Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

Bob "Ho-Hum'' Dole can't even come up with any NEW reasons to hate Hollywood.
He could have written that speech in 1909. All these goldurn violent movies like Natural Born Killers are destroying our young people.

All these goldurn sexy movies like Basic Instinct are corrupting our libidos.

I guess the only reason he didn't talk about drugs is that he didn't see Pulp Fiction or Naked Lunch. As soon as we left the theaters, we all wanted to go out and shoot heroin for three, four days.

Here's what I wanna know. The same week that Pineapple Man made this speech, the number one movie at the box office was Casper, the one about the friendly ghost. The flick made 24 million in three days!

Hollywood made that movie, too.
So if all these Hollywood movies are turning us into such bad people, why isn't Casper turning us into good people?

Lemme explain this one more time, Bob. Maybe you weren't listening last time.

I know a lot of screenwriters. Most of 'em are nerds. All of 'em are peaceful. They have to be, because 90 percent of their time is spent alone in a room with themselves.

Some of 'em use drugs, but not when they're writing.
They are not sitting around thinking: "How much sex should I put in? How much violence should I put in? Should this guy use drugs?''

They're thinking about stories and structure and dialogue and scenes. They're thinking about these things all day long.

They think about these things so much they become complete bores at dinner.
They have a few drinks and start saying things like: "Remember that Preston Sturges movie where he got away with a 45-page first act? I love that!''

Or: "I like the way Tarantino started the movie with the first half of the third act, then cut to the first-act climax with no explanation. He only got away with it because of that three-page Samuel L. Jackson speech about the foot massage.''

In other words, the last thing they're thinking about is putting a civics lesson in the movie.

In the rare cases where somebody does try to put a civics lesson in the movie, they're bored to tears.

I hate to tell you how much you don't know what you're talking about, Bob, but lemme assure you of one thing:

You know where they get these ideas--about guns and killings and casual sex and destructive drug use?

Not in their poolside bungalows or their trips to the computer store.
They get these ideas from something called Life.
Try it, Bob. Take a little speed and check it out.

And speaking of movies Bob should watch, The Dangerous is one of the finest flicks ever made about a sensitive brother-sister killer ninja team who come to New Orleans to avenge the death of their sister who got smothered in wet cement by a Meskin drug lord who now thinks the local police are assassinating his dealers, even though it's the killer ninjas who are doing it even though the local police are led by a corrupt redneck who hires a renegade horseback-riding motorcyclist to come back from the desert and save his oversexed girlfriend from certain death because she's now working for Tito the Crazed Drug Baron.

I don't really remember what happens in this movie. I just reviewed it because it's the movie debut of O.J.'s girlfriend, Paula Barbieri, who has her big emotional moment when she says:

"We can just go! We can just get out of here! We can go anywhere! We can be anybody! We can do anything we want to! The world's our oyster! Just you and me!''

And her boyfriend says, "It's not that easy, Paula.''
And then, three seconds after the first speech, she has her second big emotional speech, which goes:

"That's just perfect! Just like three years ago! Who even gives a --, OK? Just get out the door! Just let it slam! Let it hit you, OK?''

Unfortunately, you can't tell the difference between the two speeches.
Fortunately, Paula wears a micromini and high heels throughout the flick, including the scenes where she's being chased by mobsters with automatic weapons.

This is another great vehicle for Robert Davi, who was the South American drug king in License to Kill and 9,000 other movies, then turned state's evidence or something and became a cop in the last 10 movies he's made.

In this movie, he's not a cop or a bad guy. He's a motorcycle-riding lone wolf who speaks Japanese and understands the emotions of killer ninjas, so the police chief brings him out of retirement and turns him loose with assault weapons in a cemetery full of goons.

In other words, way too much plot getting in the way of the story.
There's even a character played by Michael Pare who has absolutely nothing to do. He doesn't even get an emotional speech. And there's a one-minute cameo by Elliott Gould as a coke-dealing projectionist, for no apparent reason.

And Joel Grey is in this movie!
He's some kind of crippled homeless sage who rides around in the trunk of the ninjas' car, reporting on their whereabouts through his cellular phone.

He looks like a Raggedy Andy doll that's been left out in the rain for three days.

Forty-four dead bodies. Thirty-two breasts. Cement suffocation.
Samurai sword-hacking. Dagger face-ripping. Crucifixion.
Umbrella-wielding ninja killers with machine guns. Two running gun battles. Throat-slitting.

Thirty-floor death plunge. Exploding car, with fireball. One vehicular crash and burn.

Gratuitous Ron Jeremy.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
--Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, as the revenge-seeking ninja who tells his mama, "We are no longer people--we are wind.''

--Juan Fernandez, as the oily drug king, for saying "I want them cut to pieces.''

--John Savage, as a weirdbeard knife-specialist assassin, for saying, "We've never touched guns--we've never had to.''

--Marco St. John, as the corrupt police official who says, "This is New Orleans--you follow the laws we make up, or you get out.''

And Robert Davi, for another great Mr. Intensity performance, as the renegade who says: "We kill them, or no one does. They belong to us. We belong to them.''

Three stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Copyright 1995 Joe Bob Briggs. Distributed by NYT Special Features/Syndication Sales.

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