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86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companions, his 8 year-old Grandson Billy in "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa".
For more about Bad Grandpa and the Bad Grandpa Blu-ray release, see Bad Grandpa Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 16, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Writer: Spike Jonze
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Jackson Nicoll, Jack Polick, Catherine Keener, Georgina Cates
» See full cast & crew
Bad Grandpa Blu-ray Review
Don't let grandma watch it.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 16, 2014
The Oscar nominations were released this morning, and the various slots were filled with the expected high profile suspects earning several nods. The list is filled with honors for titles like Captain Phillips, Gravity, Nebraska, and American Hustle, but scroll on down the list, past all the nominations for directors and supporting actors and editors and discover a single title that might stick out like a sore thumb from the rest. That title is Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. And it's not really even a surprise. Stephen Prouty's old man makeup makeover of Actor Johnny Knoxville is really quite something else, a practical special effects sale job for the ages. Of his nomination, Prouty said, "What we achieved with this makeup was so exciting and unique. To witness the public being convinced that they were interacting with a real 86 yr. old man every day, over 10 months of shooting, was undoubtedly the highlight of my career." Makeup recipient Johnny Knoxville said, "What an honor that Stephen Prouty got nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa. Am I as stunned as everyone else we didn't get the nod for Best Picture? Well of course, duh, but I won't let that take away from my happiness for Steve, Tony Gardner, and our whole makeup team. Wahoo!" Knoxville's right; the makeup is deserving though the film is not, but here's hoping Knoxville was at least considered for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in the film, too. Coming through that makeup is a hilariously grotesque performance, a thoroughly convincing romp of zaniness and stupidity that's certainly not the prim and proper sort from more artful productions that often attract the Academy, but it is a fully developed characterization of a potty-mouthed and ill-mannered old man the likes of which the screen has never seen before, created with both makeup and acting that only a few people could produce to this degree of success.
Young Billy's (Jackson Nicoll) crack-addicted mother has been sentenced to another prison term. His grandfather Irving (Knoxville) is tasked with transporting him from the Midwest to Raleigh, North Carolina where is father, who is more interested in the $600 government check he'll receive than he is his son, awaits. Irving's wife has just died, freeing him and his "friend" Leroy to make the cross-half-country trip after his attempt to mail his grandson to the Tar Heel state fails. Along the way, Irving teaches Billy the ropes of manhood, showing him how to pick up girls, steal, and get away with general buffoonery. As the trip progresses, the two develop an unlikely bond. Can Irving leave his grandson with an uncaring parent, or will his conscience get the best of him and demand the boy be returned to his custody?
Bad Grandpa is a welcome and much-needed departure from the usual Jackass shenanigans. The rather stale formula that saw the crew simply partake in a series of preplanned events and tomfoolery is here replaced by a core structure, certainly a very loose core structure that's the epitome of a "frame" in which the action may take place, but a core nonetheless that gives a bit of weight to the skits. The picture is comprised of "spy cam" footage and more traditional shots captured, presumably, from some distance or somehow cloaked from the unsuspecting people, everyone from fast-food employees to lady's night strip club attendees. The humor is situational, not usually forced, and is comprised of absurd scenarios in which "grandpa" interacts with unwitting co-stars who, to their credit, often take it all in stride unless there's something seriously amiss, such as when "grandpa" openly steals from a grocery store or plows over a restaurant's oversized parking lot mascot. The movie is at its best when folks yuk it up with "grandpa" at the bingo hall or the hot dog stand, but it's side-splitting hilarious most everywhere. Wherever the action goes, hilarity always follows and the film never misses a beat.
At the same time, the movie can be rather tasteless, and it has no qualms about exposing artificial penises and testicles for all the audience to see. There are plenty of fart and poop jokes, too, enough to really turn off most anyone whose mind isn't fully open to this brand of comedy. Yet these are but some sophomoric bumps in the road on the way to a refreshingly open Comedy that really works. The true success comes not in joke specifics but rather how well Knoxville sells those jokes. He's fully convincing in everything he does, whether playing senile, hitting on every woman he meets, tossing around a "dead body," or blending up a margarita at the bingo hall. That Oscar-nomiated makeup helps sell the illusion and nobody is any the wiser for it. What more could truly define the term "convincing performance?" Knoxville's little co-star is nearly as special. Jackson Nicoll pulls off every joke, from clinging to a random man on the street and calling him "dad" to naming an adult novelty store employee "Cinnamon" and labeling her a stripper. They're the perfect Comedy duo, finding success at every stop on the way to Raleigh. The "Road Trip" movie may never be the same again.
Bad Grandpa Blu-ray, Video Quality
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa isn't built for pretty Blu-ray imagery. Paramount's 1080p transfer comes sourced from a variety of low-end and middle-range HD video sources, none of which look great, some of which (i.e. the most "hidden" of the hidden cameras) present downright soft, blurry, noisy pictures. At its best, the transfer reveals a glossy and flat but stable image, showcasing nicely defined details and accurate colors. Still, the image is often hindered by a plethora of nitpick annoyances, including jagged edges and scattered aliasing. Obviously, the production here is secondary to the performance and the footage. The filmmakers place the camera where they can, and use what equipment will fit there. Demanding more than this would be asking for the impossible.
Bad Grandpa Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa features a fairly bland DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. As with the video, audio is limited to what hidden microphones can pick up, save for some overlay music which plays with punchy energy but not pinpoint clarity or smooth, even spacing or precision surround support. Dialogue comes through surprisingly well, sometimes lacking in balance but always presented neatly in the middle. Various sound effects come through well enough, obviously lacking lifelike precision and perfect low end support but playing well enough to replicate the environment. In-scene music, such as that heard at a strip club or a beauty pageant (including a Warrant song heard near the end), plays with decent energy and presence but is understandably muddled. The track isn't bad for what it is, and expectations should be set accordingly.
Bad Grandpa Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa contains a smattering of brief but entertaining and informative supplements.
Bad Grandpa Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa earned an Oscar nomination for its old man makeup, and should have also earned at least a few minutes' worth of debate over at the Academy for Johnny Knoxville's hilarious performance that's helped, but not made, by the equally amazing makeup work. Sure the movie is absurd and, frankly, rather gross at times, but the lead performance is something else altogether, a real gem and proof that even potty-mouthed Comedy can be acted to the same level of precision and performance sophistication as in films with more serious stories and characters. The movie isn't for everyone, but mature audiences will discover an oftentimes uproariously funny picture that's easily the best in the Jackass series. Paramount's Blu-ray release of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa features bland video and audio. A few interesting extras are included. Recommended.
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Bad Grandpa Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, Feb. 3-9: Bad Grandpa and Escape Plan Vie for Top ... - February 13, 2014
For the week that ended on February 9th, Paramount's Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa rose to the top of the Blu-ray-only media ranking. Despite mediocre critical notices, the raunchy, semi-improvised farce netted Paramount a huge profit. Bad Grandpa cost an estimated ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: Bad Grandpa - January 28, 2014
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering three members the opportunity to win a copy of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. One grand prize winner will receive a Blu-ray signed by Johnny Knoxville and a Dickhouse sweatshirt; two runners-up will receive ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: January 28-February 4 - January 26, 2014
For the week of January 28th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment streets Ron Howard's Rush on Blu-ray. Other titles include Paramount's Jackass spinoff Bad Grandpa, the 3D rock documentary Metallica: Through the Never, and HBO's season four and complete series ...
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