'Freddy Got Fingered' is a bad, bad film.
April 22, 2001 8:46 PM   Subscribe

'Freddy Got Fingered' is a bad, bad film.

The new comedy from Tom Green, "Freddy Got Fingered," is quite simply the worst movie ever released by a major studio in Hollywood history.

was anyone really surprised?
posted by paulrockNJ (38 comments total)
Worse than Battlefield Earth? Impossible. (Note: the link is to a collection of 120+ reviews of BE, all exceedingly negative and a great way to laugh for a couple of hours.)
posted by aaron at 8:56 PM on April 22, 2001

I loved ebert's review:

"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."
posted by mathowie at 8:59 PM on April 22, 2001 [1 favorite]

The only thing that surprised me was that Rotten Tomatoes found any positive reviews. (Although it looks like BE got even fewer)
posted by harmful at 9:00 PM on April 22, 2001

I saw it. And I liked it. I am so alone.

posted by owillis at 9:00 PM on April 22, 2001

I haven't seen the film, but I see a couple of flags right off the bat:

Green's...taste in comedy is big on shock and schlock, but devoid of any genuine humor what…so…ever!

If you don't find Tom Green funny, I'm sure you'll hate the film, but there are plenty of people who "get it".

Oops, forgive the use of the word "plot." That's term doesn't apply to this miserable mess.

Since when is "plot" a requirement for a silly Hollywood comedy? If you went to FGF for the plot, I pity you.

Just my 2/10th of a cent...
posted by jpoulos at 9:07 PM on April 22, 2001

James Berardinelli gives the film no stars. He looks through his archives for films that have also received no stars, and finds only one: Zombie v. Mardis Gras, a straight-to-video flick. I presumed that this would be a metafilter topic before long. To say that the crits are hostile to this film would be making the understatement of, well, the entire history of evaluations of film criticism.
posted by raysmj at 9:21 PM on April 22, 2001

Freddy may be a bad, bad movie, but Paul Clinton is a bad, bad reviewer in my book. He has a tendency to go easy on absolute junk, and it shows here -- his stilted prose shows how out of practice he is at writing scathing reviews. Ideally CNN would have called in Paul Tatara, who's much better at it (and much funnier), even though he strikes me as a bit of a poseur.
posted by tingley at 9:39 PM on April 22, 2001

The Tomatometer on Battlefield Earth was 6%, IIRC. That's five whole extra percentage points FGF must sink to beat the grand master.
posted by aaron at 9:43 PM on April 22, 2001

Straight-to-video in the UK, then. Joy.
posted by holgate at 9:46 PM on April 22, 2001

I've come to believe that Tom Green is much more Andy Kaufman than Jim Carrey. Not that I consider his talent quite in the same league as either ... just that his style is more about making the audience uncomfortable than it is about making them laugh.

If I had more time to think about this I might develop it further. But watching MTV's Jackass tonight, two uninterrupted episodes (I'd only let myself sit through one or two clips ever), I realized that the thing that the kids imitating that show just don't get is this: The thing that's great about Jackass is knowing that guy isn't you. I think there's something similar going on with Tom Green.
posted by dhartung at 9:51 PM on April 22, 2001

I saw FGF last night. I'm a big Tom Green fan...but, Jesus almighty. Half the time I was saying "what....the.....hell????" to myself. I wish I had just gone to see Memento again. :)
posted by pnevares at 9:57 PM on April 22, 2001

Based on the description of the film in the reviews, I'd almost expect theater chains in some jurisdictions to get prosecuted for obscenity just for showing it.

Food for thought: the legal definition of obscenity in the USA.
posted by artlung at 10:00 PM on April 22, 2001

When Tom Green lived in Ottawa, his then-fiancee's mother used to work for my family. Needless to say, we spent a fair amount of time in the same spaces.

He was almost normal, in private, for the most part.

In public, though, he used steal my girlfriend's lunch, take it apart, and throw the pieces at the brick walls in her school.

