something like a substancial sign-up fee. If you took more than one month to return a tape, it would be assumed the movie was sold by default. Membership voided, tape sold for the membership value + rental. Likewise with a dodgy PC game rental place 16 or 17 yeas ago; it had a membership like around one third on top of the most expensive PC games on the market. IIRC, legally you were buying a game for that price, but could re-sell anytime it to them for like 90% of the fee. In practice, you paid your membership, got a free rental, and then returned the game + 10% for another one.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:36 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, con-CORD not CON-cord. Sorry!

It's usually pronounced here as some variety of "CAWN-currrd".
posted by three easy payments and one complicated payment at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


How does a rental contract become a warrant? What legal function converts private debt to a criminal charge? I'm genuinely curious, if anyone knows.

If the tape was never returned, and the rental contract didn't have any clause that automatically converts unreturned items into sales, then it would effectively be theft. "I'm going to shoplift this Tom Green movie from you, but I'll disguise my crime by paying for the first few days it will be in my possession."
posted by radwolf76 at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2016


So this happened to me.

North Carolina. 2004. I am puttering around the house after work, when there is a knock at the door. I open it to two bemused-looking police officers. They apologize for bothering me, but I had rented a movie that had never been returned, and if it wasn't immediately returned a warrant would be issued.

I had completely forgotten about the movie - it got shoved in a pile of books and forgotten for a month. I ran upstairs, grabbed Alfie, and returned it post-haste.

The end.
posted by Windigo at 12:40 PM on March 24, 2016 [29 favorites]


Screw the arrest; how is he ever going to live with having to tell his friends and family that he even *watched* Freddy Got Fingered?

Let's not libel this poor fellow. He rented it; there is no proof that he watched it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:41 PM on March 24, 2016 [44 favorites]


Huh. When I worked in the three video stores I did, we had some sort of deposit, or kept your credit card info on file so we could charge you full price if you didn't return a tape after the fees outweighed the cost. This was back in the day when fewer people blinked an eye at you having a file drawer filled with imprints of people's credit cards.
posted by xingcat at 12:41 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Freddy Got Fingered was 2001. They were still selling "rental" VCR tapes for movies that late? I thought that died in the early 90s!
posted by graventy at 12:43 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is Freddy Got Fingered some sort of porn movie or is that a different kind of fingered?
posted by AugustWest at 12:44 PM on March 24, 2016


Also, can you really get arrested for something this silly?


In a municipality or county that funds most of its law-enforcement activities through fines, court fees, and civil forfeiture, you absolutely can.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:46 PM on March 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


Is Freddy Got Fingered some sort of porn movie?

It's not that classy.
posted by el io at 12:47 PM on March 24, 2016 [45 favorites]


Eugene Mirman got a $15 parking ticket in Portsmouth for backing into a parking spot.

1. I've spent some time in Manchester, NH. It took about two days for the irony of 'Live free or die' to sink in (I was out shopping with a friend who had a toddler. She parked some way away from a supermarket and asked me to go in to buy some wine; she explained that not only could she not buy wine if she had the toddler with her, because 'a member of the party would be under-age', but if anyone spotted me getting out of the car in the parking lot and returning with the booze, then I was a member of the party and thus...) It sunk in deeper every day thereafter.

2. WTF is that parking restriction even about?
posted by Devonian at 12:48 PM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


They were still selling "rental" VCR tapes for movies that late? I thought that died in the early 90s!

A History of Violence was the last major studio release to come out on VHS, in 2006.
posted by Etrigan at 12:50 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh. When I worked in the three video stores I did, we had some sort of deposit, or kept your credit card info on file so we could charge you full price if you didn't return a tape after the fees outweighed the cost.

Were those large chain stores, xingcat, or smaller mom & pops? Without a corporate legal department to draft up the contract to make sure it was iron-clad, many independents did opt for the simpler method of reporting a theft when a tape didn't come back.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:51 PM on March 24, 2016


Whenever "Freddy Got Fingered" is mentioned, anywhere, I am reminded of my favorite paragraph from Roger Ebert's zero-star review of the film:

"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."

