Movie of the Day – Joe Dirt

Before we all chastise me for my movie selection today, I just want to plead my case.  While I may make myself out t be this bastion of movie civility and pride myself on picking up on the small, memorable films out there, I too enjoy the occasional romp into the absurd with movies like this.  Sure it panders to the lowest common denominator, but we all like to slum it some days.  I certainly like to dabble in the absurd and Joe Dirt is one of those movie.  But while I have been hounded by a pixie haired woman about writing a post on her favorite movie, I can’t help but feel compelled to please my adoring fans or harshest critics.

So before I am to write about Joe Dirt, I had to rethink about the movie itself.  To pick some of the jewels of a movie that has a scene in which the protagonist is covered in shit.  I guess life shitting on him at every turn is taken to the literal actualization.  But there is something familiar about the movie, something that just screams to me that I have seen a movie like this before.  Then it hit me.  Joe Dirt is the modern American remake of Robert Zemeckis’s film, Forrest Gump.  Don’t believe me?  Let me show you.

As the title character of Joe Dirt, David Spade plays a “white trash” janitor at an L.A. radio station, whose mullet hairdo is just one of many personal oddities that make him the object of much ridicule. And the sanitation gig is just the most recent of Joe’s many incarnations during a tumultuous life, which got off on the wrong foot when Joe was abandoned at the Grand Canyon by his parents as a young child. After stumbling into the on-air studio, Joe steadily recounts the sad and comical story of how he cared for himself and journeyed around the country trying to relocate his family, all while being prodded, teased, and eventually embraced by a sarcastic deejay (Dennis Miller) and a rapt listening audience. His travels involve stints selling fireworks, wrangling alligators, riding aloft in a car dealership display balloon, and being held captive by a Silence of the Lambs-style serial killer. Despite numerous setbacks and bruising physical injuries, Joe emerges from each episode with his spirit intact as he searches optimistically for his roots, and eventually for the chance to return to the one place he was accepted — a rural farm where the girl of his dreams (Brittany Daniel) awaits. ~ Derek Armstrong, Rovi

A man, cast out of societies eyes, meant to take on life’s journey alone and all the while getting himself into unique situations and meeting people that he helps change for the better.  You know, Dirt and Forrest are a lot alike.  While each have some form of a fractured life and the family dynamic are at opposite ends of the spectrum, both movies boil down to a journey with a happy life at the end.  Joe Dirt has been cast aside by his parents after a trip to the Grand Canyon.  He is left wondering what happened to them all those years ago and begins a journey across America to track them down.  We learn about this journey through the story Joe tells at a radio station and the host of the morning showed played by Dennis Miller.  This mirrors much of the initial story line of Forrest Gump.  Gump a a broken child due to his disability, is raised by a single mother after his father leaves and Gump reminisces about his life and where he is at on his journey to random people who happen to sit next to him at a bus stop.  While the conversation is one to one for Gump, Joe’s personal storytelling is done to a handful of people, but the reach is wider in a modern, technological age.

While the way they tell their stories are similar in concept, it is the diverging paths that their lives take that separates them as individuals.  Sure, Gump is a slow man, but the his influence on the pop culture of the time and the amazing accomplishments he strives for all have an impact on the people he meets.  While Gump has a more reputable list of historical and important figures, Joe Dirts list of encounters are almost similar in their characterizations.  Take Lt. Dan and Kickin Wing, both come from a certain lineage, one a war veteran and the other a fireworks salesman.  Each have an aspiration to be something more in life.  Lt. Dan, played by Gary Sinise, is meant to die in the Vietnam War as his father and the fathers before him have all died in every major combat.  Kickin Wing, played by Adam Beach, is stuck working at the fireworks stand, hoping to one day be a Veterinary, but is stuck selling fireworks.  Both believe that their life lines will not deviate from the plan.  Lt. Dan was saved by Gump, altering his timeline and fulfilling something greater in life other than dying in a war.  He joins Gump on the shrimp boat, gets new legs and eventually finds happiness with a new wife.  All thanks to Gumps intervention.  Joe Dirt altered Kickin Wing’s life by telling him to follow his dreams to become a veterinarian.  If Dirt didn’t come across him on his journey, he would still be selling snakes and sparklers.

Whether you realize it or not, you are watching an alternate version of Forrest Gump.  The interpersonal struggles and chance meetings on their journeys might differ in subject matter, but the impact is the same.  Even the love life that each experience in their respective movies is similar.  Brandy is the country gal of Dirt’s dreams or so he comes to realize at the tail end of the movie.  She is the final tie to Joe’s life that calls him back when things don’t turn out the way he wants.  Brandy is Jenny in terms of Forrest Gump, as Jenny is the childhood friend of Gump and her life is always on his mind as he travels throughout the decades.  Both Gump and Jenny’s lives are intertwined as they meet in each decade of their life until Gump and Jenny settle down to start their family.  Brandy and Joe do the same at the end of the movie, even having a little mulleted child of their own.

Yes I realize that this is psychotic in nature when I just spent the entirety of this post comparing the similarities between the two movies.  I am not saying that Joe Dirt is this generations Forrest Gump, but holy shit are they similar.  This just has to fuck with your mind a little bit.  I will admit that this movie is about as cheesy and corny as it can get.  I admit, I like poop and fart jokes as much as the next person, but this movie takes it to the literal realization of poop jokes.  Through all the muck and mullet sculpting, this movie is entertaining in a Saturday afternoon sort of way.  It is a triumph of the human spirit.  One that both Gump and Dirt come to at the end of their life’s journey.  To quote Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never what you’re going to get.”  To steal a simpler line from Joe Dirt, “Life’s a garden.  Dig it!”  You see!  Two life philosophies from similar characters.

Watch the movie if you want an easy laugh.  Watch this movie and Forrest Gump simultaneously to understand the chaos I experienced writing this post.  Actually, synching them up to play at the same time might be our generations Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon synch myth.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

3 Responses to Movie of the Day – Joe Dirt

  1. Frank Bishop says:

    I heard he shoved a road flare up your bunghole.

    Love this movie. Haha.

  2. Dear Anotherplotdevice,
    Along the same lines,, Now that the Halloween period is just close to the corner, a lot of Halloween fanatics will identify their personal versions of entertaining. The celebration-likely ghouls will most probably get themselves into a bloodthirsty frenzy by likely to the most occurring celebrations in town. The very little terrors will possibly be occupied trick or dealing with and lovers of the new music of the night time will without doubt be at their native gothic rock or chamber new music live shows. But what is left for the video clip loving vamp and the film-loving freaks to do? Why go on a motion picture marathon of training course!
    Keep up the posts!

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