I tried to convince him to get a guiche piercing once. A piercer friend of mine offered to do it for free. He almost did it. Almost.

I expected more from him, really.

I don't think you'll find anyone from Ottawa, Canada, who hasn't had some kind of unpleasant run-in with him, or doesn't hate him. He's our least cherished export since Alanis.
posted by Jairus at 10:08 PM on April 22, 2001

I had to look up what the hell a guiche piercing is- maybe if Green had taken your friend up on the offer he would have found his cancer quicker.
posted by dogwelder at 11:13 PM on April 22, 2001

The sad thing is that FGF get's more attention then The Dish here on MetaFilter, so Tom Green wins since all he's about it getting attention. And yes, that is very much what Andy Kaufman's antics were about...but Kaufman at least had a sense of humor. I have to lump Tom Green with Paulie Shore and Carrot Top since none of them read "A Sense of Humor for Dummies".
posted by Sal Amander at 11:41 PM on April 22, 2001

If you don't find Tom Green funny, I'm sure you'll hate the film, but there are plenty of people who "get it".

Check out the review on Something Awful (scroll down a bit): the reviewer professes to be a Green fan, but he STILL hated the movie. (And it's a funny review.)
posted by Zettai at 11:50 PM on April 22, 2001

I've never found Tom Green funny at all. For a long time I just assumed that I was just too old to understand him. After all judging from the amount of time he gets on MTV someone must laugh at him. The one question that's always bothered me about him (I'm going to drift into some weird fan mental space here) is what in the hell does Drew Barrymore see in him?
posted by rdr at 1:09 AM on April 23, 2001

Don't go there, because someone might well ask, what does anyone see in Drew Barrymore? And then where would we be?
posted by rodii at 5:23 AM on April 23, 2001

Ebert's been giving no quarter lately, but if this is what movies have come to, so be it. The guy Tom Green reminds me of most is Chris Elliott, who was an early master of "annoying guy" comedy, starting with his Letterman appearances in the early 80's and reaching his zenith (nadir?) with his Fox show "Get a Life," which could be either brilliant or almost unwatchable at times. Elliott's movie, "Cabin Boy," belongs on almost any worst movie list. Having said that, I like him and I enjoyed the book he wrote with his dad, Bob, of the legendary Bob & Ray radio show. Tom Green just takes this type of humor a step or two (or five) further. Sometimes it's hilarious, sometimes it sucks.
posted by gimli at 6:28 AM on April 23, 2001

what does anyone see in Drew Barrymore?

Them's fightin' words, rodii.
posted by jpoulos at 6:29 AM on April 23, 2001

i must confess that i saw battlefield earth, mostly because i couldn't believe how bad the reviews were.

that was a bad, bad film. it rejigged my whole scale of what was bad. howard the duck way back when? suddenly not so bad.

how can anything be worse? i'm tempted to see fgf just to find out but i think, for once, i'll stay put and wait for video.
posted by heather at 7:01 AM on April 23, 2001

I don't think FGF was worse than Battlefield Earth.

But it was BAD.
posted by pnevares at 8:01 AM on April 23, 2001

Good fodder for the terminally brain dead, but I have to ask, is there are a target audience for this at all? There's a limit to everything, even base stupidity.

I hope.

What’s Rip Torn doing in this, btw? I haven't seen him slumming like this since....since.... Actually, this really is an all time low for the guy.
posted by lucien at 8:15 AM on April 23, 2001

what does anyone see in Drew Barrymore?

Never let it be said that I passed on an opportunity to kick the weak and palsied.

Drew Barrymore is hopelessly stupid, and a complete embarrassment to her family name. I think I mentioned this once before, but it bears repeating: I saw her once on (God help me) Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty Starfucking Hour Brought To You By Ebay, and she spent the first five minutes talking about how proud she was to be a vegan.

Then a bit later, she enthused about how much she liked to eat cheese. Which, of course, went unchallenged. I think I went and got drunk right then.