One of my other favorite reviews of it, however, is a "Nostalgia-Critic" style of exhaustive recap which ran on the now-largely-inert web site Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension. The reviewer was a woman who offered to cover it when one of her male co-writers wrote a review of an insanely vapid rom-com, and she wanted to return the favor in some way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:54 PM on March 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


Without a corporate legal department to draft up the contract to make sure it was iron-clad, many independents did opt for the simpler method of reporting a theft when a tape didn't come back.

Yeah, when it happened to me, it was a little mom n' pop shop.

I still haven't seen that damn movie.
posted by Windigo at 12:54 PM on March 24, 2016


I belong to the small but vocal community that believe the film to be Great.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2016 [14 favorites]


What is the reason (beyond intentional humiliation) for going through a formal "arrest" process with someone who's just going to be released on a promise to appear with no court appearance?

As a year one law school professor would tell you, "Because that is the law." There's a warrant calling for an arrest. An arrest is a deliberate, legal use of force/coercion that results in a temporary removal of your rights of freedom. Serious stuff like that ought to have a process (e.g. photo, fingerprint, paperwork), yes? And note that we haven't started talking about matters of guilt here. People get arrested and released all the time.

Whether the warrant should exist in the first place is a separate question.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


To all those disparaging Freddy Got Fingered, please recall that Rip Torn features prominently in the movie. That's got to be worth something!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


In North Carolina, merchants have been able to write some criminal laws that have made life much easier for them. There are criminal laws for writing bad checks, shoplifting, and returning rental property that were clearly written by merchants. In this case, the law is NCGS 14-168.4:

§ 14-168.4. Failing to return rented property on which there is purchase option.
(a) It shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor for any person to fail to return rented property
with intent to defeat the rights of the owner, which is rented pursuant to a written rental
agreement in which there is an option to purchase the property, after the date of termination
provided in the agreement has occurred or, if the termination date is the occurrence of a
specified event, then that such event has in fact occurred.
(b) Intent to commit the crime set forth in subsection (a) may be presumed from the
following evidence:
(1) Evidence that the defendant has disposed of the property, or has encumbered
the property by allowing a security interest to be placed on the property or
by delivering the property to a pawnbroker; or
(2) Evidence that the defendant has refused to deliver the property to the sheriff
or other officer charged with the execution of process directed to him for its
seizure, after a judgment for possession of the property or a claim and
delivery order for the property has been issued; or
(3) Evidence that the defendant has moved the rented property out of state and
has failed to notify the owner of the new location of the property.
However, this presumption may be rebutted by evidence from the defendant that he has no
intent to defeat the rights of the owner of the property.
(c) Violations of this Article for failure to return rented property which is rented
pursuant to a written rental agreement in which there is an option to purchase shall be
prosecuted only under this section. (1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1065, s. 3; 1993, c. 539, s. 114;
1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2013-360, s. 18B.14(e).)


This law was created to protect companies that are in the business of renting things. It is a risky business to rent things out, and these companies wanted some security. Of course, they could always sue someone who failed to return property, but that would be costly and time-consuming. It is much easier for them if there is a criminal penalty for failing to return rental property. This way, the District Attorney's office can do all of the heavy lifting for them. People are much more likely to respond to criminal actions than they are to civil actions, so this law helps merchants a ridiculous amount. Needless to say, people would rather not be arrested or face the threat of going to jail.

The maximum penalty for a Class 3 misdemeanor is 20 days in jail. This particular criminal offense used to be a Class 2 misdemeanor until about two years ago. Class 2 misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail. Why did this change from a Class 3 to a Class 2 misdemeanor two years ago? Simple. The North Carolina state legislature wanted to stop paying court appointing lawyers so much money. Judges have to appoint lawyers to for indigent people who are charged with Class 2 misdemeanors or above. By moving a number of criminal offenses from Class 2 to Class 3, the legislature was able to prevent lawyers from being appointed for many, many cases.

