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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Things not worth doing done exceptionally well

    Things not worth doing done exceptionally well

    This is Hollywood. OK, so there is grit, but even that is sparkly. Out the 10th-story window of the Roosevelt Hotel, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Kodak Theatre sit, bored between gold-lined granite stars, vendors peddling “”Hollywood””-emblazoned everything, and less-than-subtle pickpockets groping for anything that can be pawned or spent. The iconic sign blazes right through them, searching for the best bodies, the highest minds.

    The street corner sports a Hello Kitty and a BatWoman. But the hotel pool is ringed with palm trees and dimpled with the kind of memory-foam raft that costs $150 plus shipping from SkyMall. Girls in garter-pinched thigh-highs, rolled down combat boots, and real diamonds move their slow SoCal stares to the loner in a white tuxedo and foot-high mohawk — but only for a second. Behind the decked-out punk sit Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and most of the “”Jackass”” crew.

    Remarkably, they’re sitting and only sitting. No one’s testicles are in jeopardy and no one is up on the balcony, cheesing for a camera in a thong. But this is still Hollywood, and as these “”as themselves”” actors filter in and out of the grandiose conference rooms drowning in 4 p.m. sunlight. Public relations representatives carry their Budweisers and toss their empty G&Ts.

    Along with Knoxville, Margera and Steve-O, come Chris Pontius, Jason Acuña, Ryan Dunn, Preston Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey and director Jeff Tremaine, all in shifts, all dwarfed by the scale of Roosevelt’s historic Blossom Room, which so starkly sets off their tattoos.

    Of all the institutions of excess in Hollywood, “”Jackass”” may be the most unswerving. The same “”fuck it””-themed commitment one imagines it might take to request two tattoos of your own face and one of a dripping penis (ahem, Steve-O), is present in the “”Jackass”” tradition; it is 100 percent what it is.

    If these wild men are entropy incarnate, hoping for laughs and to help disorder prevail, “”Jackass 3D”” is the cast caught succeeding.

    Tremaine seems to agree. “”If you get a bunch of chimpanzees and put them together with video cameras and magic’s gonna happen,”” he said.

    “”Who’s gotten laid on this trip?”” Steve-O has entered the Blossom Room in a state of post-rehab alertness his colleagues appear to lack.

    This newfound sobriety has improved his on-set performance, Tremaine says. “”Dread is something so important … it made him better than ever.””

    (Any reason’s a good reason).

    Knoxville and Margera wander in next, full of intensity and jewelry, respectively. They say they knew it was time for a third “”Jackass”” when enough ideas got faxed in.

    “”We wait till we have a stack of ideas about this high,”” Margera said, stretching his thumb and forefinger to it’s 6-inch capacity.

    Knoxville: “”We have a stack of ideas that high now.””

    Margera: “”Really?””

    Knoxville: “”Yeah.””

    Margera: “”Sheesh.””

    “”Sheesh,”” because according to Tremaine, “”it takes about four years to recover”” from every six to seven months of filming it takes to crank out a movie.

    During that time, it seems, no one on set is without constant fear.

    “”I’ll go to my parents’ house,”” Tremaine said, “”and I know no one is trying to kick me in the dick or nothing’s going to drop from the ceiling, but I just cover my nuts and if someone moves quick behind me, I’m like ‘What!'””

    With your worst fears waiting for you at every turn, it’s hard to imagine getting comfortable. Margera, for one, attested to this, recounting his “”accidental”” plunge into a pit of snakes. Though much of what we see in the final version is staged — think superglue plus belly hair and butts painted green as part of dioramas — a good amount of the chaos resulted from guerilla-style pranks.

    Steve-O was one of many on set to get “”Rockied”” with water and a boxing glove to the face.

    “”I didn’t know I was doing a stunt when Bam (Margera) broke my nose,”” Steve-O said, “”but it would’ve been nice to have the camera on.””

    No doubt about it — here, chaos prevails.  

    Though they’re occasionally grounded, supporting Steve-O’s sobriety and discussing the best ways to deal with worried wives and girlfriends, the group is clearly in Neverland. Pontius serenades the table with a ukulele throughout the Q&A session, and the surlier cast members manage to sulk during England’s cracks about Margera’s two Lamborghinis outnumbering the others’ toy ones and McGhehey’s coroner father.

    This is, evidently, the best of all possible cities for “”Jackass.”” A flashing line of theaters or a Blossom Room might not contrast with Steve-O’s tattoos or Margera’s jewelry as much as one might first think; with Rococo and inked sleeves, it’s a display of excess: things not worth doing done exceptionally well.

    Dunn sheds quintessential “”Jackass”” insight on the issue: “”It’s either die now or die boring later.””

    But I’ll just repeat the words of Margera: “”Sheesh.””

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