Jul 24, 2010

Freddy Got Fingered

Freddy Got Fingered is such a singularly caustic, anarchic pipebomb of surreal tastelessness it is a crying shame many will simply relegate it to the dustbin of recent pop cultural history wherein the rest of Tom Green's career resides. Whatever the merits of Green's love-him-or-hate-him persona, however unavoidable was the refrain of "my bum is on your..." in the summer of '99, whether or not it is fair to blame (or pity) him for the subsequent success of Jackass (which utilized many of the most notable elements of Green's MTV show- parental abuse, skateboarding, and go-for-broke gross-out gags- while in turn dropping the more challenging, surreal aspects in favor of giggly teen boy fauxmoroticism), there is no denying that for a few glorious weeks in 2001, cinema audiences the nation over were treated within minutes of the opening credits of a major studio produced comedy the sight of a man so inspired by a glimpse of an erect equine cock that he stops his car, hops a fence, and jiggles and jerks the massive member with eye-rolling glee. Why does he do this? Why not? Like the early punk anthems that form much of the film's soundtrack, Freddy Got Fingered blasts by on a pure, unadulterated urge to shock with a manic pace that never lets up.

Green directs himself as Gordy, a 28-year old sociopathic manchild who dreams of nothing more than to see his senseless doodles translated into small screen success. Gordy's dad (Rip Torn!) wants nothing more than for Gordy to follow the example of his younger brother Freddy and get a job and move out of the house. In the struggles of wills that ensues we are invited to witness Rip Torn bare his ass while goading Green to fuck him (which manages to somehow be far more horrifying than an earlier scene of Green cutting open and then prancing about in the carcass of a dead deer), the hilarity that ensues when Gordy falsely accuses his dad of molesting said younger brother (hence the title), a cloyingly cute child actor brutalized in increasingly-violent turns of fate, Gordy licking a friend's open leg wound, Gordy delivering a baby against the mother's will (biting the umbilical chord with his teeth and swinging the gore-drenched stillborn around his head to revive it), and a pachyderm sperm-soaked reconciliation between father and son that must rank in Rip Torn's mind as the absolute nadir of a once-promising career.

In Roger Ebert's scathing indictment of a review he rightly recognizes that "the day may come when Freddy Got Fingered is seen as a milestone of neo-surrealism" while going on to add "The day may never come when it is seen as funny." On that count, I would have to disagree- the humor in the film is well-balanced between Green's off-the-cuff weirdo asides, scatological mania, and a more successful go at the politically incorrect humor of, say, a Troma flick. The only reason my laughs were muted throughout was that my jaw was dropping at unprecedented rates, not just in terms of how genuinely disgusting much of the imagery was, but in the utter strangeness of scenes like Gordy rigging a sausage-pulley system to his fingers so he can play off-tune piano, eat breakfast and draw at the same time, or when an attempted blowjob is delayed by the discovery of a piece of umbilical cord duct-taped to his stomach. Werner Herzog fell over himself praising Harmony Korine for the piece of bacon taped above the bathtub in Gummo, but what of the umbilical cord taped to Green's stomach? It's a shame Werner never got a load of this one; not unlike Gummo, this is the work of an artist burning to tell a tale as only he can tell it, a purging of deep-seated weirdness and fantastic imagery that will never be equalled in his oeuvre. Hollywood chewed Green up and spit him out into the made-for-tv children's comedies and reality game show hell we've forged for those who are no longer relevant, but frankly Freddy Got Fingered is as succinct and subversive a statement as the guy will ever make, so fuck it. Why not?

Lastly, one can't review Freddy Got Fingered without mention of Green's love interest Betty (Marisa Coughland), perhaps the most perfect female specimen to ever grace the big-screen: an endlessly supportive, blowjob-obsessed, wheelchair-bound doctor/amateur rocket-scientist who loves nothing more than being beat in her useless legs with a bamboo stick (to orgasm). "But Gord, I don't care about jewels, I just want to suck your cock." Through what mad alchemy did Green arrive at a girl that exemplifies the very ethos of Soiled Sinema?



Phantom of Pulp said...

Fuck, yes! A great review that recognizes the genius of this flick. I saw it with my brother at the cinema and we were "saved" by its anarchic beauty. The scene where Torn begs Green to fuck him is something I will never forget, and whenever I see Torn in anything else, this scene comes spurting back.

Scumbalina said...

wow, I haven't thought about this movie since middle school. I always liked Tom Green but always knew he was destined to fall hard. At least he rubbed this one out before that day inevitably came.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Marisa Coughland (as she was in 1992 when she was 18, not as she is now obviously). By the way, DEATH TO ALL PANSY QUEER BASTARDS.