as: Clem Doore/Anthony Benedetti
Joe Dirt, once upon a time known as The Adventures of Joe Dirt, is a criminally underrated movie, and the only film David Spade ever starred in without Chris Farley that is even remotely watchable. A sequel was recently released on Crackle, whatever that is, but it just can’t hold a candle to the original. Plenty of folks knock on the original, too, but those people are unintelligent and unattractive, and should not be taken seriously.
Long story short: we love Joe Dirt. Our only suggestion for improvement: add Tom Wopat.
Obvs we wouldn’t replace David Spade in the title role, as we’re pretty sure Spade actually is Joe Dirt in real life. The only other male character significant enough for a talent like Wopat’s is Clem Doore (former mobster Anthony Benedetti, now in Witness Protection), played by Christopher Walken.
Walken’s great, don’t get me wrong, but his performance kind of throws his interactions with Joe Dirt out of whack. Because David Spade is playing such an out-and-out “character” (i.e., no effort to make him seem like an actual person), the general weirdness of Walken’s performance (on par with most of his performances over the last 10-15 years) gives their scenes together the feel of two characters from wildly different comedy sketches thrown together.
With Wopat, you’d get more genuine acting. In place of Walken’s peculiar, signature line readings, with their odd pauses and questionable pronunciations, Wopat would give a more grounded, realistic performance as Clem. You could keep the scenes and all the dialogue the same, and with Wopat’s more actorly performance, Clem would turn into a more believable side character.
Tom Wopat’s about a decade younger than Christopher Walken, but that wouldn’t make much of a difference here. Some mention is made of Benedetti being a mob boss in the 1970s—simply update it to the ‘80s and nothing else really has to change. The Mafia was still going strong in the ‘80s, too.
And finally, as Joe Dirt himself is so obsessed with muscle cars, putting Wopat in the movie would afford the opportunity to work in the General Lee in a “cameo”. There’s a scene in the latter half of the film where Joe is leafing through an old issue of AutoTrader and finds an intriguing listing—we’d simply change the description of the car he’s reading about to match the General. “Check this out: ’69 Charger, competition orange… this guy wants fourteen grand! What?! This guy’s crazy.”