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Joe Dirt

Joe Dirt
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dennie Gordon
Produced by Robert Simonds
Ira Shuman
Jack Giarraputo
Adam Sandler
Written by David Spade
Fred Wolf
Starring David Spade
Brittany Daniel
Dennis Miller
Adam Beach
Christopher Walken
Jaime Pressly
Kid Rock
Music by Waddy Wachtel
Cinematography John R. Leonetti
Edited by Peck Prior
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • April 11, 2001 (2001-04-11)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $17.7 million[2]
Box office $30.9 million[2]

Joe Dirt is a 2001 American adventure comedy film starring David Spade, Dennis Miller, Christopher Walken, Adam Beach, Brian Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Jaime Pressly, Erik Per Sullivan, and Kid Rock. The film was written by Spade and Fred Wolf, and produced by Robert Simonds.[3]

The plot concerns a "white trash" young man, Joe Dirt, who at first seems to be a "loser", a failure, an antihero. As he travels in search of his parents, his fine qualities are increasingly revealed. He ends up with a new "family" of close friends, people he has helped and who respect him.

A sequel, Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser, is scheduled to premiere on Crackle on July 16, 2015.


Joe Dirt is a custodian at a Los Angeles radio station, sleeping in a janitor's closet in the basement. A producer discovers Joe being bullied in the hallway, and drags him into the studio to talk live on the air with famous disc jockey, shock jock Zander Kelly. Joe tells his life story. As a baby he had a mullet wig installed because the top of his skull had never formed. At age 8, he was left behind by his parents and young sister at the Grand Canyon. He does not know his real last name. After growing up in a series of foster homes, Joe arrives in Silvertown, where he meets beautiful Brandy and her dog, Charlie, and becomes a target for jealousy from Robby, the town bully who has a crush on Brandy.

After Brandy's alcoholic father executes Charlie during a state of drunkenness, Joe decides to try to find his parents. First, he strikes a friendship with Kicking Wing, an initially unsuccessful Native American fireworks salesman who aspires to become a veterinarian and insists that ancient tracking methods are outdated. In Indiana, he has an encounter with a skin cannibal named Buffalo Bob, which brings him unwanted attention from the media but nonetheless helps his search. Afterwards, he travels to Louisiana and works as a high school janitor with "Clem Doore", a former NYC mobster in the Witness Protection Program, with whom he strikes a long term friendship. With the help of a salesman of Rambler Wagons, the car that Joe's parents apparently had in their pictures, and Charlene, who briefly employs him at a lethal alligator farm, Joe discovers the address of his old family home and travels to Baton Rouge.

Listening to Joe's life story, both Zander and the radio audience initially find him an object of scorn, but Joe's kindness, his optimistic outlook on life, and his good-natured self deprecation win them over.

Eventually, Joe lands the janitorial job at the Los Angeles radio station, where he recounts how, after discovering his old home vacant and his parents long gone, he gives up the search and returns to Silvertown to be with Brandy. However, Robby informs him that Brandy found Joe's parents, but instructed Robby not to tell Joe. Robby shows a note from Brandy to prove it.

Hearing this, Zander calls Brandy on the phone on-air to find out why she did this. Brandy says she wanted to tell Joe in person, but never had the opportunity. Brandy tells Joe his parents were killed the day they were at the Grand Canyon; she pleads with Joe to come back to Silvertown. Upset at the news, Joe stays in Los Angeles.

Joe is unaware that telling his life story on the radio has made him a media sensation. An appearance on TRL with Carson Daly results in a phone call from a woman claiming to be Joe's mother. Listening to her audio mannerisms, Joe realizes that she is his mother and, through tracing, discovers his parents' residence, where he and the media discover that they intentionally abandoned him at the Grand Canyon, and that the only reason they reconnected was an attempt to take advantage of his newfound publicity by boosting their sale of clown figurines. Angry and sad, he storms out, cutting ties with his parents.

Joe goes to a bridge to commit suicide, but Brandy appears and says that she only told him his parents were dead in effort to protect him, as they thought he achieved monetary gain in Louisiana and in Los Angeles. She invites Joe to come home with her, saying he "was home all along." Joe then gets a head injury in a freak accident.

Joe wakes up in Brandy's house, surrounded by his friends: Brandy, Kicking Wing (who now owns 30 successful firework stands), Clem (now renamed Gert B. Frobe), and Charlene (who is engaged to Doore). Brandy got Joe a new braided wig following his head operation. Brandy has retrieved Joe's Hemi, and she has a new dog that Charlie fathered.

Robby drives up and taunts Joe, saying no one wants him in Silvertown, no matter how famous he is. Clem threatens Robby and Charlene insults his car. They all realize that they are like family to Joe. They ride off, leaving a frustrated Robby in the dust, his windshield broken by the stones thrown up by Joe's car. While they drive away, Zander plays a song for Joe on the radio, and fireworks go off in the sky (with special thanks to Kicking Wing).




Box office

Joe Dirt opened at #4 in the domestic box office with $8,016,008[4] and went on to gross $27,087,695 domestically and $3,900,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $30,987,695; from an estimated $17.7 million budget; this can be considered a moderate success.[2]


Joe Dirt received generally negative reviews from critics. The film has an average rating of 3 out of 10 with an 11% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus stating, "If you fall within the target audience of Joe Dirt, you may find it funny. Otherwise, the jokes will seem like a tired retread."[5] Despite reviews, Joe Dirt recouped its $17.7 million budget at the box office, and grossed over $27 million domestically.

Ebert and Roeper both gave the film a thumbs down. Richard Roeper called the comedy for being predictable and strained, and said that the radio station storyline was "absurd". Roger Ebert agreed, but praised Spade for taking on a different role than he is normally associated with, and added that Spade's performance was convincing, despite the film's other shortcomings.[6] That being said, Ebert would go on to include Joe Dirt as one of his most hated films of all time under the category of "alleged comedies" and going on to state, "What movies, including Joe Dirt, often do not understand is that the act of being buried in crap is not in and of itself funny."[7]

The second verse of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Close but No Cigar" from his album Straight Outta Lynwood contains the lyrics "I thought after all these years of searching around, I'd found my soulmate finally/But one day I found out she actually owned a copy of Joe Dirt on DVD."

TV series

In early 2010, Spade worked on a pilot with TBS for an animated series based on the film. The series never materialized.[8]


In 2014, Spade revealed in a Reddit question that he is writing a sequel to Joe Dirt for Crackle.[9] Entertainment Weekly has noted that the film is "the first ever made-for-digital sequel".[10][11] Filming on the sequel began on November 17, 2014, with David Spade posting a first look at Joe Dirt on his Instagram.[12]


  1. ^ "JOE DIRT (12)". Columbia Pictures. British Board of Film Classification. March 27, 2001. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Joe Dirt (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Dirt's character was loosely based on Spade's childhood friend, Ryan Taylor.
  4. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for April 13-15, 2001". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. April 16, 2001. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Joe Dirt (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  6. ^ Ebert and Roeper
  7. ^ "Ebert's Most Hated". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  8. ^ Hibberd, James (Jan 28, 2010). "David Spade, TBS plotting animated 'Joe Dirt'". The Live Feed. 
  9. ^ "DAVID SPADE SAYS JOE DIRT 2 MAY HAPPEN ON CRACKLE". IGN. April 30, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  10. ^ Highfill, Samantha. "'Joe Dirt 2' to become first ever made-for-digital sequel". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ See David Spade And His Terrible Facial Hair In Joe Dirt 2 CinemaBlend. Retrieved 17 November 2014.

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