In what’s considered one of his most memorable movie roles, actor, comedian, Waco native and “wild and crazy guy” Steve Martin stars in the 1979 absurdist comedy The Jerk
as Navin R. Johnson, the naive, adopted white son of a poor black sharecropping family, who grows up never knowing his true race. When he finally finds out (“You mean I’m gonna stay this color?!”), he packs his bags and leaves the farm to start a new life in St. Louis. There, he lands a series of jobs, including as a gas station attendant (“He hates these cans!”), a carnival worker and an unwitting inventor.
Directed by Carl Reiner (Summer School
), the rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches blockbuster (it made $100 million worldwide) was listed at No. 89 on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 comedies. In their original review, the New York Times
called the movie “funny, vulgar and backhandedly clever, never more so than when it aspires to absolute stupidity.”
During an AFI presentation a decade ago, Martin, who co-wrote the film, said of the screenplay, “Our goal was to have a laugh on every page.” So, order a glass of “fresh wine” Thursday night and LOL with some sophisticated people during this free outdoor screening presented by Video Dungeon Theatre.
Free, Thu Aug 16, 9pm, Oak Hills Tavern, 7920 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 614-8855, facebook.com/thevideodungeon.
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