THIS FILM IS A TREASURE
Why is there such a shortage of comedies? Sometimes you wonder about things like that, and that particular question pops into my mind quite often. One answer could be that there is a shortage of comedians. It would be necessary to see… perhaps… perhaps now there are indeed fewer of those essential beings than in other, not so stupid, not so dumb times, with greater capacity for abstraction… but even in the mud of a world that has decided that it is not important to understand what a percentage is, it is important to understand what a percentage is to be able to comment on percentages… if one searches… he shall find… and not only comedians but also… comedies! And also those made for cinema. Yes: there are still comedy films, and even copies so exotic that in some countries they were released in movie theaters, those that we miss as much as comedies.
That is to say, there are comedies; what there is is nothing else, or other things. When you find yourself – a little by chance and a little by assiduously reviewing Mike Judge’s filmography on IMDb – with a movie like Action Point, directed by Tim Kirkby, you realize that the problem is another, they are other, even more serious ones. Almost no one saw Action Point, it was not appreciated by “The American Critics” – it was treated like shit, as if it were shit – and it went around less than the tit that someone on Instagram “displayed in excess” (?), a lot less. And Action Point is, I assure you with the power of having proudly defended Jackass 3D against those who defended Haneke’s The White Ribbon, something close to a movie to have as reference, to watch again. We could say that it is a treasurable asset, a treasure; I am fed up with the abuse of the term “masterpiece”, and so are the critical consensuses that reveal less genuine agreement than an alarming lack of personality and growing stupidity.
Action Point has Mike Judge as one of its writers, and Johnny Knoxville as factotum. Knoxville started the movie, he is the main responsible, the heart of the ideas and their executions: the one who saw a short documentary on Action Park and realized that there was the story to tell today, or two years ago, so that it remains relevant today and increasingly crucial to the future.
Action Point is:
- A story about how humor connected better with the audience and with criticism in the times when there was something called “personal responsibility”. And that criticism existed.
- A celebration of physical skill and sovereign decisions about one’s body.
- A Dionysiac feast of vertigo, risk, blows, Buster Keaton, the gag, the gag, the gag, the joke, a drunk bear, comic crafts in the highest sense and much much much more.
- A demonstration that an amusement park – as it was said before, when fun was not a bad word – in which what happens is a mess and a racket and a jumble can be filmed with remarkable elegance and virtuosity: This Mr. Kirkby is someone who knows the length of the shot and the depth of field.
- A new temptation to resurrect André Bazin and find out what he thinks of this film, because the humor here is Bazinian from the heart, and realism. Bazin would be with us, the defenders of Action Point and not with you, the defenders of the decadence – not decadentism, hopefully – of Pedro Costa’s recent cinema. Bazin is dead and cannot disprove us, but we can reread his texts.
- A film that Pauline Kael could have defended because of its art of comical blow and wound, and she also knew how to defend the art of the curse. Kael is also dead.
- A film that, from its bear, from its house on the western border and from its dusty environment connects with one of the best films of the dirty, rotten, fed up and festive seventies of American cinema: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, directed by John Huston with a screenplay by John Milius, and starring Paul Newman, Ava Garner, Stacy Keach and a bear. Milius and Keach are still alive. I don’t know about the bear.
- A film that connects with Clint Eastwood’s last ones, due to the clear and moving exposition of the Knoxville legacy, which takes more risks than almost all the criticism of these times to criticize the world around it. And that takes risks with forms of tremendous plasticity and resistance (the buzzword is resilience; enough buzzwords).
- A film that, when speaking of an art and a world that is lost to make way for pasteurization and the lack of risk of the lowest common denominator, connects with Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt and Casino, by Martin Scorsese.
- A film that brings together two of the best cinematographic thinkers of this century: Mike Judge and Johnny Knoxville. Yes, two comedians. Obviously, they are comedians: they are resistance to a world that increasingly hates humor and comedy, which is heading, swiftly, idiotically, and stupidly to ban jokes, to censor freedom, to take care of ourselves so that we don’t jump so high, so we don’t get hit. Knoxville defends our right to jump and send everyone to have an enema. Thanks, Johnny.