The other question I see raised on here is about why this guy got arrested after all this time. At the time he failed to appear in court, an order for his arrest would have been issued. When people fail to appear for a misdemeanor, an order for that person's arrest is almost always issued. As a matter of practice, the judge grabs all of the files from the day where the defendant failed to show up and issues an order for arrest for each one. That order for arrest goes into the system and stays there until it gets served or resolved in some other way. If Mr. Myers got picked up ten weeks or ten months or ten years later, that order for arrest was going to get served on him. In this case, it happened 14 years later. It could have happened 40 years later. It doesn't matter. Once it is in the system, it stays there until it has been served. And there is no statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in North Carolina to charge a person with a misdemeanor is two years from the date of offense. However, once it has been served, a person cannot hide for two years and claim that the statute of limitations applies. It applies to when a person can be charged. It does not apply to when a person is convicted. It would be poor public policy if everyone who managed to avoid the authorities for two years after having been charged with a crime could have their case dismissed.

I apologize for this way too long comment.
posted by flarbuse at 1:02 PM on March 24, 2016 [38 favorites]


They were still selling "rental" VCR tapes for movies that late? I thought that died in the early 90s!

A History of Violence was the last major studio release to come out on VHS, in 2006.


In this context, a "rental" tape would be one that the studios would slap an unreasonably high Suggested Retail Price on, somewhere upwards of $100 per tape. Of course, rental stores would be paying the discounted wholesale price instead, and maybe getting a bulk purchase discount too, but it was still probably somewhere around $60 per tape or so.

However, if a rental never came back, the stores got to point at the retail price and say "This is how much the tape costs, either bring it back or buy it." After 6 months to a year, the studios would drop it to a "Priced to Sell" pricepoint where retailers could put it on their shelves and not have people shake their heads and say "that's insane, nobody's paying that."

And the "Priced to Rent"/"Priced to Sell" game was going on at least until 2000, when I stopped working at Blockbuster.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:05 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


how is he ever going to live with having to tell his friends and family that he even *watched* Freddy Got Fingered?

I have not seen this movie, BUT I do have a bit of grudging respect for Tom Green despite his being generally pretty objectionable.

I'm pretty sure Tom Green intentionally set out to make a totally horrible, disgusting movie precisely because "the joke" was that people were dumb enough to give him the opportunity. That is completely in line with the Tom Green I used to listen to on The Midnight Caller show on CHUO, or watch on his dumb cable-access TV show, or that used to turn up at the club, grab your pitcher, and dump it over his head. I won't call myself a fan, but way back when he was actually pretty funny in a 90s sort of way. He started out just kind of obnoxious, making prank calls and mocking the people that phoned into his college radio show. The "joke" always relied on him being a bit antagonistic to unsuspecting people without them understanding what was going on. As the radio show got more popular, he started mocking the callers, who were members of the audience that thought they were "in on it". And he got significantly bolder as his career progressed; when it turned to TV he would do things like stare into the camera motionless for way longer than any reasonable person would even consider "that funny kind of awkward", now trolling his entire audience and the cable company and not just random people on the street or on the phone. Possibly the only intended audience for his comedy now was actually him and his friends, while the audience was becoming more and more the victim. A lot of his old routine got more difficult to pull off as he got more famous; now it wasn't just unsuspecting people on the phone, now people on the street would recognize him and started to want to play along and it ruined the effect. The fans now had to be the victims. By the time someone thought it would be a good idea to give him a Hollywood budget to do whatever he wanted to do with it, he now had the biggest target a comedian could ever really have. The studio thought they were "in on it", like the callers to his radio show, or the fans that wanted to play along with Tom when he was trying to get them to freak out. He didn't just bite the hand that feeds, he ripped the whole arm off and beat them with it. With Freddy Got Fingered, he reached the logical conclusion of his confrontational "comedy" and alienated literally everyone involved: the audience, the studio, any Hollywood connections he might have had, all of them. To paraphrase Jackie Mason in The Jerk, say what you will about his comedy but the kid has integrity.
posted by Hoopo at 1:05 PM on March 24, 2016 [32 favorites]


How is that integrity? It's like the secondary problem with "equal opportunity offender." Disregarding power dynamics, that's still just being an asshole.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:10 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Now that anti-comedy has become relatively mainstream, I'm sort of surprised there hasn't been a Tom Green revival.
posted by maxsparber at 1:11 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]




Mod note: One comment reverted. Friendly reminder, don't use the edit function to change content. It's for typos only.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:14 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, con-CORD not CON-cord. Sorry!