She deserves Tom Green. Tom Green, however, deserves only death.
posted by Skot at 8:31 AM on April 23, 2001

If Hollywood is cheese, Drew Barrymore is cottage cheese.

(Sorry, jp)
posted by rodii at 9:07 AM on April 23, 2001

Comparing Green to Kaufmann? Dhartung you should be ashamed of yourself.

rdr said, "...what in the hell does Drew Barrymore see in him?" Same thing Jessica Rabbit saw in Roger: he makes her laugh.

Shame The Brains had to close up shop. And to think, Tom Green was one of the greatest highlights to Charlie's Angels. Even the name of his character, Chad, was topical. How the mighty hath fallen.

I wanna T-Shirt that says I'd do Drew. However, since I was 14 years old when E.T. came out, I'd be too embarrassed to wear it. Besides, if Green isn't once again pulling everyone's leg, and Drew's actually pregnant, it means... ewwwww! She did that with him?? Gross!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:17 AM on April 23, 2001

I should add as an addendum here, in a vague attempt to be serious, that if you examine humor through the course of history, a large part of it is shock value and when the audience becomes jaded by previous attempts at shock, the comedians are forced to raise the bar and go out on a limb that much farther. Lenny Bruce is perhaps the most classic example of the twentieth century. Another slightly more obscure example would be the infamous fart scene in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. A scene which television channels still either silence or remove entirely when broadcast.

The difference between the above examples and Tom Green? The above examples are FUNNY.

It was inevitable that someone would go too far. May Tom Green have the tree limb severed with a chainsaw while he's still clinging to it. He committed the most heinous crime of comedy: going for shock but failing to be funny. Though not a criminal offense, I'll be surprised if he's ever invited to a Friar's Club Roast, and hell they even let Dr. Ruth in those.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:56 AM on April 23, 2001

Hmm... The New York Times critic seems to have appreciated it on a higher level. Take these two quotes from this review (free registration required, blah blah).

"Mr. Green's style, toggling between antic and deadpan, is like a less hostile version of the work Michael O'Donoghue and Andy Kaufman did in the early days of "Saturday Night Live." Mr. Green is less an actor than a persona, and he resolutely refuses to mark the boundaries of his imposture or to resort to the winking, supercilious pseudo-irony that remains the default setting for so much second-rate pop culture."

"Mr. Green's humor is certainly regressive, as film comedy has been at least since Fatty Arbuckle appeared in diapers. But "Freddy Got Fingered" forsakes the muddy field of infantile narcissism for the fertile, frightening ground of middle childhood. It's less about the dangers and pleasures of the unchained id than the giddy anarchy of the unbound imagination. It's scarier than "Scary Movie" and funnier, too."
posted by waxpancake at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2001

The NYT critic certainly has a future in ghostwriting flatulent undergraduate English 101 essays.
posted by Skot at 10:30 AM on April 23, 2001

Seriously, though. Has anyone approached this film as perhaps an attempt for Tom Green to, uh, sort through some of his issues? I don't mean to openly speculate, but the fact that the "Freddy" character is "the way he is" as a result of childhood sexual molestation strikes me as pretty damn interesting. I'd be real interested in hearing someone do a psychoanalytic read of this film; that would get my attention more than the (subjective!) funny v. not funny debate.

Unless someone digs up such a take, I might need to go see this film...
posted by jbushnell at 12:08 PM on April 23, 2001

Skot is dead on. Let us also not forget that Drew Barrymore is the reason the Charlie's Angels movie was all karate chops and no guns, because Drew thinks Guns Are Bad.
posted by aaron at 1:54 PM on April 23, 2001

jbushnell: no such insight. the "fingered" character is his brother, Freddy - and he uses it as an excuse to get his dad in trouble.

and yes, i still thought it was funny.

different beat + different drummer * marching = me
posted by owillis at 3:45 PM on April 23, 2001

I happen to agree with Drew on that account, and it was one of the reasons I enjoyed the film. Totally unrealistic, but the original series was bogus too. C.A. the movie was a fun roller coaster.

