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Film / Joe Dirt

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A 2001 comedy film starring David Spade as the eponymous mullet-wearing janitor, who's invited to be on a talk show, initially to be made fun of. However he begins recounting his life story and the movie showcases his journey to find his parents as he narrates, meeting a host of oddball characters along the way. Although the film was panned by critics, it was a modest box office success and was generally well-liked by those who watched it.

In 2010 TBS was set to develop an animated series based on Joe Dirt (with David Spade returning to voice the title character) but the project never made it out of Development Hell.

In 2014, Spade revealed that he had written a sequel for the movie that would premiere through Crackle's online streaming service. Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser premiered on July 16, 2015, with Spade and several actors reprising their roles from the previous movie. Happily Married with Brandy and now a father of three, Joe finds himself losing it all and somehow lands in the past, meeting some familiar faces as he tries to get his family back while striving to become a man truly worthy of his wife and children.


  • Actor Allusion: In the end of the movie, Clem has adopted the name Gert B. Frobe, named after the actor who played the titular Bond villain in Goldfinger. Christopher Walken, who played Clem/Gert, has also played a Bond villain, namely Max Zorin in A View to a Kill.
  • An Aesop: Home is where you make it.
  • All for Nothing: The parents Joe Dirt spent 27 years looking for? Abandoned him on purpose. He goes into a Despair Event Horizon over this.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Joe plays this up for one girl (Jaime Pressly).
  • An Arm and a Leg: Brandy's father is hit by a train and loses his lower left leg.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Joe suggests that Kicking Wing changes his name to "Kicking Ass". Dirt would've done the same. It happens in the sequel.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Joe — any time he tries to pick a fight, he's promptly tossed head-over-heels.
  • Breakout Character: An in-universe example. The producer of the radio station put Joe Dirt on Zander Kelly's show so that Zander could mock Joe's white trash demeanor. But once Joe starts telling his story, people end up liking him so much that he becomes a national celebrity.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Subverted. Joe wants this to be the case as he discovers that he's only aroused by Jill when he thinks she is his long-lost sister and the pair exploit said thought to have passionate sex again.
  • Butt-Monkey: Joe. But he never lets it get him down.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Joe does this to his parents when he questioned them how long they'd actually been searching for him before they'd given up thinking he was dead, and how long they'd been driving home from the Grand Canyon before they'd realized he wasn't in the car. The answers? They never searched for him, and they knew he was gone the whole time; they abandoned him.
  • Canon Immigrant: Farmer Fran (Blake Clark) from The Waterboy returns to speak the Aesop.
  • Character Title
  • The Chew Toy: Joe. Almost everyone, for some reason, feels compelled to beat him up, mock him, and tell him he's worthless.
  • Cool Car: Joe's Hemi (a 1967 Plymouth GTX).
  • Commonality Connection: Joe meets a seductive woman named Jill who shares the same interests and hobbies with him. One of which was being abandoned by their parents.
  • Continuity Nod: The film features a cameo from Farmer Fran, indicating that it exists in the same continuity as The Waterboy (and, by extension, Happy Gilmore and Little Nicky).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Zander Kelly, played by Dennis Miller. Added irony that Zander presumes Dirt doesn't pick up on the snideness, but Dirt actually just lets it roll off.
  • Determinator: Joe Dirt himself. "You can't have 'no' in your heart. Life's a garden — you dig it, you make it work for you!"
  • Destructo-Nookie: Joe and Jill have sex so rough that the outside foundation of Jill's house starts to crumble and one of the longhorn decorations hanging falls off.
  • Disney Death: Joe sees Clem's body about to be taken to the ambulance. He tells him he's sorry for causing his death, but at least he's now with his deceased wife. Joe starts talking about how much Clem loved his wife, which is giving Clem a boner! It turns out Clem faked his death in order to relocate again.
  • Driven to Suicide: Joe was about to jump off a bridge after learning that his parents never cared about him at all, feeling that he truly is worthless.
  • Everytown, America: The fictional city of Silvertown, Idaho. It's where Joe meets Brandy and lives happily for a few years before setting off in search of his parents. And, at the end of the film, it becomes his home permanently.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Jill tells how she was abandoned by her parents at a bus stop, in turn causing Joe to worry that Jill could be his long-lost sister.
  • First Girl Wins: Brandy is the first girl to take a genuine liking to Joe and they end up together.
  • Fingore: Charlene, losing her fingers to an alligator. Fortunately, she still has her ring finger when Clem proposed to her.
