Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

I went out to El Lay last week and, for the first time in my life, I felt nekkid without a cellular. I actually wanted to hold a cellular in my hand. I went to lunch with three guys at one of those restaurants with a veranda where you can watch the ocean breeze ripple your chest hairs and all three guys brought their cellulars to the table.

I went driving down Sunset Boulevard, thinking: "I could be getting business done while I'm whipping through these hairpin turns. What a waste of time. All I'm doing is listening to one of the 47 ultracool jazz radio stations. And when was the last time there were this many jazz stations anyway--1955?"

I stood on a balcony in one of those Hollywood canyons where the Stilt People live, and I thought, "I could do this." I had no less than four conversations about what producer was sleeping with which actress.

What is happening to me?
And then I realized what it was. I had succumbed to the El Lay disease. I had become a Limo Lizard.

A Limo Lizard doesn't actually have to own a limo or ride in one. A Limo Lizard is simply a person who has spent so much time in El Lay he thinks he deserves a limo. He has started to measure his whole life by the fact that his car is 5 feet longer than everybody else's.

There were telltale signs. I listened to a guy talk about the "yesability" of a proposal, and I didn't bat an eye. I went to a meeting where a respected, working Academy Award-winning actress was trashed as "too old and fat for us." (I don't think she's even 40 yet, and she probably wears a size 6.) I nodded, as though I, too, recognized old age and fatness for the horrid thing it was.

I should have headed for the airport, of course, but I was too far gone for that. Limo Lizards only go to LAX. And when you get there, you demand an upgrade to first class, but only if you don't have to pay for it.

And then, when you get on the plane, you continue to wear your sunglasses long after takeoff. It's only when you've risen up through the smog that your head begins to clear. The Limo Lizard virus begins to subside and you realize that you're sitting in first class with your chest hairs showing, fingering a gold-plated Pez dispenser that says "A-List." You're embarrassed. Disconcerted. Withdrawal has begun. The virus can no longer touch you. The fumes can't cross the mountain. The mobile customer has traveled outside the coverage area.

And speaking of signals you can't escape, Brigitte Nielsen is giving off body heat again this week in Compelling Evidence, her latest attempt to become the hardest-working B-movie actress since Shannon Tweed.

Brigitte plays the weepy, neglected wife (yeah, right) of retiring action star Danny Fendley. Danny wraps his latest picture, Lethal Assault, and heads for the love bungalow of his bosomy girlfriend, the always-willing-to-get-nekkid Melissa Anne Moore.

Unfortunately for Danny, tabloid reporter Dana Plato gets the rug burns on tape, and pretty soon the footage is going out on 19-inch Panasonics in all 50 states.

This is too bad for Melissa, who wants all of Danny's divorce money for herself, and it's even more unfortunate for Brigitte, who promptly gets shot through the brain while strolling in a designer pantsuit.

The grief-stricken Danny consoles himself by surprising Melissa in the hot tub, then splashing champagne all over Dana in her "Hard Copy"-type dressing room and cleaning her up, if you know what I mean and I think you do. I won't tell you what happens, but lemme put it this way: They won't be studying these scenes at the Actor's Studio.

Four dead bodies. Sixteen breasts. One shootout. Multiple aardvarking. Bullet through the forehead. Two fistfights. Ice pick stabbing. Strangulation.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
*Danny Fendley, as the Bronson-type action hero who says, "No amount of money is worth living under a microscope!"

*Franklin Wilson, as the evil studio executive who says, "Before you worked for this studio, even Corman wouldn't hire you!"

*Melissa Anne Moore, for her two enormous talents, and for saying, "I'm the only one that's good enough for you!"

*Brigitte Nielsen, for bursting out of everything she wears, and for saying, "My darling husband--out again all night?"

*And Dana Plato, as the tabloid reporter who keeps champagne in her dressing room just in case she wants to sleep with the people she interviews.

Two stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

JOE BOB'S ADVICE TO THE HOPELESS:
Communist Alert!
The Willis Drive-In Theatre on Poplar Tent Road in Concord, N.C., which had been wasting away as a flea market, is now being torn down to make room for a Super K store. "There is now no hope left," says Smitty Drum of Terrell, N.C., who reminds us that, without eternal vigilance, it can happen here.

Dear Joe Bob:
Would you quit your crying?
I am currently working for the U.S. Navy in Crete and we live without any drive-in theaters. But we are not alone.

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