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Craft

Our first celebrity interview of the new year — today's profile of comedian Tom Green — led concurrently to another first.

That is, the first time we ever talked to the maker of a movie we once memorialized as the worst of its year.

Not just one of, but THE.

It was the big fat No. 1 on the 10-worse list for the first term (2001) of the new millennium.

And we wrote, 14 years ago this April, after raking “Freddy” every which way over the coals:

“There's so much worm-eaten karma festering inside Green's seriously cracked cranium that no amount of working through analysis or working through the necessary issues is going to cure him, or explain him. This is one sick dude. Sign the papers. Get the straitjacket. Throw away the key.”

Kinda harsh, we decided, after reviewing the review lo these many years and a hundred dumb and dumber comedies later.

Or maybe it's just that time bandages all wounds.

Inflicting the hurt were, among other matters, “Freddy's” big set-pieces.

They included: a running child molestation joke regarding Green's kid brother Freddy and his father (hence the title); a birthing scene involving a game of tug-of-war with a baby still attached to its umbilical cord; “the stud farm/stallion scene” (don't ask); the scene in which an 8-year-old neighbor kid runs headlong into a plane's propellers; and, shades of the “stallion scene,” the “elephant scene.”

This was all pre-“Jackass the Movie” and its progeny, so, forgive us, we were still easily fazed.

As a result, our thesis, circa 2001, was that Green, who lived in his parents' basement in Canada until he was 24 and was subjected to his ex-military man dad's harangues about getting a real job, was working through some serious daddy issues.

Hence, the getting-even-with-dad scenario at the heart of “Freddy” (the great eccentric actor Rip Torn was somehow coaxed into the role, to Green's credit).

We wrote, still in full snark mode: “If Green flushes these issues out of his system, through a receptive colon, then maybe he can get on with his life, be a good husband to Drew Barrymore and stop palming off his 'touching-the-animal's-pee-pee' approach to comedy as the vanguard of Canadian humor.”

We concluded: "This is also known as hope springs eternal."

Anyway, the dilemma this week, 14 years later after that rant, was: Do we fess up to the film's maker (star, writer, director) that “Freddy” once got fingered here in these pages as 2001's lowest celluloid-based point?

The subject of the movie was bound to come up, of course, since it remains Tom Green's Internet Movie Data Base calling card (for the sake of full disclosure, no fewer than 13,145 IMDB users have assigned it a cumulative rating of 4.5 stars out of 10, with a number of those filing full reviews endowing with the maximum 10 stars ... "More like Godard than Farrelly," insists a commenter from Los Angeles).

Instead of fessing up that we had suggested the man at the other end of the phone line be straitjacketed as a result of "Freddy," we pointed our finger in another (in)direction.

"Any thoughts of a 'Freddy II,' picking up the story in middle age?" we innocently waffled.

"If so, would things have changed any over the intervening decade-and-a-half of further life experience?"

Though no sequel is presently forthcoming, Green assures us that, if there was one in the works, "No, probably not ... we're both still the same guys."

Tug of war, anyone?

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Craft is The Pantagraph's arts and entertainment editor. He can be reached at 309-820-3259 or via email at dcraft@pantagraph.com.

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