Making the Grades
Life has never been easy for Joe Dirt (David Spade), the man with the permanent 70's coiffure. At age eight he is separated from his parents while on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Shuttled from one dysfunctional foster home to the next, he finally resorts to living in the woods and stealing what he can to survive while tracing the fading footsteps of his missing family.
A decade later we find Joe, now a custodian, sitting in the cushioned hot seat of Hollywood DJ Zander Kelly (Dennis Miller), a shoddy radio journalist who pulls the pitiful details from the janitor's sordid life for the interest of his daytime listeners. Dragging out the interview for several days, Kelly prods and probes the unlikely guest and baits his audience to tune in for the next installment of this loser's life.
Reading like the front page of a supermarket tabloid, Joe's story is filled with characters as diverse as imaginable--the beautiful Brandy (Brittany Daniel) who befriends the wig-wearing outcast, a mysterious mid-western school janitor played by Christopher Walken, a carnival going seductress, and the unsavory Buffalo Bill.
But despite these outrageous encounters and the incessant belittling Joe receives, we are forced to believe he remains unrelentingly upbeat. I'm not sure if Joe espouses all those platitudes he keeps spouting or if he is just inanely na0xEFve. Either way, we're supposed to like this jean clad, mop-pushing hero who fights all the odds of an abnormal upbringing and keeps pursuing his absentee folks. However, the constant battering of crude language, raw sexual humor and underdressed damsels left me watching the clock instead.
A bit part played by musician Kid Rock may draw his ardent followers into the theater but his role as the fast driving, gravel throwing, small town boy is minor at best, giving his money paying fans little screen time for their dollar.
While comedian/writer Spade does make Joe a catalyst for positive change in many of the people he meets, the dirt that's dished out in this movie will likely put families in an entertainment quagmire.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Joe Dirt.
Zander Kelly is looking for a sensational story that will pull in the listeners. Do you think that he really cares about Joe? Do you think that the media sometimes uses these types of stories to promote their own agenda?
Foster parents are depicted in this movie as dysfunctional, uncaring and of questionable moral value. Do you think that is an honest reflection of all foster homes? Why do you think the writers chose to portray foster homes this way? How might this affect children and adults who are involved in foster care programs?