The Jerk Unchained

And now for an occasional feature, The Jerk. He is not Simcha. He has not been here for a while. We would say he is back by popular demand, but that would be a lie. Please be warned, Sean Connery uses some very bad words in this piece.


Hi, I’m The Jerk. You might remember me from that time I ruined Simcha’s chances at a book deal. Lookit, there was a big bowl of mashed potatoes and it seemed like that kind of a party.

But most of you remember me for the hilarious and insightful movie reviews I used to post here. You remember, the ones you read the first couple of lines of, and then promptly unsubscribe from the blog, unfriended Simcha on Facebook, and then called the police to report seeing something disturbing on the Internet. I’m still dealing with that bail, Hallie.

When we last left off, I was obliged to write a review of Zardoz, Sean Connery and John Boorman’s completely stoned collaboration about a future world, and Sean’s penis. Well, unlike the Yentl disaster, I did watch the whole thing. And I did write a detailed and, in my opinion, funny review. But … you see … it was … kinda … well …



When even I think the jokes might be inappropriate, there is a problem. So, much like the true location of Walt Disney’s head (Space Mountain) that review will have to remain a secret.

In it’s place, I submit to you good people this classic:

Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man

Whoa Nelly.

First: Mickey Rourke. Did I mention Mickey Rourke? Pre-boxing Mickey Rourke? When he still looked like a human and not Bea Arthur without her makeup?

I coulda had 'em all, but the only one I wanted, the only one, Miss Angela Landsbury.

You may not remember, but there was a time when Mickey Rouke was not only a great actor, but a good looking leading man to boot. He was Brando without the weight. He was Jack Nicholson with hair. He was Steve Guttenburg, without being Steve Guttenburg.

I believe I have a coupon for that value meal.

Unfortunately for Mickey, the time when he was a celluloid god also happened to coincide with the period in American history during which cocaine was extremely popular. So, The Pope of Greenwich Village  came out in 1984, and by 1990, the Mickster needs a damn job. Enter, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, released in 1991, and set in the crazy future world of 1996, for no particular reason. Seriously, there is nothing in this crazy 1996 that makes you say, “Hey, that’s sure futuristic. How cool.”

What about me? These aren't natural! That's futuristic.

Yikes. Wayne’s World was the highlight. Who knew?

You wanna know what kind of movie you’re getting into? Lets run down the rest of the cast:

Don Johnson, as The Marlboro Man. That’s right, Sonny Crockett. Like David Duchovny, this guy can never be taken seriously in a movie not running on Cinemax After Dark. Not only does he stink of T.V., but, come on, Don Johnson? Doesn’t that sound dirty to you?

I was pretty big for a while.

Let’s not go there, Don.

Daniel Baldwin, as some sort of villain. I think the deal is he wears a super special bullet proof long coat. Though, I am pretty sure they wrote that in to hide his weight. Man, is this guy fat. We’re talking Biggest Loser fat. We’re talking Chris Christie on a bender fat. We’re talking Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock fat. How do you get known as The Fat Baldwin?

Because he loves his family!

Sorry, Alec.

Tom Sizemore as, um, some bad guy. Maybe the head bad guy? I’m pretty sure he was the villain. Yeah, definitely sure he was a bad guy. Definitely. I mean, how could he not be a villian? This guy was snorting coke and beating up hookers with Charlie Sheen back when Charlie Sheen was a washed up movie star. Now Charlie’s a washed up T.V. star, and Tom’s and ex-con!

My manager said you can't keep coming in with those phony coupons Mr. Guttenberg.

And Vanessa Williams as a singer in a night club. She gets really good billing in the credits, and has about a minute and a half of total screen time.

Wasn't I somebody once?

We all were, baby.

Crimeny. All you need is Norman Fell, and you got a very special episode of The Love Boat.

When do we land in Alcapulco?

Can it, Fell.

This movie has all the parts to be a silly, fun action spectacular, but it never comes off. There are a lot of little choices the filmamkers made, such as using the off-brand Baldwin, that leave this a flabby and dull movie. Maybe my standards are too high.

I could blame director Simon Wincher, the man who brought us Free Willy. But he also made The Phantom, and I still dig that movie.

No, you could blame Simon.