  • For the Funnyz: Dirt tells the audience that after he finds out Jill is not his sister, he's less attracted to her; when they pretend that she is his sister, he gets his mojo back. The audience reels in horror, but Joe made it up just to mess with them.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: A student at a school where Joe works as a janitor flubs his science experiment: instead of making ice, he makes killer mustard gas.
  • Here We Go Again!: Joe finds his old house, only to learn that his family moved away some years ago. And now, he's right back where he started.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Joe starts by driving a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and later gets a 1967 Plymouth GTX.
  • Homage: This film is basically Forrest Gump with a lot more toilet humor. Both films have a similar framing device (the protagonist telling his life story to people), both Joe and Forrest meet several interesting characters in their lives and ultimately have a positive impact on those they meet, and even the love interests are similar. Forrest spends his life pining over his childhood friend Jenny, while Joe comes to realize that he only ever truly felt at home was when he was with Brandy. This is lampshaded in the sequel's opening scene, which takes place in front of a bus stop.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Kicking Wing's long farewell embrace of Joe.
  • How We Got Here: A majority of the story is told by Joe talking about his life on a radio program.
  • Immodest Orgasm: An unusual one. Joe and Jill achieve one during sex after agreeing to pretend to be siblings.
  • Incest-ant Admirer: Invoked in Joe's case. After Joe has sex with Jill and then telling her that he cannot see her anymore because he thinks she might be his long-lost sister, Jill clears up this misunderstanding and they resume having sex. Which turns out to be a disaster, as Joe finds he is aroused only because he wants Jill to be his sister; whereupon they both agree and succeed in passionate lovemaking, shouting in ecstasy.
    Jill: I'm your sister! I'm your sister!
    Joe Dirt: You're my sister!
  • I Have No Son!: Played straight and inverted, Joe's parents left him on purpose, and only wanted him back because he's famous. Joe disowned his parents after telling them how full of shit they are.
  • I'm Melting!: Joe and Kicking Wing discover an atom bomb and decide to shoot a Roman Candle at it. It explodes, and the charred remains shaped like Kicking Wing catch on the wind and blow away. It's a hallucination Joe has when he stumbles and hits the back of his head on a rock. And the "bomb" is really just an old septic tank that someone put a biohazard sticker on.
  • Jerkass: Almost everyone towards Joe. Especially Brandy's ex-boyfriend.
  • Kick the Dog: (As well as literally shoot it)
  • Kitsch Collection: Joe Dirt's mother and her little porcelain clowns. Once it's made clear that he's her son, she spins their on-air reunion into a sales pitch for an Internet start-up she wants to run. Any attempt by Joe to get some answers from them eventually loops back to her shilling. Joe gets pissed, and smashes her clown collection and storms off.
  • Leg Cling: The above poster.
  • Long List: All the fireworks Joe is surprised Kicking Wing doesn't sell.
  • Magical Native American: Subverted with Kicking Wing
  • Major Injury Underreaction: On all sides. Despite an injury as traumatic as having his leg severed by a train, Brandy's father is apparently released from the hospital the same day.
  • Man on Fire: The roughneck that beats up Joe.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The girl who Joe forces to flash him when he has the "A-Bomb" strapped to his back.
    • And, of course, Brandy spends much of her screen time wearing short shorts and a tank top.
  • Mutual Kill: After Joe accidentally outs Clem to the mobsters after him, Clem apparently kills all of the mobsters after him while dying in the process. Subverted in that Clem actually faked his own death in order to get transferred again.
  • Mysterious Past: Clem. He is in the witness protection program, hiding from mobsters who killed his wife. Upon his first introduction, he accidentally slips about his life, which Joe caught notice.
  • Nice Guy: Joe is remarkably personable considering the horrible treatment he gets from everyone.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Clem saves an entire class, but tells the press that Joe saved them, prompting Joe explains that the true hero is Clem. However, Joe is unaware that Clem was actually a gangster hiding with the witness protection program, so shortly afterwards, some gangsters go to his house and shoot him. Joe feels guilty about unknowingly getting him killed. Subverted when he realizes Clem survived and is now moving away under another alias.
  • Noodle Incident: Joe's abduction by Buffalo Bob is assumed to be much, much worse by everyone who brings it up to Joe.
  • Oblivious to Love: Joe does not pursue Brandy because he thinks that a woman as beautiful as her is way out of his league, and he believes that Brandy just considers him a friend. He has no clue that Brandy is actually in love with him and wants to be with him. Even the people listening to Joe's story on the radio are able to pick up on the clues that Brandy loves Joe.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: After being abducted by "Buffalo Bob", everyone asks Joe if he was harmed in certain ways, even though nothing terrible really happened.
