Trailer and title sequence for Jimmy the Kid, plus “Keep Your Paws Off My Dog”

Jimmy the Kid, as I’m sure you know, was the Dortmunder novel that used a nonexistent Parker book (Child Heist) to launch its plot.

It’s been filmed three times. The other two versions are foreign, and, so far as I know, unseeable in the US. They may be unseeable anywhere at this point. The 1982 version starring Gary Coleman is difficult to see, but it was released on VHS and bootlegs exist.

If anything, it should be the other way around. Because even though I’ve never seen the foreign versions, there is no way they are worse than this one. I didn’t make it all the way through due to a videotaping snafu, and I’ve never been happier about a videotaping snafu. (Although I have a complete version now, so one of these days I’m going to have to force myself to watch it. I’ll need to make sure there are no firearms or sharp objects around at the time.)

Some artifacts from this anti-classic have recently surfaced on YouTube. We’ll go in order of cringeworthiness.

First up is the animated title sequence, which is by far the best part of the movie–assuming there isn’t something great in the part that I didn’t see, which is almost certainly a safe assumption. This sequence might even fool you into thinking you’re not about to suffer through torture.

Next up is the trailer, which is a fair representation of the sort of “comedy” that you’re about to suffer through.

Finally, we have this unforgettable clip. Here’s the setup–Coleman’s (I’m not going to call him Jimmy) parents are singers. Being black, with pops adorned in red leather, you’d expect (or would expect, if the incompetent direction didn’t telegraph the joke) that they’re going to perform some soul or funk number. Wrong! Instead, they’re country singers! Because black people singing country is square! And the song they sing is the immortal country classic, “Keep Your Paws Off My Dog,” because that’s the kind of stuff country singers sing about!

Tears of laughter streaming down your face yet?

What’s so so sad about all of this is that the cast for this movie is great, and, given the source material, it could have been a really good movie. Instead, thanks to piss-poor writing and direction, we got this awful, nearly forgotten mess.

They should have let the people who did the title sequence write and direct it.