Nice tights.

Our story opens with Rourke’s Harley Davisdson riding from Dallas to L.A. on his, um, Harley Davidson, while Bon Jovi’s Wanted: Dead or Alive plays over the credits. And it’s all down hill from there.

Mickey meets up with Don Johnson playing pool with an Indian  (Am I wrong about this name?) He’s called the Marlboro Man cause, he, uh, looks like the Marlboro Man and always have an unlit cigarette in his mouth.

So, the level of writing may not be that high. I think there are some stabs at profundity in the movie. Rourke’s character wanders the back roads looking for a vague kind of God. Johnson’s character is still dealing with his relationship with his now dead father. Hey… and Rourke doesn’t drink, but smoke’s like a fish … and Johnson is trying to quit smoking … Crap. This is an AA movie.

It works if you work it.

But are you worth it?

The boys need something like $2 million to save their favorite blues bar from a greedy bank, run by Sizemore. So, naturally, they decide to rob the bank to come up with the money. And then, get this, instead of cash, the armored car they rob is full of drugs. Some sort of futuristic drug that you put in your eyes. That’s when the bank sends in the Daniel Baldwin-led goons to get the drugs back. Ugh.

If you feel you’ve seen a movie with this kind of plot before, you have, just not staged as lazily as this. The thing that really bugs me is not the canned story lines, but the dropped story lines. We get some references to this new eye drug, and that’s pretty much about it. We get the sense the future is a little on the Mad Max side of things, but except for everybody living like they’re in a bad movie, we don’t see what this future is like.  We know Mickey’s character is pinning for a lost love, but we don’t know if she died, or left for another man, or got just sick of hearing him talk about Step 2.

There are gun fights, a pretty cool stunt of them jumping off that hotel in Vegas and landing the that pool you’ve seen in a bunch of other movies, and an extended sub-plot involving Don Johnson’s love life (a movie called Don Johnson’s Love Life ought to star David Duchovny.)

Of course, then there’s the catch phrase. You remember, the one all the kids were saying in the Summer of ’91? Like Mickey says, to Don, and then Don says to Mickey,  “It’s better to be dead and cool, than alive and uncool.”

How’s that working out for you fellas?



  1. Mickey Rourke used to be considered talented? The first time I ever saw him was in the movie “Angel Heart”, which my best friend and I watched while her mother wasn’t home, because if any of our parents knew we were watching it, we’d be grounded.

    I came away from that experience thinking that Rourke was “icky”.

  2. That picture of Sean Connery (it is SC, right?) will now haunt my dreams. Doesn’t posting that violate some sort of parole?

  3. “Mickey Rourke. Did I mention Mickey Rourke? Pre-boxing Mickey Rourke? When he still looked like a human and not Bea Arthur without her makeup?”

    Ah, Mickey Rourke, back when he was the hottie from “9 1/2 Weeks” (which, of course, I haven’t seen, but still…). I think they should use his “before and after” pictures in an anti-drug campaign: “Just think of the consequences!”.

    And I’m seriously glad to read another one of The Jerk’s reviews, although I now have to wash my eyeballs after seeing that Sean Connery “groin” pic. Ewwww….

  4. I just went back and read all of The Jerk’s posts and loved them all! If you lose your privileges on Simcha’s blog, you’re welcome to moonlight on mine!

    For the record, I liked Tango & Cash when it first came out. I’d be scared to watch it now, though.

  5. “(a movie called Don Johnson’s Love Life ought to star David Duchovny.)”

    If that’s not truth then there is no truth. But who should star in a movie called David Duchovny’s Love Life?

  6. I think I’m scarred for life, having seen that photo of Sean Connery in a big red diaper held up by suspenders!

    I do like the boots, though.

  7. You mean you don’t read The B-Movie Catechism blog??? The Catholic review of “Zardoz” has been done. And the guy deserves a medal.

  8. I have read this blog for a while now, and am always entertained enough, or interested enough, to continue reading it. Posts like these make me wonder why. What is the purpose of this post? Is this a Catholic blog? How is talking about Sean Connery’s penis appropriate? How is alluding to the fact that you have written an incredibly immoral review of the movie, but are going to spare us (wink wink), by not publishing it, any better that going ahead and publishing it?

