Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

Have you noticed how many things can cause fistfights these days?
I mean, things that used to be considered normal, and even polite, but now they're grounds for fights, lawsuits and general ugliness.

For example, the words "Excuse me."
"Excuse me" used to be what you would say if you were trying to be nice. But watch what happens today if somebody is standing in the middle of the grocery aisle, and you can't get by, and so you say "Excuse me."

You've just disturbed that guy. You've just invaded his peace of mind. You've just upset his right to stand in the middle of the grocery aisle.

A fistfight is possible.
Another example: shushing in movie theaters. I'm a big advocate of shushing. I'm a championship shusher. I'm such a great shusher that I once successfully silenced an entire field trip of junior high schoolers.

My secret: I never use the sharp, high-pitched shush. I always use the slow, continuous, gentle but firm shush. It starts out so low you can barely hear it, gradually increases in volume, and doesn't stop until the theater is quiet.

It's actually kinda creepy when you do it right. Of course, you can only use it if you are four seats or less away from the loudmouth.

Any farther away than that, and you bother everybody except the talker. That's why, if you're within four seats, it's your duty to shush.

Anyhow, my point is that shushing can cause fistfights. Shushing used to cause shame. That's why people did it. You would shush somebody, and the person would think, "Gee whiz, was I talkin' that loud?" And it would be over.

Today, people wanna argue with the shusher!
I took a trip on Amtrak with my buddy Randy and his girlfriend. A couple of 12-year-olds kept running up and down the aisle, disturbing everyone's sleep, and so Randy finally said, "Hey, you boys decide where you're gonna sit. You're botherin' everybody."

And they were mad about it. They wanted to argue, defy, yell at him about their rights. I had to wade into it myself.

The conductor had to be notified. The boys had to be threatened with being put off the train before order was restored. All because they were doing something everybody regards as dumb.

Listen up, people.
When I was 12 years old, I ran up and down aisles, until grownups made me stop.

I've been known to block a grocery aisle.
I've been known to talk too loud in a movie theater.
The only difference is that, when somebody pointed out what a jerk I was being, I just apologized and went on with life. I didn't think I had to fight my way back into respectability.

We're human beans, okay? We're gonna get in each other's way, talk too loud, and irritate the public peace. That's why we have words like "Excuse me" and "Hey, hold it down over there" and "I'd 'preciate it if you'd put a lid on it"--so that we can all get on through life without havin' fistfights.

What changed?
Did we run out of real stuff to fight over?
Let's lighten up a little, okay?

And speaking of flicks you'll wanna hear every word of, Vampire Vixens From Venus is finally here, and it lives up to its promise as the finest depiction of bloodsucking outer-space monsters disguised as big-breasted party girls ever filmed in New Jersey.

Three plug-ugly aliens with faces like mutant pigs land in Jersey, touch their magic bracelets, and become oversexed airheads in search of a disco.

They offer sex to every man they see--but only so they can put an electronic beanie on his head, turn him into a piece of gooey beef jerky and suck out all his body fluids.

Leon Head stars as the British detective doing a performance that looks like a cross between Inspector Clouseau and Benny Hill after being slugged in the head with a fistful of nickels.

Leon falls in love with legendary scream queen Michelle Bauer, more beautiful than ever, only to find out that she, too, is a meat-faced skag from Venus.

Made for about 50 bucks, which means they occasionally actually move the camera in this one.

Thirteen dead bodies. Twenty-four breasts. Multiple face goo. Scalpel face-stabbing. Gratuitous Charlie Callas.

Drive-In Academy Award nomination for:
The gorgeous J.J. North, as the blonde party alien, for saying "This planet stinks!"

Two stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's noodle-knocker comes from...Sgt. Dave Johnson, U.S. Air Force:
"Have you ever heard of a movie called California 405? It stars the fat guy who plays the boss on the TV idiodrama 'Hunter.' The same guy who also had a tiny slime-less role in Kurt Russell's The Thing.

"It takes place entirely on the freeways surrounding Los Angeles (in people's cars 'n' stuff). I'm told this movie made its debut at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. I had a bit part in it, late in the production, and haven't been able to find hide nor hair of it anywhere.

Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help

Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!