However, the subjectivity of funny v. not funny should not be used as a dismissal of the debate. Perhaps questioning Tom Green's comedic talent is not enough to keep JBushnell's attention, but critical examination of humor is as ancient as humor itself. Green's going for shock. That's obvious. It's a dangerous road to take. It's also the most alluring to many comedians. It's much easier to get those initial nervous titters from an audience and try to work from there, than to start by relating to the audience on simple matters and then build into wild and exagerrated possibilities.

Bill Cosby would always start with material that his audience could relate to. Anything from childhood memories to day-to-day family occurrences. From that he would slowly introduce extreme images until he painted in an audience's mind pictures better than anything Industrial Light and Magic could ever accomplish. Richard Pryor started wherever he felt like it, and introduced profanity and adult situations to literally bring his audience into a fervor of hilarity, but it was all based on those nervous titters, often leaving the audience feeling.. well, uncomfortable. George Garlin is phenomenal because he dances between the familiar and the shocking, like a medieval jester constantly under his King's mighty sword. The trick is to keep the audience laughing. So long as they are laughing, they don't step back and go, "ewww I'm laughing at THAT?"

Tom Green is, in comparison to these great modern humorists, a child playing with a loaded gun. In the generation where I grew up, Monty Python and Saturday Night Live caused my parents concern, but they spoke to me. In the generation to come after mine, the fourteenth generation of America, the one historians will probably call "The Millenium Generation," they will find individuals like Tom Green speaking to them, for good or ill. The same generation which made the movie American Pie popular. If they can sneak in, they'll make this one popular too. ...I'll copypaste the imdb studio brief below. The link given is not permanent.

Kids Sneaking In To See Freddy?
The Toronto Sun reported today (Monday) that at one Toronto theater, teenagers familiar with the layout bought tickets "in droves" for Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles because they knew the screening room was located directly opposite the one for Freddy Gets Fingered. Despite the fact that, as the newspaper noted, the Freddy screening room was being guarded "like Sûreté du Quebec at the [Summit of the Americas] trade conference," some teenagers reportedly succeeded in gaining entrance to the Freddy screenings.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:09 PM on April 23, 2001

I would put Bill Hicks up there with Carlin.

As for the film under discussion, I haven't seen it, but I don't believe tastelessness alone has ever been an obstacle to commercial success in this country. As they say on Wall Street, nobody's gone broke underestimating the American consumer.
posted by johnb at 4:35 PM on April 23, 2001

johnb: That was a quote from H.L. Mencken, not anyone on Wall Street. "No one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
posted by raysmj at 10:02 PM on April 23, 2001

raysmj: thanks. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know the source for that one. (They do say it on Wall Street though!)
posted by johnb at 10:16 PM on April 23, 2001

I was wondering how Crocodile Dundee managed to bring in so much money. That quote explains things nicely, Zach. Thanks. :-)
posted by cCranium at 6:34 AM on April 24, 2001

"Like it or not," says A.O. Scott of the New York Times, "he's an artist....Mr. Green is less an actor than a persona, and he resolutely refuses to mark the boundaries of his imposture or to resort to the winking, supercilious pseudo-irony that remains the default setting for so much second-rate pop culture." Some parts of the film, Scott argues, "are at once rigorous and chaotic, idiotic and brilliant," and may very well belong in the Museum of Modern Art.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times suggests that "the film fails in its attempt to be funny and entertaining, but it is certain to become a cult item, and Scott's review is defensible. He may have been moved by its sheer brazen boldness....On the other hand, James Berardinelli, the respected Web-based critic, wrote, 'I have gotten better entertainment value from a colonoscopy.' That review no doubt inspired Tom Green to slap his forehead and exclaim, 'The colonoscopy! I forgot to put in the colonoscopy!'"

But make up your own mind. That's what it's there for.
posted by UnReality at 9:18 AM on May 19, 2001

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