It's usually pronounced here as some variety of "CAWN-currrd".


My wife was teaching some students the state capitals in an after-school program in the Boston area. She's from Washington state. When Concord came up, the students couldn't figure out what she was talking about. One raised his hand and asked, "Could you please say it with more of a Boston accent?"
posted by msbrauer at 1:21 PM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


How is that integrity?

I always took "integrity" to mean sticking to your principles. Maybe it only works with respect to positive principles, but what I was trying to get across was that Tom Green was firmly committed to this shtick of his and saw it through as far as it could possibly go.
posted by Hoopo at 1:22 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


§ 14-168.4. Failing to return rented property on which there is purchase option.

He also faces further misdemeanor charges for violating § 14-168.5: Malicious failure to rewind.
posted by sixpack at 1:23 PM on March 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "One of my other favorite reviews of it, however, is a "Nostalgia-Critic" style of exhaustive recap which ran on the now-largely-inert web site Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension."

Those reviews were often quite good, when he wasn't shaking his cane at those damned Hollywood libruls.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2016


I was often bemused by his TV show in the 90s, but overall wasn't all that impressed with him.

At the time of release, Freddy Got Fingered looked absolutely horrific, but that little gag right at the end of the trailer, with the sausage organ? That was (and still is, dammit) legit funny. Funny enough that I decided to rent the move (on vhs) a few years later, as surely it would be funny enough for a drunken hate watch, right?.

I got maybe 20 minutes in before I had to stop. I did return the tape though.

daddywouldyoulikesomesausage?
posted by sparklemotion at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


He also faces further misdemeanor charges for violating § 14-168.5: Malicious failure to rewind.

Hahah, remember when you had a separate machine just to rewind the tapes more quickly than the VCR could? Man. Them were the days.
posted by three easy payments and one complicated payment at 1:27 PM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Separate machines that were often made to look like awesome muscle cars, no less.
posted by Etrigan at 1:29 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


A History of Violence was the last major studio release to come out on VHS, in 2006.

Now I'm imagining something like "The Last Super Bowl Game", a George R.R. Martin story published over forty years ago (tl;dr--the NFL is driven out of business by something that sounds suspiciously like EA's Madden); someone returns a tape copy of A History of Violence to the last video store, sheepishly admitting that he hasn't rewound the tape, and the elderly clerk shrugs and says, "That's OK. Our only VCR has been broken for weeks, and the kid here didn't know how to operate it even when it worked." He nods toward a younger coworker who's wearing Oculus Rift and drooling a little. "I think he's watching the gender-switched VR porn parody version of Pulp Fiction right now."
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:30 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have nothing to add except that I saw Freddy Got Fingered at my local cinema, and I was the only person in the theater. Say what you will, I actually kind of cherish having experienced so absurd a moment at that.
posted by Leviathant at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2016 [12 favorites]


(It's also just really weird when someone from sleepy old Ottawa winds up on MTV and referenced in an Eminem song. MTV wasnt available where I lived, but I gather he wasn't the only Ottawa guy on there, either. "Quddus" or whatever went to my high school. What was that all about with Ottawa and MTV back then?)
posted by Hoopo at 1:32 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hahah, remember when you had a separate machine just to rewind the tapes more quickly than the VCR could?

Because rewinding would eventually wear down the machinery of your VHS player! Back before it cost, like, $20 to buy a VHS player and the separate rewinder machines actually got more expensive.

Boy, VHS had a weird last few years.
posted by maxsparber at 1:34 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


People get arrested and released all the time.

And it is a shitty, unproductive process for everyone involved most of the time. Myers' experience was absolutely not the norm (and I can't be the only person who started reading this thinking it was another police shooting). Here is how he described what happened to him:
Because I had my daughter in the car and we were on the way to school they said that I could take my daughter to school and go to work and then find a babysitter, and then come into the police and turn myself in.
He. Got. Lucky.

