Ah, 2009, a year of enviable innocence, when the public could place its unreserved trust in leaked audio of a movie star completely losing his shit. But like so many things that we could once rely upon—our online security, our fragile peace with China, our “Twerk Fails”—Jimmy Kimmel has even ruined that. We now live in a dark age of mistrust, when video of Dennis Quaid having a “meltdown” on a movie set, screaming obscenities in the faces of its crew members, can no longer be warmly embraced without a burned and jaded nation immediately suspecting Jimmy Kimmel is behind it. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio’s fake nude photo? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo…
So, here it is, a video uploaded to YouTube four days ago titled “DENNIS QUAID FREAK OUT,” in which the actor explodes over a supposed interruption, then storms off set. “What the fuck—keep going!” Quaid screams. “I am acting here, and this dickhead wanders onto my set! I can’t even get a line out until Dopey The Dick starts whispering in your ear, and you’re not even watching anymore!” Watch as Quaid angrily yells, ”Blow me,” and remember a gentler time when you could believe he means it.
As many have noted, the resemblance to Christian Bale’s infamous meltdown on the set of Terminator Salvation is striking—perhaps too striking, say the doubters. Like Bale, Quaid also rails against the lack of professionalism (“This is the most unprofessional set I have ever been on!”), and resists the director’s attempts to quell him (“Don’t fucking ‘Dennis’ me!”) Unlike Bale, Quaid lives in a newer world where this kind of “meltdown” is now part of the cultural lexicon, as recognizable as any Shakespearean monologue, and clichéd as any line from Borat. The undeniable poetry of “Dopey The Dick” aside, you can’t unspool a rant like this now without it feeling like just another performance.
In fact, Quaid should know from his brother Randy: These days, if you truly want to convince people you’re unstable, you have to put a Rupert Murdoch mask on your wife while you have sex with her. Even just among the Quaid family, the bar for “meltdown” is simply too high.
And there are other factors contributing to the doubt—like, for instance, what movie is Quaid supposedly filming? His next movie, the Dan Rather story Truth, has high-profile co-stars like Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett; surely word of this kind of incident happening in Robert Redford’s vicinity would have leaked some other way.
There’s also the strange specificity of Quaid’s parting lines—“I’ve got these fucking zombies over here that I have to look at, I have a bunch of pussies staring at me, and this fucking baby!”—right as the camera conveniently cuts away. It’s all just too ripe a set-up for Kimmel to say he’s unearthed “another just-released angle” revealing Quaid yelling at actual zombies, cats, and a baby. And of course, there’s already a commenter on Reddit who claims they work for Kimmel, and can “confirm” he’s behind it. But yes, of course he is. Jimmy Kimmel has by now sucked the joy of surprise out of everything—even Jimmy Kimmel.
In probably related news, Sony’s streaming service Crackle announced today that Dennis Quaid will star in its first original drama series, The Art Of More, as a “charismatic real estate shark” working in “the underbelly of premium auction houses.” It joins the previously announced Joe Dirt 2 as part of Crackle’s bold foray into original programming, setting us up for the day when “Crackle” is revealed to be just another Jimmy Kimmel prank.