A Review of Beavis and Butthead Do America

I am starting to believe that my Netflix queue is possessed by some sort of trickster demon.  First, I get a Gus Van Sant art film.  Then, I get the movie based upon the largest Generation X cartoon in history.  I have no idea what will happen next.  I may have to exorcise my computer.  However, I guess I made my bed and now must sleep in it.

So, Beavis and Butthead.  Everyone who grew up in the nineties probably knows exactly who they are.  Essentially, they are two teenagers who never, ever leave the couch.  They live their lives through the cathode ray tube.  They are Chauncey Gardener without the class or the homegrown wisdom.  At the start of the film, their window to reality (OK, I may have to stop making euphemisms for the television at some point) is stolen.  Their search for a new one leads them to being confused for hitmen, which leads them to somehow gaining a stolen biological weapon and going on the run from authorities.

Did I want to hate this movie?  No, not really.  I was quite concerned that their schtick would wear thin and not last an entire film.  Frankly, their bizarre laughter was enough to wear many people to the point of insanity.  Strangely, though, I didn’t find myself hating them.  Like the aforementioned Gardener, they are quite stupid, but strangely know just enough to get by.  This is almost a post-post modern Being There.   These two are barely literate, yet manage to convince people that they are far more important than they truly are. “Some people are dumb” Butthead casually remarks, too silly to realize how self referential such a comment will be.

They have also decided to drop the characters into a Ralph Bakshi film.  Seriously.  The animation is surprisingly better than the material ever calls for.  It is detailed to the point of being rotoscoped, yet still retains this bizarre, homemade quality to it.  The woman could have walked right out of Coonskin and Fritz the Cat.  In fact, everything in this could have come from those aforementioned cinematic acid trips.

Of course, the main draw is Beavis and Butthead.  They are exactly what everyone’s parents warned everyone about.  Their minds have completely rotted away.  They cannot even fathom what is going on.  The only reality that they have experienced is on the television.   They cannot even comprehend the fact that they essentially destroy Las Vegas, or the massive manhunt that follows.  And, personally, I did not find that bizarre laughter to grating.  It fit their dimwitted worldview somehow.  Everything exists for their amusement.  Such characters are strangely prescient…I am sure the average Youtube user has exactly their same worldview.


So, do I, actually like the film?  Yes, yes I suppose I do.  There was a time in American animation where it was possible to get away with this sort of thing, to not have to depend on celebrity voices or even good animation.  If you remember the nineties and want a sort of nostalgia trip, then find a copy and and laugh at the stupidity of the nineties.

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