The police were totally within their rights and duties to arrest him on the spot, sending his daughter to protective services and impounding his car. The article says he got processed and released, but doesn't say how long that took, but this is something that could reasonably take several hours. Had he been arrested on the way to work, that means missing his job (and probably with no way to contact someone to let them know for at least a few of those hours).

I'm glad many people are finding the humor in this, but to me it is just another example of how irrevocably broken the American policing and penal system is. It sounds like Myers got every benefit of doubt in this process, but it still meant getting arrested, processed, and then released with nothing more than a written promise to come back to court later. That's a giant waste of everyone's time, and even more so if it had involved loss of a job, impound fees, and a traumatized child, like most arrests would have been.
posted by Panjandrum at 1:39 PM on March 24, 2016 [35 favorites]


Everyone knows what VHS was, c'mon. It wasn't that long ago.

DVD will be old enough to drink this year. There are probably legal adults among us who have never handled a VHS.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:41 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Freddy Got Fingered has a reputation for being a bad movie - - but I loved it. Here's the NY Times by A. O. Scott for corroboration.
posted by fairmettle at 1:42 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


That review does not, in fact, corroborate that you loved it.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:46 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Back before it cost, like, $20 to buy a VHS player and the separate rewinder machines actually got more expensive.

I've talked about The Broksonic before.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:49 PM on March 24, 2016


DVD will be old enough to drink this year. There are probably legal adults among us who have never handled a VHS.

We can solve this by raising the age of adulthood to 40.
posted by srboisvert at 1:50 PM on March 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Panjandrum: “I'm glad many people are finding the humor in this, but to me it is just another example of how irrevocably broken the American policing and penal system is. It sounds like Myers got every benefit of doubt in this process, but it still meant getting arrested, processed, and then released with nothing more than a written promise to come back to court later. That's a giant waste of everyone's time, and even more so if it had involved loss of a job, impound fees, and a traumatized child, like most arrests would have been.”

This needs to be underlined. I guarantee this kind of frivolous arrest happens all the time. It doesn't get on the news, nobody gets a phone call from a celebrity, and people certainly don't get a chance to take their daughter home first. They just get thrown in jail and have their lives ruined.

And it usually takes around 12 hours to go through processing, at least in my experience. Yeah, they won't tell you that, but it's true.

But, yes – what a ridiculous thing, to be arrested for having not returned a VHS tape a decade and a half ago. It's not like Myers did something really terrible, like wandering into the wrong bathroom. That would have been a real crime. God bless South Carolina for recognizing the difference.
posted by koeselitz at 1:53 PM on March 24, 2016 [13 favorites]


At the time of release, Freddy Got Fingered looked absolutely horrific, but that little gag right at the end of the trailer, with the sausage organ? That was (and still is, dammit) legit funny.

In just the last three months I put the movie in my Netflix DVD queue specifically for the purpose of ripping it just to capture that segment to make it into a ringtone. It still makes me snicker.
posted by phearlez at 2:06 PM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


My stepfather once got arrested because he sent my dumb brother and dumb me to the dump to get rid of some construction debris from our beach house in his truck, and we didn't realize you had to do the whole weigh-and-pay thing. By the time the cops showed up, he was the only one home, as the rest of us had headed back to the city. This was pre-cellphones, so the only person he could reach was my then-fiancee, who had to drive an hour and a half to bail him out. He was... not happy with us for a while.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:12 PM on March 24, 2016


Rock Steady, Arlo Guthrie wrote a song about that. Sort of.
posted by AugustWest at 2:16 PM on March 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's also just really weird when someone from sleepy old Ottawa winds up on MTV and referenced in an Eminem song.

You know you've reached savant levels of obnoxiousness when Eminem publicly disses you for being vulgar and purile.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:22 PM on March 24, 2016 [10 favorites]


I think VHS actually lived a lot longer in Japan than North America, which struck me as odd because the technology on pretty much everything else was a year or 2 ahead of where it was in Canada. I left Japan in 2005 or so and the video rental place (a big chain, no less) still had tons of VHS. Also 2 entire walls of the store devoted to 24 and Full House, but that's another story.
posted by Hoopo at 2:42 PM on March 24, 2016


How is that integrity?

The same question could be asked for Andy Kaufman's brand of comedy. They don't break character once they commit.

