Born from the cultural revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s was the counter culture movement of the 1990’s and nothing embodied counter culture more than Big Brother magazine.
Hulu’s latest documentary, “Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine” debuted at Tribeca and follows the rise, escalation, and fall of one of the biggest subculture icons. Although still shrouded in some obscurity, the publication is best known for paving the way to “Jackass” and stars like Johnny Knoxville. Through archival footage and personal testimonies from people like the creator Steve Rocco to avid readers like Jonah Hill and skateboard pro, Tony Hawk, “Dumb” acts like a time machine. Thoroughly entertaining, this doc seems to encompass everything that the rebellious “Big Brother” stood for, the shady, the sleazy, and the stupid.
Along with those adjectives, however, there is also loyal. Nearly the entire “Big Brother” family, including Johnny Knoxville and Wee-Man, came together at Los Angeles’ Cinefamily for a screening/question and answer panel. A completely packed house got to relive the funniest and dirtiest moments of “Big Brother”. From a very x-rated trip to Disneyland with Slayer to Johnny’s infamous game of Russian roulette, the documentary fills the viewer with a rebellious desire.
Throughout the film, triumphant cries of, “Get it!” and “F**K YEAH!” filled the theatre. By the end of the screening, it seemed like half the audience was ready to snort six lines of anything they could find, grab a forty and hit the road for whatever adventure there was, like a ghetto Jack Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson. After a few questions, the panel actually ended with Steve Rocco looking around the room and declaring, “We already know most of you guys, let’s go back where there’s an open bar and do this shit there.”
This simple sentiment fully encompasses “Big Brother” and “Dumb”. One of non-judgmental, zero f**cks given honesty. No pretense, just a group of friends who wanted a magazine filled with what they loved in the form of a giant middle finger to society. If the viewers are totally honest with themselves, by the end of the documentary they’re saying, “I should’ve done more of that when I was younger.” But just like the warning before “Jackass” Do NOT attempt these stunts yourself.
Get some terrible ideas yourself by watching “Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine” now available for streaming on Hulu.