Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

I'm gonna start selling this new flag.
It has 49 stars and 12 stripes on it.
This is gonna drive the cops crazy, not to mention the Newt Nuts who are about to clutter up the Constitution with a don't-torch-the-flag amendment.

Just think. We can load up about a thousand of these, haul 'em up onto the Capitol steps, and maybe slip in one real one. One flag that has the 50 stars and the 13 stripes.

And then, after we burn all of 'em, the cops have to sift through the ashes and figure out which of the 999 flags had 12 stripes, and which one had 13.

A 49-star flag is actually not a flag, right?
It's never been a flag. We went from 48 to 50 stars, without passing Go.
So a 49-star flag is no more of an official flag than a Peter Fonda American-flag biker jacket. Because I'm assuming that, if they make it illegal to burn a modern flag, they're also gonna make it illegal to burn a Betsy Ross flag, a War of 1812 flag, a Civil War flag, a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a 48-star World War II flag.

The only thing we'll be left with is flags that aren't really flags.
If you think about it, this is a wonderful American compromise.
The guys with the psoriasis in Congress will be happy, because nobody is burning any real flags.

And the guys with the nose rings will be happy because the flags they're burning look like real flags, and they don't really know how many stars they're supposed to have on 'em anyway.

Has anybody noticed that it's mostly young people who burn flags?
And has anybody noticed that it's these same young people who, just about five years ago, tried to defend their high school flags in court case after court case all across the country? And in every case where there was some kind of Confederate symbol on the flag, they lost the court cases?

And the reasoning went something like this: "You might love this flag. Your high school might have used this flag for 70 years to instill fear in the hearts of the crosstown Cedar Creek High School Wailing Walruses. But a few students are offended by it.

"That's their right. So we're getting rid of it. We're getting a flag in here that everybody likes. Oh, you don't like the new flag? Well, that's your right. But we're not enforcing your right this year."

They got rid of these flags even when they had majority votes to save 'em.
And so all these kids learned that no flag is forever. No symbol lasts. No tradition is so important that it won't change with the times. And majority votes don't count anymore.

And when they got to college, they took a good look at the geezer Congress and the doddering Supreme Court and the paunchy president, and they said, "Time to change the durn flag around here."

And you know what?
That's their right.
Speaking of American traditions, it's been a while since we've had a great Wes Craven flick, but Mind Ripper is not one of his classics.

Basically we've got the old science-experiment-goes-wacko plot, with a bunch of biology geeks living in an abandoned nuke site out in the desert, working on a super-soldier virus for the Army.

When they find a bloody mangled body nearby, they decide to juice it up with some injections that will make the guy live a thousand years, but then they give him just a little too much, and--WHOOPS--here comes a baldheaded bodybuilder with a 9-inch tongue with a shark tooth on the end of it.

And he likes to eat brains.
Fortunately, they have just enough time to call Lance Henriksen before the Mutant Android Bloodsucker gets loose.

Lance quit the project but his conscience is bothering him. So he brings his two kids along on the mission, along with his daughter's oversexed dork of a boyfriend, thinking, "Hey, what the heck, I'll subdue the cyborg, and then we'll go camping."

When they're not chasing the rampaging Mr. Clean monster, they all work out their feelings in heart-to-heart family talks.

It's like Ordinary People, but with a rampaging blood-spurting vampire killer cavorting in the background, throwing gooey barrels of nuclear waste on people.

One of the best horror flicks made in Bulgaria all year.
Ten dead bodies. No breasts. Flesh-ripping.
Hypodermic spear-guns. One fistfight.
Eyeball-eating rats. Bloody tooth-tongue brain-burrowing.

Foot-chewing. Ear-ripping. Spike through the neck. Brain-eating. Gratuitous maggots.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
*Lance Henriksen, as the sensitive mutant-creator who says, "Loose ends come back to haunt you."

*And Dan Blom, as the twitching, vomiting, furball-burping super-mutant, for saying, "You're the one that made me hurt!"

Two stars.

Dear Joe Bob:
Your response to the "Christian" who canceled his newsletter subscription was great. Jesus laughed--he was the Son of God, right? And God has to have a sense of humor, right?

Look at this crazy, strange, mixed-up world and say he doesn't. Could any being without humor have created naked people, fuzzy caterpillars, rainbows and drive-ins all in the same world?

Well, he had help on the last item. There are several drive-ins in Germany. There is one near Kaiserslautern and one on the north side of Stuttgart.

And if you think a Grade B is unintentionally funny in English, try it with German dubbing. Lips move and there are no words, there are words and no lips move. Terrific.

And German makes the villains who want to take over the world even meaner and more sinister.

My closing question is, "Why?" I've got enough trouble balancing my checkbook (at least I'm better than your average Congressperson) without conquering the world.

I guess the Ming the Merciless types don't think about all the headaches ruling the world (or universe) would give them.

Respectfully,
Thomas L. Cole, U.S. Army, Germany

Dear Thomas:
Have you noticed how there's not a single country now that wants to take over the world? But they go to war anyway, because they always think somebody else wants to take over the world?

(To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail or his world-famous newsletter, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221. Joe Bob's fax line at his trailer house is always open: 214-985-7448. Joe Bob even hangs out on CompuServe: 76702,1435.)

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

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