Not that this is to defend Green. Having integrity doesn't stop one from being a spectacularly awful no-talent hack.
posted by bonehead at 3:10 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Send him to BetaMax.
posted by sylvanshine at 3:17 PM on March 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


Surely there's a statute of limitations.
posted by merelyglib at 3:18 PM on March 24, 2016


Everyone knows what VHS was, c'mon. It wasn't that long ago.
---
DVD will be old enough to drink this year. There are probably legal adults among us who have never handled a VHS.


A few years ago, when my then 3 year old discovered our collection of VHS tapes*, her first question was "How do you get the disk out?"

*In the cabinet of obsolete media, right next to the dozens of cassette singles.
posted by madajb at 3:21 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Myers' punishment is he has to watch it again.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 3:22 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm glad many people are finding the humor in this, but to me it is just another example of how irrevocably broken the American policing and penal system is.

Exactly. The expression says "the law is an ass," but it only works that way because we've somehow all agreed that someone who didn't return a video tape 14 years ago deserves to be taken to jail and made to wait in a cell while an inefficient process eventually gets around to dealing with him. Then everyone just gets to point to "the system" as a reason why they individually did nothing wrong.

And yes, it sounds like the police officers involved went far out of their way to be accommodating to a certain extent, but there's no particularly good reason "the system" couldn't be designed to handle this in a way that is not intentionally designed to be degrading.

It would be poor public policy if everyone who managed to avoid the authorities for two years after having been charged with a crime could have their case dismissed.

I mean sure, but I claim it is poor public policy to lock up an otherwise law-abiding father for failure to return a video tape 14 years ago. Purging very low-level misdemeanor warrants after, say, a decade is certainly possible, and is the kind of thing NYC is talking about doing now in fact.
posted by zachlipton at 3:26 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm glad some people showed up to defend this movie. I wonder how many of the people bashing it have actually seen it? And thank you Hooper for the awesome argument regarding his career trajectory. I will add as well that for good or for bad Tom Green was cutting edge for a lot of popular media that came afterward. He predates reality TV and yet his show was more real than anything that that genre has spit out. He also predates the Big Brother/Jackass crew, and so thereby pretty much singlehandedly created that whole genre of comedy, for better or for worse.

I will add that for my part I came to Tom Green later than Hooper, but earlier than most as I devotedly watched his show on The Comedy Network, which was at the time Canada's brand new version of Comedy Central (which, for what I'm assuming are insane CRTC laws, we still don't have). A lot of that show was often exactly what you think of when you think of Tom Green, but some of it was also touching and sort of sweet. My favourite episode began with him spraying water on the entire studio audience, and while at first you were sort of flabbergasted, it turned out that this was just the impetus for the true bit: an entire episode spent driving every single member of the studio audience home in a bus. Tom went to everyone's home and met whoever was there and just had a bit of fun with them if they were into it, and if not, politely left. It was such a weird thing to see on television, and had no point or purpose beyond just being a weird thing on television. I never saw the original Tom Green show that was on the Ottawa cable access, but this was ramshackle and charming even still.

And finally, does anyone else remember Organized Rhyme? Tom's got chops! The MC Face album had some gems as well, such as the Glenn Humplik theme song.
posted by wyndham at 3:43 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Many, many years ago, I rented Ralph Bakshi's Wizards and promptly forgot about it (which, given it's Wizards, is the best course of action). Maybe 30 months later I'm cleaning and oh god, have I had this for- oh, shit. So I take it by the video store intending to ask for mercy only to find out that their computer system had gone down in flames about a week after I rented the tape, so they had no idea who even had it.

I bought a package of those real-fruit-juice not-Twizzlers on the way out. Seemed the gracious thing to do.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:45 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think I understood the point of Dadaism until I watched Freddy Got Fingered and then read the reviews of it, which are hilarious in their sputtering outrage. FGF is one of the greatest trolls of all time.
posted by Errant at 3:46 PM on March 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


Listen to my hooooves!
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:56 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ok I was totally with Mr. Myers, until I read this:
Mr. Meyers said he rewatched “Freddy Got Fingered” on Wednesday.
So not only did he admit to watching the thing in the first place, he's admitting he voluntarily rewatched it after the arrest?
posted by zachlipton at 4:39 PM on March 24, 2016


Western Infidels: DVD will be old enough to drink this year. There are probably legal adults among us who have never handled a VHS.

