Freddy Got Fingered is NOT a bad movie. On this edition of ‘In Defense of Bad Movies That Aren’t so Bad‘, I break down why fans should give Tom Green’s 2001 abstract comedic masterpiece a second look nearly 20 years after it caused the mainstream downfall of a Canadian entertainment icon.
Gord Brody (Tom Green) is a struggling cartoonist trying to pitch an animated show to Hollywood executives. When he fails, he returns to his hometown with no choice but to live with his parents and younger brother, Freddy (Eddie Kaye Thomas). His father (Rip Torn) doesn’t approve of Gord’s career path, and pressures him to gain independence. As father and son exchange barbs, Gord comes up with a lie that changes everything: He claims his dad is molesting Freddy, leading to drastic consequences.
Who thinks it sucks?
Why it DOESN’T suck:
If it weren’t for the manic, bizarre and outlandish comedy of Canadian funnyman Tom Green, we wouldn’t have Jackass, we wouldn’t have Tim and Eric Awesome Show and we sure as Hell wouldn’t have progressed the genre into new and strange territory to challenge the audience like we have over 17 years since the release of Freddy Got Fingered. The 2001 film is the culmination and subsequent “finale” of Tom Green’s mainstream success. After Green wrapped his cult classic Tom Green Show, which debuted in the early 90’s mind you — LOOONG before Jackass was blowing up MTV, the Canadian performer put everything on the line with his infamous directorial effort Freddy Got Fingered. The movie was DESTROYED by critics and many fans after it’s release (still garnering over 12,000,000 at the box office). I had been a fan of Green’s throughout his career, even loving his rap group ORGANIZED RHYME! — YES — Green can actually rap. So when Freddy Got Fingered hit theaters, I embraced the chaos when many others were turned off by the mayhem. If you watch a movie now from say, The Lonely Island, you’re going to get that same kind of crude and nonsensical humour that Green put on display decades before anyone else was brave enough to do so. Say what you will about his comedy and that’s OK because comedy is subjective, but Green in my opinion is the most important performer in this genre since Andy Kaufman.
So why do people think Freddy Got Fingered sucks? Maybe it’s because they couldn’t quite wrap their minds around such classic sequences where Green’s character Gord wears a fresh deer carcass and dances in the middle of the road for no reason, or how about that time he jerks off an elephant and douses his father with a wave of sperm? You know – that old gag… There is so much to get puzzled by – I understand… But the plot and emotional motivation behind Freddy Got Fingered is so brilliant and so clever that you have to just go with the chaotic flow. This is a film about getting off your ass and doing something with your life. Gord and his father constantly clash, occasionally in quite disturbing and violent fashion, because of Gord’s life goal in becoming an animator and how he’s deemed a disappointment because his brother Freddy wound up with a “real job”. The film actually starts off fairly “normal” until Gord’s dream is derailed and he’s forced to try and fit into society and settle for something he doesn’t actually want and therefore we witness several outlandish scenes of a man going literally insane trying to please everyone else except himself. Is it abstract and confusing most of the time? Absolutely. There is no reason for Gord to be playing a keyboard with sausages hooked up to the keys while he sings his father an original song titled, “Daddy would you like some sausage?”.
I totally understand if this kind of comedy isn’t your thing – it is progressive, strange and in 2001, there wasn’t much else out there in the mainstream that dared explore this type of outlandish humour. But how about the performances…. Rip Torn was a madman playing Green’s onscreen father. I don’t think he’s delivered a better performance in his entire career and I truly believe that. He played the most unhinged movie dad in the history of movie dads. Or how about Gord’s disabled girlfriend played by the brilliant Marisa Coughlin? Remember when Gord has to whack her legs with a cane so she can orgasm, but Gord gets so caught up in the moment that he smacks her in the face? I actually laughed outloud typing that last sentence. Harland Williams, Anthony Michael Hall — there are a ton of fantastic supporting performances in Freddy Got Fingered and I truly believe that everybody put their best foot forward while creating Green’s cult classic.
Tom Green had one more mainstream comedy film that came out after Freddy Got Fingered in 2002 called Stealing Harvard and it was the final nail in the comedian’s blockbuster coffin. Green tried resurrecting the Tom Green Show on MTV a few years later, but it was also cancelled due to low ratings. Since then he’s been enjoying a successful career in stand-up comedy and you can still catch him on his YouTube series via Webovision. You’ll see him from time to time in smaller roles or guest appearances, but he has not been able to recover and become a major leading man in the comedy film world anymore. I don’t know if Green cares, but I care and I think it’s bullshit. Tom Green is a comedic genius and a revolutionary who changed the game in 1994 when the Tom Green Show debuted and although his true final masterwork also signalled the end of that era, he helped pave the way for everyone else and that includes all that YouTube bullshit we laugh at every day while scrolling through our social feeds. Freddy Got Fingered is an underappreciated and misunderstood gem that everybody should take a second look at immediately. Thank you Tom Green.
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