  • One-Liner, Name... One-Liner
    Zander Kelly: Welcome home, Joe. Welcome home.
  • Papa Wolf: Clem becomes something of a surrogate father to Joe. At the end of the film when Robby tries to bully Joe, Clem threatens to stab Robby in the face with a soldering iron unless he leaves Joe alone.
  • Parental Abandonment: Joe's parents accidentally left him on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Even when they realized he wasn't in the car, they didn't bother to turn back to get him.
  • The Pollyanna: Joe. Despite the fact that he's had a pretty shitty life, his optimism and unwillingness to feel sorry for himself causes him to become a national sensation (almost literally) overnight. The only time he ever gives into despair is when he finds out that his parents never loved him and they intentionally abandoned him. Thankfully, Brandy is able to talk him out of committing suicide when she declares her love to him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Joe listens to Jill's backstory of being abandoned by her parents and he fears that she may be his long-lost sister. However, he has sex with her first before telling her he can not see her anymore because she's his sister. Thankfully she's not really his sister.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation:
    Joe: Comin' in to work. Joe Dier-tay'.
    Security Guard: Don't try to church it up son, don't you mean Joe DIRT?
  • Quip to Black: When Joe is trapped in a hot-air balloon for a local dentist's shop with no way to control it, he shouts, "Hey, boss! I'm going on break!" when it drifts away.
  • Roadside Wave: Joe hitchhikes with a sign that has the text "Won't kill you".
  • Running Gag: After Joe's capture by Buffalo Bob, other characters repeatedly inquire as to what unspeakable things Bob must have done to Joe while keeping him captive.
  • Shameless Self-Promotion: Mrs. Dirt's clown figurine online store she's trying to plug.
  • Searching for the Lost Relative: Through the use of flashbacks, the titular character spends much of the film recounting his (mis)adventures while trying to find and reunite with his family who abandoned him at the Grand Canyon when he was 8 years old.
  • Self-Deprecation: Joe's good-natured self-deprecation does nothing but endear him to the people listening to his life story on the radio.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Clem's response to Joe's rival when he asks who would ever accept Joe as family.
    Clem: Maybe we do. Maybe we're his family.
  • Surprise Incest: Joe briefly thought a girl he slept with at a carnival was his sister.
  • Taking the Heat: Inverted. When Clem rescues the entire school from a fire, he insists that it was really Joe, in spite of everyone having seen him do it. He does this to avoid media attention since he is in WitSec. Joe is too honest to accept the credit.
  • This Is My Story: Joe tells his life story in Zander Kelly's radio show.
  • Timmy in a Well: Hilariously played with, as the dog stops to have sex with another dog.
  • Toilet Humor: The sheriff opens the septic tank that Joe is holding, spewing human waste all over him and causing Joe to flip out. This goes on gratuitously, causing Joe to ask "Come on, how much can there ''be?''"
    • Also, the "meteorite" turns out to be something much more gross.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: A variation on this trope. The dog's testicles get stuck to a house's front porch during a cold night.
  • True Companions: Joe eventually settles for this with Brandy, Clem, Charlene, and Kicking Wing.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: In the end, the slovenly Joe Dirt ends up with the gorgeous Brandy.
  • Unintelligible Accent: Joe asks a Cajun man if they still live in the area. The man speaks with such a strong accent that Joe misunderstands a lot of what he says. After saying, "Home is where you make it," and having Joe repeat it back as, "You like to see homos naked?" twice, the man repeats it a third time and walks off shaking his head. Joe stands there alone and comments, "Guy likes to see homos naked. That doesn't help me."
  • Unpleasant Parent Reveal: After Brandy calls Joe claiming his parents to be dead, his parents manage to find him, but he then finds out that they left him behind at the Grand Canyon on purpose and only found him to ride on the coattails on his newfound popularity. Brandy then tells him that she did indeed track them down for him and decided not to tell him after finding out how horrible they were.
  • Vertigo Effect: The reaction shot to Brandy riding out on her horse.
  • Walk the Earth: Joe, in his journey to find his parents.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Brandy told Joe that his parents died years ago. Later, after finding out they're alive and uncaring, Joe asks why she lied about his parents. She did it to protect him because they were horrible people.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Joe's little sister who kept calling him "Joe Dirt" non-stop.
    • Clearly the girl from the carnival was mistaken.