I was teaching an intro to literature class a couple of years ago and wanted to show a few scenes from the play we were reading, A Raisin in the Sun. The only copy available in our school library was an old VHS tape. So I borrowed an ancient TV + VCR unit from our museum of obsolete technology instructional media services department and hauled the behemoth to class, much to the students' fascination.

What made this even better was that the last person who had borrowed the tape had failed to rewind it, which meant we had to sit and stare at the machine for a few minutes while it rewound noisily and I got to regale them with tales of yore about video rental stores and "Be Kind, Rewind" stickers. Yup.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:09 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hahah, remember when you had a separate machine just to rewind the tapes more quickly than the VCR could?

Because rewinding would eventually wear down the machinery of your VHS player! Back before it cost, like, $20 to buy a VHS player and the separate rewinder machines actually got more expensive.



Oh, shit- this is the Cowboy Bebop timeline, isn't it?


Fuck that- I am not going to wear booty shorts with suspenders.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:28 PM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just came in to say that I still own probably 100 vhs tapes in boxes. Most of them are bootleg video from shows at the Marquee in the 80s, or they're ancient films that have never been put out on DVD, like some early Laurence Olivier. I bought a machine that was supposed to rip them to disc, but I've never gotten it to work. I tell you that story to tell you this one, my teenage son and his friends were digging through spare parts boxes, and came across a vhs case. Not only did they have no idea what it was, they couldn't believe home media ever came on something as fragile as spindled tape.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:00 PM on March 24, 2016


For some reason, I read the entirety of a couple of reviews of Freddy Got Fingered just now. I should be doing almost anything else instead, but I kept reading. I now feel basically like I've seen the movie, because knowing the plot outline you can pretty easily extrapolate a viewing experience from having been a teenager who watched a lot of MTV in the 90s. Now that I really think about it, maybe I have seen this movie. I don't know. I know I somehow absorbed a lot of its kind of art back then. Which is to say art that is pretty much the aesthetic equivalent of fingernails on a shit-streaked chalkboard. It's relentlessly and deliberately stupid, sure, but more than that, it's pretty much as annoying as it could possibly manage at any given time.

I'll buy the idea of Freddy Got Fingered as kind of a Dada-ist final outcropping of a career committed to a particular shtick. Sure. Why not. There was this whole thing all over pop culture stuff of the mid-90s and a bit after that was kind of committed to fucking with the viewer and the industry and the form. I recognize some of the same impulses in things I actually enjoyed for the most part, like, I dunno, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Or art that I pretty much hated, but can recognize as really well made, like basically everything that Eminem's ever done.

So good for Tom Green, I guess. Although it would be sweet if I could elect not to be directly exposed to any of his or his conceptual brethren's media product ever again.
posted by brennen at 6:20 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]




Freddy Got Fingered is an underrated comedy classic IMO. You have to watch it as "comedy" and not as "film" to really "get it".
posted by gehenna_lion at 6:43 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I never saw the original Tom Green show that was on the Ottawa cable access, but this was ramshackle and charming even still.

It actually didn't change all that much. The theme song was the same and still makes me laugh. "This is the Tom Green Show/It's not the green Tom Show" are lyrics I wish I wrote. The cable access show had its moments, too. One of the first episodes, they did a little intro with Glen and Tom like any other talk show, then abruptly stopped to go and dispose of a dead body by wrapping it in a carpet and driving it out to the river. It took most of the show and I'm pretty sure the live studio audience was just left sitting there after having witnessed about 3 or 4 minutes of actual in-studio Tom Green Show. I can't remember how long it lasted on Rogers before going to Comedy Network, my memory of which jokes were made where is a bit foggy, but the pranks he used to pull on his parents were unreal too. The petting zoo he set up in the living room while they were on vacation, when he had their entire house painted plaid, when he had his dad's car detailed with an airbrushed image of naked women making out on the hood...you felt bad for them but holy shit that is some serious pranking. And when he asked Lucien Bouchard what he thought about Canada separating from Quebec, or jumped into the Rideau Canal in full hockey gear. Gaetan the Poetry Shovel; Phil Giroux drinking coffee. Definitely had his moments, but probably not enough for the volume of airtime he had (and his lack of charisma?)

