Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

I have a question about singers:
How come they use a microphone when they're singin' in a place the size of a Salvation Army bathroom?

I mean, you're sittin' about four feet from this chantoose and she starts wailing away into about 70 tons of sound equipment until the little hairs on the backs of your legs burst into flame.

And if their voices are supposed to be so spectacular--as in the case of the dreaded cabaret act--why do they want this metallic electrical thingy distorting their Cole Porter lyrics in the first place?

To get an answer, I called up my buddy Hank "The Hammer" Hammett, who's sort of an opera singer.

He's actually not an opera singer, but he sings in foreign languages while standing in front of symphony orchestras, so that's good enough for me. As far as I know, the man has never used a mike in his life.

Hank's answer: "Nobody with a decent voice needs a mike."
And I said, "Anywhere?"
And he said, "Anywhere."

And I said: "Not even at the Metropolitan Opera? Not even on Broadway? Not even when you're singin' outdoors at the Hollywood Bowl or the Astrodome?"

And Hank says, "You still don't need it."
And then Hank launched into this long story about how he once sang the "Carmina Burana" with a double orchestra in the bullfight ring in Guadalajara, Mexico.

I don't know exactly what the "Carmina Burana" is, but Hank says it's real loud. And the solo singer has to sing over two orchestras, shootin' that music right out into the open air, for about 10,000 fidgety Meskins.

"No mike?" I said.
"No mike," says Hank. "Sometimes you can't hear your own voice, but you just trust that you're in the center of the note, and they'll hear you."

So I went ahead and asked the Hankster:
So why is it that when you go to see Phantom of the Opera at the Dallas Summer Musicals, they've all got mikes wired to the sides of their heads?

And he says, "Because they haven't learned to sing."
But doesn't it distort the music?
"Yep," Hank said. "It does. The singing would sound better if there were no mikes."

Same thing for Madonna?
"Same thing for Madonna."
Same thing for Michael Bolton?
"Same thing for Michael Bolton."
Same thing for Garth Brooks?
"You don't need a mike!"

The Hammer had spoken, and he was tired of my questions. But it felt good, for once in my life, to be so goldurned right about something.

You people put the dang microphones down. I do not wanna have to tell you again.

And speaking of people who refuse to do the same old thing, I watched this flick called Intimate Deception, and just when you think the low-budget erotic thriller has been run so far into the ground that it's poppin' out in China, here comes George Saunders, the writer-producer-director-actor who made Street Angels for about four bucks.

This is his second flick, which he spent about eight bucks on, and it's a truly original flick where he does put the "erotic" back in erotic thriller.

George himself plays the lead, a scruffy, frustrated painter who keeps having these nightmares about the young burglar he blew away three months ago.

He and his foxy wife are in danger of losing the old beach house if they don't generate a little extra income, so they rent out a tiny room and, of course, the gal who moves in is an oversexed bombshell who has to put traffic flags on the front of her blouse, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

While she gets busy as George's nude model, the wife starts lurking around the pool of the new next-door hunk, and pretty soon we've got all kinds of Aardvarkus Suburbicus.

You might spot a couple of twists in this baby, but there is no way you will spot the ending. This is one of those rare ones where there's a lot of sex and a lot of actual acting.

Where did this George Saunders come from, anyhow, and how come nobody hired him to do that lame Madonna flick, Body of Evidence? If he can do work like this on this kind of budget, he could even make her look good.

Seven dead bodies. Thirty-three breasts. One fistfight.
Basketball-court tango. Multiple aardvarking.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for:

*Nicole Gian, as the wily but sexually frustrated wife who likes to lurk in the neighbor's bushes, for saying, "Touch me--please," and, "Most beautiful things tend to have a bite to them," and, "No matter what, thank you for tonight."

*Lisa Boyle, as the knockout nude model who loves her work, for saying, "I look at myself as an essential ingredient in the art of creation," and "Believe me, I have a way of making a man scream," and, "It's not safe to talk to strangers--it's much safer to kill 'em."

*Dan Frank, as the oily hunk who moves in next door and says, "Let's just say I have an entrepreneurial spirit."

*And George Saunders, the writer, director, producer, and haunted artist surrounded by nekkid women, for saying, "Stay away from me, Bob, or I promise I will give you a reason to hate me."

Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find that Flick
This week's brain-bruiser comes from... Scott B. Denning of Bernalillo, N.M.:

"The setting is Mars. Our hero and heroine are sharing a pensive moment, gazing out across the windswept sand dunes on which they have landed their ship.

"She shivers, drawing him closer, and says, 'It's so, so...unearthly!' He looks about and replies, 'Yep--it's another planet, all right.'

"I was so stunned by the elegance of this dialogue I completely blanked out the title of the movie, and have not been able to recall it.

"I would like to find a copy, though, because it so perfectly catches the spirit of the space-schlock of the '50s and '60s."

A video will be awarded to the correct answer. (The winner chooses from a list of about a thousand titles.) In the event of a tie, a drawing will be held. Send "Find That Flick" questions and solutions to Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221, or fax them to 214-985-7448, or e-mail them to Joe Bob on the Internet: 76702.1435@compuserve.com.

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

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