Jerry Maguire, Cameron Crowe's pukey, catch phrase–laden 1996 rom-com about a manic sports agent and the squinty single mom who loves him, hasn't aged well. Neither has the outmoded home video viewing technology that was most popular when it was released. Evidence: the proliferation of Jerry Maguire VHS tapes in thrift stores and 25-cent bins at suburban garage sales.
Eight years ago, the folks at L.A.-based found-video collective Everything Is Terrible! started collecting Jerrys, as they call them, accepting submissions from people all over the country. As of now, they have upward of 10,000 tapes, which they've used to build thrones and, if all goes well, construct a pyramid — it's a massive performance art project that's kept an insipid slice of '90s pop culture weirdly relevant. In recognition of today's 20th anniversary of the release of JM, we reached out to EIT!'s Dimitri Simakis and Nic Maier and found out they have a whole new project in the works, a pop-up Jerry Maguire video store at iam8bit Gallery in Echo Park. Here are their thoughts on Cameron Crowe, Jonathan Lipnicki's nipples and more.
It's been eight years since you began collecting Jerrys and the tally has reached upward of 12,000 — where do the cassettes live when they aren't being toured around or thrones aren't being built from them?
Yes, eight years of collecting Jerry Maguire VHS tapes! That is our reality! The Jerry count is always a little fuzzy, it is a spectrum you know?! We think it is between 13k and 14k! They live in our studio in Vernon, in a VERY controlled environment! They are cleaned by our staff biweekly! They live at a constant temperature of 18.3333 degrees Celsius with 21 percent humidity and zero access to sunlight! They've never been more comfortable, I guarantee that!
Are you guys doing anything to commemorate/celebrate the 20th anniversary tomorrow?
We are! We are announcing our pop-up Jerry Maguire Video Store at iam8bit Gallery (2147 Sunset Blvd.), which will be a perfect re-creation of a '90s-era video store that only carries Jerrys! It is gonna be nuts! It will run from Jan. 13-29 (noon-10 p.m., seven days a week)! Plus we're doing a ton of events with our favorite artists, musicians and performers! You can get tickets here! All of the proceeds go toward the construction of the Jerry Maguire Pyramid, which will be a permanent, enormous pyramid in the desert where all the world's Jerrys will live forever! We'll be unveiling the plans at the pop-up at iam8bit! And what else? Oh, we'll probably walk around dressed in a costume made out of Jerrys! Keep L.A. weird, right?! Weird-o-Wood more like it!!!!
When Jerry came out, it really cast a spell over people, many of whom seem to have grown disenchanted with it over the past 20 years. What is it about the film that hasn't aged well?
We honestly don't have many feelings on the actual movie. We don't really care about it as a movie. Some of us haven't even seen it even though we've been surrounded by copies of it for almost a decade! I think most people don't care about any movie that they're told is good! I think that is why it is so important to us as an object! We've spent so many years caring about videos that everyone else doesn't care about, then we started seeing Jerrys — a movie that people did care about! But for some reason the object had lost meaning! It was so sad! We just had to intervene!
Why isn't Hollywood giving grown-up Jonathan Lipnicki a fair shake? Are there too many pictures of his nipples on the internet?
There aren't enough Lipnipples out there! Obviously we need to find a way to stop child actors from growing up! Maybe we could even keep them in different shaped cages, so they could take on different forms?! Wouldn't that be cute?! Imagine a perfect cube Lipnicki!!! Or a circle?!?!?!
What's your favorite thing Cameron Crowe has done since Jerry? Did you see Aloha? It's intense.
We Bought a Zoo! So good! No, still haven't checked out Aloha! I also hear good things about Vanilla Sky!
The tagline on the box is “Everybody loved him … everybody disappeared.” I mean, isn't that too weird?
LOL! It is so sad! That is exactly what happened! Oh man, I can't believe we never thought of that! We're gonna use that! So good!
You've said in the past that one of the reasons you suspect that Jerry was so popular was the sheer number of catch phrases it contains. Do you have a favorite?
Name a film with half as many catch phrases?! I dare you! I'm a sucker for the classic — “SHOW ME THE MONEY! I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!!!!”
Now that people are beginning to rid themselves of their DVD collections, is there a DVD release that rivals the Jerry VHS in its ubiquity? Or is there the potential to expand the Jerry collection to include DVDs? (They're definitely less stackable, which sucks.)
Ooooh I wonder! Waking Life perhaps?! We really don't see the same quantities of DVDs! Maybe because they're so small and unstackable we don't even notice them at thrift stores?!
What does EIT have coming up in the near future?
We're doing so much stuff! On top of opening the Jerry Maguire Video Store and fundraising/Jerry-raising to build the Jerry Maguire Pyramid, we're also working on a new movie called The Great Satan! It is going to be the best thing we've ever done! It will be the most goopy EIT! movie to date, we promise!