The radio show was actually pretty funny to me as a teenager but I'm not sure it's out there anymore. I happened across it one day and started recording. The tape made the rounds of my high school, I'd hear dubbed versions in other peoples' cars and be like "that's my tape, where did you get that?". He obviously struck a chord with a certain market segment. Even back then he was able to organize a 2am soccer game on parliament hill from listeners that he told to wear tinfoil helmets.

Freddy Got Fingered is an underrated comedy classic IMO. You have to watch it as "comedy" and not as "film" to really "get it".

Like Cabin Boy?
posted by Hoopo at 6:56 PM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


when he had his dad's car detailed...


Here's the car thing.


Now, at the time, I laughed a fear-based laugh. If I did that my dad's car, I would have had the shit kicked out of me.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:34 PM on March 24, 2016


oh lord i didnt remember it quite that bad
posted by Hoopo at 7:53 PM on March 24, 2016


I really enjoyed Freddy Got Fingered, though I only saw it once. Maybe it's time for a rewatch!

AugustWest: "Is Freddy Got Fingered some sort of porn movie"

No.

AugustWest: "or is that a different kind of fingered?"

No, it's that kind of fingered. It's just not a porn movie.
posted by Bugbread at 12:06 AM on March 25, 2016


What's with all the Freddy Got Fingered hate? My wife and I both love it!

That said, I'm very surprised that James Myers, Jr. was apprehended by the cops. Seems more like a job for some kind of feline crimefighter...
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:27 AM on March 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think VHS actually lived a lot longer in Japan than North America, which struck me as odd because the technology on pretty much everything else was a year or 2 ahead of where it was in Canada. I left Japan in 2005 or so and the video rental place (a big chain, no less) still had tons of VHS. Also 2 entire walls of the store devoted to 24 and Full House, but that's another story.

Japan is weirdly behind the times when it comes to certain technologies. It's one of the last developed countries where CDs are still alive and well. Tower Records still exists in Japan (though it's actually an independent company that split from the now-defunct Tower Records we knew and loved in North America), and is so successful it not only has eight-floor megastores, but its own record label. Every Tower Records store is 99% CDs (vinyl? what's vinyl?).

As someone who still buys CDs, Japan is amazing and wonderful to me.
posted by chrominance at 6:35 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


[The Jabootu site] reviews were often quite good, when he wasn't shaking his cane at those damned Hollywood libruls.

I think they had more than one reviewer. I was driven away more so by the diminishing number of updates and the site server problems. But - i actually still sometimes feel like using the oath with which the FGF reviewer began her summing-up: "Shiva H. Vishnu!"

At the time of release, Freddy Got Fingered looked absolutely horrific, but that little gag right at the end of the trailer, with the sausage organ? That was (and still is, dammit) legit funny.

I confess, that that bit was allllmost enough to get me to see this. My then-roommate and I found it funny enough that periodically we would crack each other up by chanting "Daddywouldyoulike-some-sausage!....daddywouldyoulike-some-sausage!...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:06 AM on March 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now that anti-comedy has become relatively mainstream, I'm sort of surprised there hasn't been a Tom Green revival.

There is a beer with his name by a popular craft brewery. Familiar with Tom Green's oeuvre as I am, I haven't tried it.
posted by rodlymight at 8:20 AM on March 25, 2016 [2 favorites]




chrominance: are you talking about the Tower in Tokyo? That's awesome if so.
posted by lkc at 7:18 PM on March 25, 2016


Tower Records still exists in Japan

Oh cool, it's still there! When I lived there my buddy Yu actually worked at the one in ... I wanna say Shibuya? The big 8-level one downtown. It was a great place for rare (for North America) editions of albums and English language books and magazines.
posted by Hoopo at 9:09 PM on March 25, 2016


Okay, this is decent - Tom Green may pay the guy's fines.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 PM on March 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


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