Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

A guy in New Jersey got hauled into court for whacking a rat with a broom handle.

The charge: "needlessly killing a rodent."
The Goody Two Shoes Lobby: the Newark Humane Society.
Welcome to the era of Rat Rights.

I would think that, if any city would be happy to get rid of rats, it would be Newark. But it wasn't killin' the rat that bothered the Enviro-Nazis. It was not letting them decide how the rat dies.

You're supposed to wait till they get there so they can decide whether to "put the rat to sleep" with lethal injection, or "set it free in a nature environment."

I know you think I'm makin' this story up. Sometimes I make stories up. I'm not makin' this one up.

A 69-year-old man caught a rat eating his tomato plants, caught it in a live trap, called the Humane Society to come pick it up.

But when they didn't come right away, the rat escaped. He clobbered it with the broom. And now he's charged with a crime.

But that's not all. Condo associations all over America are arguing like crazy over whether to use "glue-board traps" to get rid of rats and mice.

What happens is the rat gets caught in it and starves to death. So all the rat-lovers hate it because it takes too long for the rat to die.

The alternative, they say, is to use cats. I'm sure the Rat Chamber of Commerce loves this idea.

Don't put us in a cruel prison, they're thinking, where we slowly waste away. Let us be eaten alive, crushed by the ruthless jaws of a monster 10 times our size.

I have an idea for how to deal with this particular '90s issue. Now my personal rat weapon of choice is a baseball bat, because there's nothing like that "splat" sound when you score a direct hit, especially to the rat cranium.

But if I ever get caught by the Rat-Rights Police, I know exactly what I'm gonna say.

"I had to do it. The rat was about to eat a cockroach. I saved the cockroach's life."

After all, if we're gonna be humane about this, let's be humane about it, okay?

Let's kill every species that tries to kill any other species.
Let's see, how many species would that be? I believe the answer is "all of 'em."

I'm surprised I have to explain this stuff.
Listen to me. They're rats. They deserve to die.
Speaking of meaningless death, this week's flick is Nothing To Lose, the old familiar story of the French-Canadian street fighter who takes revenge on the mob for murdering his aunt and sister while falling in love with the tough but sexy social worker who won't allow him to see his young niece because he keeps getting kidnapped by vicious coke-dealing martial artists and given the dreaded punch-in-the-tummy torture.

(It consists of being strung up by your wrists and pummeled once in the stomach every time you refuse to answer a question. I've seen more brutal displays at the Neiman Marcus cosmetics counter.)

The mumbledy-mouth kung fu star of the week is Juliano Mer, who has a French accent so heavy that you can barely understand him when he forces out emotional show-stoppers like "Everybody I care about gets hurt."

In his big moment, he points to a punching bag and screams "This is me!"
This is certain to be the first in a series of one movies for Juliano, who looks like Tony Franciosa after a facial and a blow-dry.

In other words, they've been spending that Canadian funny money again.
Eleven dead bodies. One breast. Three motor vehicle chases. One rape, by homosexuals in clown suits. One bald, sword-wielding hippie. Nine Kung Fu scenes.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Michael "I Was in The Godfather" Gazzo, as the gangster who says "He's not a kid anymore--he's a vampire--I wanna drive a stake through his heart"; Juliano Mer, as the only kung-fu star who still trains by skipping a jump-rope, for saying "Look, it would be as easy for me to live in your world as for you to believe in mine!"; Alexandra Paul, as the piece-of-furniture love interest who yells "What about Maria!"; and Paul Gleason, as the obnoxious cop who keeps showing up at crime scenes so he can scream "You let this happen!"

One and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's puzzler comes from J.W. Guard of Parker, Colo.:
"I've been trying to locate a movie I saw a few years ago on late night 'Creature Features.' I believe the title is Invasion of the Star Creatures. I don't know who was in this movie, but it's a fairly sick, tongue-in-cheek, aliens-come-to-Earth type story.

"The plot (or lack thereof) goes something like this: two Amazonesque alien women crash on earth. They are joined by their tree-like alien henchmen and take up residence in a cave. Along come two sad-sack Army private types who discover them trying to fix their ship to either leave or take over the earth (I can't remember which), and the fun begins. They are also joined by a band of Indians who smoke and drink and want to powwow all the time. Not necessarily Academy Award material, but that's why it's such a great no-brainer, slapstick type flick.

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