    I think what is really going on is that Simcha allows these posts, as a way to make clear that she is not too Catholic so as to still appeal to to non-Catholics. It’s the same kind of posturing that the USCCB does in regards to immigration to make up for their unpopular views on abortion.

    Maybe psychologically, these distasteful posts could be explained this way (from an article by John Zmirak):

    “You see, one of the most dominant motives in any socially stigmatized group – such as conservatives [or Catholics in this blog’s case] were at Yale and still are in the opinion-making circles Frum now inhabits – is self-purification. One tries to wash away the taint that your opponents have attached to you by finding someone within your own movement who is more distasteful, more extreme, more socially maladroit, then denouncing him [or allowing “the Jerk” to post distasteful movie reviews in order to call these people out in the combox, and then perform the ostracism]. Best of all if you can lead the chorus of ostracism. That renders you yourself ritually pure, at least for a while – and joins you securely to the community that has now been purged.”

    I’m sure now everyone can attack me for not getting the joke, or being too uptight, etc. But seriously, this sort of thing is in such poor taste, and I don’t see how it serves any true purpose.

    • Well Greg, sorry you’re offended. I’ll get your refund check out to you tomorrow. You’re still living in your mom’s basement, right?

  9. Two questions, Gregory:

    1. Did you not SEE the big heading at the top of my blog that says “NO CATHOLICS ALLOWED?” Thanks for letting me know you’re a Catholic. NOW GET OUT! I ostracize thee. We don’t like your kind here.

    Boy, that felt better than a pina colonic.

    2. Did you stop reading the post when it said “Chock a block full of cock?” Or did you read the whole thing?

    Aw, heck, l lied: three things. You’re going to hurt yourself if you keep playing “analyze the stranger,” so I’ll save you some time: I publish it because I think it’s funny. That’s it. The Jerk makes me laugh every time, and he makes lots of other people laugh, too. I know he offends some people, and that’s why I gave his post a day’s warning, and made sure it says “The Jerk” at the top, and I made sure the Jerk warns people that he uses bad words. So if you know you’re likely to be offended by this kind of thing, then give me one non-neurotic reason YOU have for continuing to read? Then get back to me, and I’ll tell you “what’s really going on” with you. Damn.

    PS – I agree with the bishops about immigration, fancy that.

    • Another thing: I have only ever deleted TWO comments from this blog. One was from a woman who told a childless woman that her marriage was probably invalid; and the other was a long-winded eastern rite Catholic who had a bone to pick with the entire Roman rite, and was taking it out on me. If you can name me one time that I have “ostracized” someone for criticizing the content of this blog, then I might take your gratuitious psychoanalysis seriously – but as it stands, I think you just like feeling sorry for yourself in advance.

  10. I apologize, and I should have said in advance that I know you don’t ostracize people here, but that the impulse to engage in what I think many people would find distasteful, roots from the same place, to prove your bona fides, to the people who would find your views on marriage or abortion say, distasteful. I think that the jerk’s sense of humor is the sort of cheap or bourgeois irony that Christopher Hitchens called out on Bill Maher when Maher made an easy joke about Bush and Hitchens pointed out that it is the kind of joke that stupid people laugh at. I see why you find the jerk’s ironic musings humorous, I really do. It’s the same reason Jerry Seinfeld or the Gilmore Girls purposely watch bad movies. But what I fail to see is the value in it, but I do see the cheap laughs.

    I engage in this kind of humor all day with my work buddies, although I am trying to stop. I guess what I meant was that sometimes sarcasm is passed off as irony as I think it is in this case. Do you both or anyone else think there is any value in this brand of humor? Maybe I am just overthinking the whole thing and it is just harmless fun

    I hope I have made some sort of sense. I apologize for my earlier tone. Also I apologize for any typos. I am trying to get our five week old to sleep while typing this on my phone.

    • Okay, thank you. Unlike The Jerk, I appreciate this. I really took less umbrage at the point you were making, and more at the unsolicited analysis of my motivations.

