Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Karen Duffy
Directors: Peter & Bobby Farrelly
Writers: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Bennett Yellin
Release Date: December 16, 1994
My brothers and I recorded it off of the TV at some point around '95. We were pretty diligent about labeling VHS tapes, and even though I can see the words "Dumb and Dumber" written on the label, I can't remember the other movie that we recorded on that tape. That's one thing that younger generations have to understand about the first world problems of the VHS age--you'd only be able to fit two feature-length films onto a single tape. The double-feature pairings seemed to be arbitrary in the Howard household--with kids movies paired with hard Rs.
You'd also have to record over shit that you didn't care about anymore. Sometimes this led to tough decisions or accidents where you'd record over a movie or show that someone really cared about. Eventually my older brother, Brent, bought Dumb and Dumber on DVD, and that copy is probably laying around somewhere at my parents' house right now.
Why it's on the List
One of the most intriguing aspects of a "favorite movies" list is the focus on what it says about its creator. Right now my list probably looks as if a weird-ass man-child constructed it. I feel a little self-conscious about all of these nostalgia picks, mostly because they're cliche. The back half of my list is loaded with movies that I am torn on. It becomes a game of, does this one hold up or not? I was hoping to re-watch this over the past week, but didn't get the chance. But I've also seen this movie enough times to remember every scene vividly.
I'm willing to bet that when I do re-watch this, it'll be a little similar to Robin Hood: Men In Tights - some jokes will hold up; others will embarrass me even though I had no hand in making it. With many of the jokes still fresh in my mind, I feel confident saying that their quality is much better than that of RH:MIT. Mel Brooks made movies that actively engaged with kids - while the Farrelly brothers wrote dirtier stuff that you couldn't watch with your parents.
In making the argument as to why this one does hold up after all these years, I would say that the jokes work for teenagers and adults. Dumb and Dumber instilled in me a fondness for intelligently constructed "dumb jokes." Later, I'd go on to buy seasons 1-9 of The Simpsons on DVD and relish the Homer Simpson lines written by Harvard graduates. This was also another movie that I got to discover new jokes every time I rewatched it, and favorite jokes changed over the years.
Dumb and Dumber clearly embraces its absurdity, but I also enjoy that fact that it embraces its trashiness as well. It's not meant to be anything other than stupid fun for 107 minutes.
UPDATE: The unrated version (released in the mid 2000s?) of Dumb and Dumber is terrible, and I regret watching it. It seemed to be more sexual and cruder. While the theatrical release definitely has crass moments, it doesn't rely on that or overcommit. The movie works better with a consistent tone of innocence. The unrated version is a bastardized abomination.
- I've attempted to watch the sequel, Dumber and Dumber To, but did not make it all of the way through. The prequel was awful as well, and the two movies have probably helped to chip away at the original.
- Jim Carrey will make one more appearance on my list, though it's pretty easy to guess which movie that will be. I'd like to revisit The Truman Show someday because I really enjoyed it when it was released. It feels ahead of its time.
- This is it for Jeff Daniels, who is great a lot of things--including Radio Days and The Purple Rose of Cairo--but they didn't make the cut.
- Dumber and Dumber's soundtrack is completely frozen in time (with the exception being the Nick Cave song)
- In the summers of '07 and '08, I worked just outside of Aspen. Most of the shots in Colorado were filmed in Breckenridge, which is about a two and half hour drive from Aspen. One day when my brother Brent, our friends, and I had a day off, we drove over to Breckenridge to do a Dumb and Dumber tour. We should've gone to Estes Park to see the Stanley Hotel and some of the more recognizable locations, because the consensus in Breckenridge was that, while all of it felt familiar, there weren't any opportunities for photos.
Sending love to Lou. Always enjoy playing with him and watching him hide his toys.