Jackass Movies Ranked

When MTV first aired their pseudo-stunt show by the name of ‘Jackass’ in the year 2000, few could have predicted quite what a behemoth of both culture and the box office this low budget digitally-recorded series would become. It’s fair to say that this group of fraternity-like brethren from the wrong side of the tracks turned shit into gold… literally.

Having made over $370million to date from a combined budget of just $47million, earning a staggering sixteen times their budget from their first film alone ($80million from a $5million cost), Jackass has proven itself a popular franchise, audiences far and wide paying their hard earned money to witness some goofs goofing around and hurting themselves for an hour and a half every four years (barring of course the twelve year wait between Jackass 3 and Jackass Forever).

Led by captain and producer Johnny Knoxville – and directed in each of their feature instalments by Jeff Tremaine (The Dirt) – Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Preston Lacy, Dave England and Ehren McGhehey have broken, branded, tattooed and laughed their way into the hearts of millions over the past two decades plus.

In this edition of Ranked, we at The Film Magazine are looking to the Jackass crew’s four feature releases (discounting .5 offerings which are effectively director’s cuts) to rank each based on how many laughs they offer, how many times they make us cringe, their importance to the ‘Jackass’ brand, their cinematic qualities, their critical reception and their audience perception, for this: the Jackass Movies Ranked.

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4. Jackass 3 (2010)

Though inevitably less offensive than some of its predecessors given the increased financial investment of its studio and western culture’s evolution over the eight years since the first film, Jackass 3 (or Jackass 3D as it was originally known) was a lot of fun but somewhat stifled by the group’s heightened fame; the public pranks they once so gleefully intersected with gross-out stunts proving less present than in previous entries.

As was the case with many of the films of the time, each inspired by Avatar’s record-shattering performance at the global box office in 2009, Jackass attached itself too firmly to the concept of 3D, offering visuals that in the modern day of 2D-acceptance look less interesting, the gimmick infringing on the overall experience.

In no place is this more evident than in the film’s list of highlights, which features far fewer memorable moments than any of the other four films. “Sweatsuit cocktail”, a stunt in which overweight performer Preston Lacey sweated into cling film which was drained into a cup and then downed by fellow performer Steve-O, is a highlight, as is Steve-O’s bungee-portaloo (and the resulting carnage), but the titbits of joy that could be found in Jackass: The Movie and Jackass Number Two were lacking here (even in spite of Johnny Knoxville’s increased visibility as a producer), and as such so was a large portion of the heart that made each of these characters so lovable.

Recommended for you: 10 Best Jackass 3 Moments

3. Jackass: Number Two (2006)

Perhaps best remembered for the debut of Johnny Knoxville’s Irving Zisman, aka the Bad Grandpa from director Jeff Tremaine’s Bad Grandpa which would debut 7 years later in 2013, and for featuring arguably the most penis-based skits of the whole franchise up until Jackass Forever, this 2006 Jackass film featured slightly fewer public-fooling skits than the first film and only some of the typically grotesque humour that the group had become known for, though it was notably less memorable and presented a racially insensitive brown-face skit towards its finale that has certainly dated this appropriately titled sequel.

The cinematic aspects of the Jackass concept had certainly improved from the first movie, some very high quality sequences intersecting the usual low budget shenanigans, but it seemed in Jackass 2 that the group were trying hard to be as daredevil and off the rails as they once were, rather than it coming as naturally as it undoubtedly did in 2002. If any of the Jackass films felt like it was toned down to appease concerned executives, this was it.

Being John MalkovichAdaptation and Her filmmaker Spike Jonze returned as producer on this film, this time also taking the on-screen role of a horny grandma in a “90 year old slut” skit that featured him parading around in prosthetics, teasing innocent bystanders with his fake breasts. Meanwhile, the central cast became subjects of a four-way see-saw placed in a bull ring, each of them trying (and ultimately failing) to escape the brunt force of a charging bull. This sequel four years in the making was like Jackass: The Movie, only the skits were longer and less relatable to real life, losing some of the appeal that drove viewers to the concept in the first place.

It was good, but the next two films are classics (in their own unique way)…

Recommended for you: 10 Best Jackass Number Two Moments

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