Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

What is this deal with three people in bed?
I've reviewed at least 10 movies in the last two years in which people are aardvarking around in weird combinations, making the sign of the triple-snouted octopus with so many arms and legs flopping around on the bed covers that you keep going, "Oh my God, what body part is that, and who does it belong to?"

Usually it's two gals and one guy, and they're all palsy-walsy, and one day they go, "Oh why not?"

Where do these people hang out, and how come I'm never invited to their parties?

Anyhow, I have this on-again, off-again girlfriend named Cherry Dilday, and when we went to see Saints and Sinners last week she said, "I don't see why you think it's so shocking. They're all responsible adults. It's not like it's a crime."

This is the same Cherry Dilday who once knocked a beer can out of my hand and stomped all over my Tony Lama's just because I casually mentioned that Vida Stegall looked halfway decent in a sheer nylon-mesh top that rides high above a bare midriff over stretch-cotton denim jeans, especially when she wears 4-inch white pumps.

Lemme put it this way. Cherry did not immediately think, "Great! We can all three get a condo in Key West together!"

But you know what makes Saints and Sinners different?
Two guys, one gal.
Somehow the ladies don't think this idea is so bad. It's just a woman getting all the goldurn attention she deserves but she can never get because of the selfish jerkola she's attached to. Something like that, right?

What I wanna know is this: What if you're rootin' around and you think you're touching one thing and you find out that...excuse me, I'm gonna puke. There's some stuff you just can't talk about in the newspaper.

"Well, it's not a crime," says Cherry Dilday.
Actually, I think it is a crime in several Southern states and parts of New England.

Whether it is or not, I don't wanna test it, OK?
So anyhow, we went and saw Saints and Sinners, and it's one of those flicks they make in the ghetto, where every single character is disgusting and you want all of 'em to die.

Haven't they figured out yet that this only works when one of the disgusting characters is Robert De Niro? Otherwise, you got a whole lot of F-words that are not necessary to the plot.

One guy's an undercover cop running around setting up drug deals with his old buddy from grade school who doesn't know he's about to go to the Big House, and the two of 'em end up fightin' over Jennifer Rubin, the weird, sexy brunette who hangs out at the health-food restaurant.

Jennifer is always sexy and always weird, and in this flick she's a would-be model-actress who likes to get nekkid with two guys at a time.

Major gunplay ensues.
The only thing wrong with this deal is that you don't exactly know what it's supposed to be about.

Does the cop love Jennifer? Does Jennifer love the cop? Does the cop betray his best friend for a girl? Does the girl work for the mob? Is the girl a hooker?

Most important of all, what is William Atherton doing in this movie?
Kinda makes your head hurt.
Nine dead bodies. Eight breasts. Six Quentin Tarantino guns-in-the-face scenes.

Four fistfights. Two gun battles. Multiple aardvarking.
Pipe-bomb fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Jennifer Rubin, as the model with a heart of lead, for saying, "What a disgusting gross pig!"

* Damian Chapa, as the ex-Navy clean-freak undercover cop who says, "I hate guns."

* And Scott Plank, as the drug-dealing "Big Boy" who says, "She ain't no angel."

Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's mental mangler comes from...Ken York of Rhodhiss, N.C.:
"Many years ago when I was a little kid I watched a movie on television called Duel.

"It starred Dennis Weaver as a traveling salesman who was being chased by a mysterious truck driver.

"For years I have been wondering who the truck driver was. They never did show what he looked like or who played him.

"Does anybody know who he is? And was there ever a Duel 2?"
A video will be awarded for 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. You can also fax them to (213) 462-5982 or e-mail them to Joe Bob on the Internet: 76702.1435@compuserve.com. (E-mail entries must include a postal mailing address.)

We have a winner!
David J. Hartley of Las Vegas wrote: "Joe Bob, I can't determine the name of an early end-of-the-world movie about a family trying to escape the nukes.

"It may even have been in black and white, 'cause I'm sure it was made in the '50s or '60s.

"In one scene, the dad is trying to cross the highway or pull onto it or something and, finally, to halt the fleeing masses, he pours gasoline all over the road and lights it. (It works.)

"I haven't seen the movie for about 15 years, but I know I saw it on television. Alas, that is all I can remember. Can you help me out?"

We had two correct answers, so the winner was chosen by drawing. And he is...Carl Sorrell of Hickory, N.C.:

"David is looking for Panic in the Year Zero!
"It starred a past-his-prime Ray Milland--before he became an over-the-hill Ray Milland sharing a body and head with Rosie Grier.

"The movie was made in 1962 and also starred Jean Hagen, who also appeared in The Shaggy Dog.

"Panic was directed by Milland, who did a pretty good job considering that most of the movie takes place at a campsite to which the family has fled as El Lay is destroyed by nukes.

"I remember seeing this movie at a Fairfield, Ohio, drive-in that our family went to every Saturday night during the summer."

Additional information came from Alan Winston of Stanford, Calif.:
"This is clearly Panic in the Year Zero, probably the only end-of-the-world movie with Frankie Avalon."

©1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)

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