      You may have a point with the first. It’s something I’ve actually thought about a lot. I wouldn’t read a daily blog by The Jerk, and I don’t believe he would, either. But “value in this brand of humor?” It makes me laugh. Are you arguing against it because it’s sinful, or because it’s not sophisticated enough? If you think it’s sinful, please make that case. If you think it’s not sophisticated enough — well, the heck with you, don’t read it.

      Also, you seem to think The Jerk just goes, “Fart poop penis! Haw haw haw!” If you’ve ever tried to sit down and write a funny essay, you would know that being funny is a lot of work. Not everyone can do it. The Jerk has a talent.

      The second part, though — my motivations: no, you’re just wrong here. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. I write for The Register, where I have to be very, very careful about what I say, how I say it, how it might be misunderstood, who might be listening, etc. (This is not a flaw of the Register; it’s just has a large and very varied readership.)

      On my personal blog, however, I’ve built up a very particular group of readers over several years (this is not my first blog), and I share things that make me laugh, if I think it will make them laugh, too. It’s nice to have a place where I don’t have to be so careful. At the Register, someone ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS tells me I’m not being Catholic enough. It gets old, and I guess I have far less tolerance for it on my own blog.

      (This is the part where someone says, “But it’s a public blog! If you can’t take criticism, then don’t keep writing!” It’s not that I can’t take criticism; it’s just that I reserve the right to respond irritably.)

      I understand the point about trying to cut down on constant sarcasm and cheap jokes in your personal life. It has a deadening effect on the soul after a while. But — well, The Jerk writes for me, say, once every nine weeks. It’s great that you’re trying to cut down on it in your everyday life (new babies have such a civilizing effect on people!), but that doesn’t mean that everyone else you encounter needs to go through the particular transformation you’re going through.

      Again, thanks for writing back – on a phone, no less. The Jerk is The Jerk, and doesn’t speak for me (and I don’t speak for him). Congrats on the new baby!

  11. Sorry, I also meant to say the thing about immigration was a cheap shot, and I appreciate their stance, while disagreeing with some portions of it. And I kept reading because for the most part I really like your work. It is very likely I am wrong about this. Thanks so much for your replies.

    • Greg, this is the second lamest apology I’ve read today. Also, I highly doubt you even know the actual definition of the word irony. Lastly, you’re the type of guy the word “fingersniffer” was invented for.

      Second lastly, I again apologize if seeing a near naked Sean Connery made you feel funny in your bathing suit area. You have no business coming here and telling people they are not Catholic. I suspect no one is really Catholic enough for you.

      Very final lastly, what kind of Catholic gives a shit what Christopher Hitchens said to Bill Maher? Or do you watch that crap to prove to your “buddies” at work what a cool kid you are?

  12. The Jerk,

    Trust me, I’ve listened to the Alanis Morisette song enough times to know what irony is. Just to be sure I listened to the itunes sample a few times, and yup, I can tell irony when I see it.

    I’m not sure if you are just being “in character” here or not. If not, then you are being appallingly uncharitable here.

    Also, I disagree with Simcha that this sort of sarcastic humor is difficult to attain or sustain. I know people from college who would start a movie, pop open a PBR (for the irony) and run a commentary throughout the whole movie as funny or original as this…

    Hitchens is an excellent stylist, regardless of his bad opinions. Unlike postmodernists he at least takes a position on the “God question” and is willing to debate anyone in public.

    Finally, I don’t think I accused anyone of not being Catholic enough (although you did), and if I did, and if my apology is not sufficient, then I apologize again because that was not my intention. I should have put more thought into how I commented.

    Simcha, I do think some of this type of humor can approach sinfulness even on a “private” blog like this one, that is open to the public. I want to be careful here because I admit that I engage in this type of humor too, and that my personal attempts to limit it in myself should not be made into a general attempt to limit it in others. I don’t want to offend you (maybe the Jerk, but not you!). I know your intentions are good here, and probably harmless.

    I don’t think the comment section of a blog is the best place to discuss whether there is sin in this sort of humor, and I don’t feel that comfortable accusing others of it.

  13. I was trying to be ironic, in the real sense not the bummer sense of rain on your wedding day. It was a joke…

  14. This is an old thread, so I know it’s dead and no one will read this, but this whole hilarious exchange could have been avoided if Gregory would have just stuck with “Greg” and not switched to “Gregory” after his sophomore year of college.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s