Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

What used to be the two most boring words in the history of the English language?

"Mutual funds," right?
What does everybody wanna talk about at parties in the '90s?
Mutual funds, right?

Everybody's buying mutual funds. People who can't divide nine by three are buying mutual funds. People who can't spell "mutual fund" are buying mutual funds. Topless dancers named after miniature poodles have mutual-fund growth portfolios.

And the weird thing about it is, these are people who have normal jobs, like stacking light bulbs down at Home Depot, but when it comes to watching those mutual funds listings in the Daily Bugle, they get hysterically happy if Home Depot lays off 10,000 people.

Why? Because it makes the stock market go up. All they do is follow the Dow Jones up and down, up and down, and lately mostly up, up, and uppity up.

You've got Turkish car mechanics who say, "But you don't understand. That guy had to fire 94,000 employees. Look at what the stock price did the next day. It was obviously an inefficient company."

And all his working-class friends nod and go, "Yep, that's right."
And so what does this remind you of?
Numero Uno: Hundreds of thousands of people investing in mutual funds--including a lot of people who don't know diddly squat about the stocks they're investing in.

Numero Two-o: Scared corporation presidents who will do anything to make those mutual-fund managers happy, including gutting their companies.

Numero Three-o: A stock market that's spouting like Old Faithful, as millions of retirees and other common folk go, "Yippie Ti Yay."

Numero Four-o: Nobody paying any attention to whether this is good for the long-term health of the country, especially when one big company keeps gobbling up other big companies.

You know what it reminds me of? 1929.
I'm sure it's just me.
And speaking of impressive new highs, is it my imagination or do the garbanzos get bigger in each new Andy Sidaris flick?

I'm talking about Day of the Warrior, which starts off a new Sidaris series called L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies. (Legion to Ensure Total Harmony And Law. I'm not making this up.)

Undercover federal agents apparently are recruited from a spandex test site in Arizona, where they set new quality-control standards for double-projectile stress fabrics.

We begin with the always-yummy Julie K. Smith, deep undercover at a Beverly Hills topless bar.

If you took Hannibal Lechter's leather outfit, turned it inside out and cut holes everywhere there's a body part, that's what Julie is wearing in the opening credits.

"Call me Cobra," she whispers.
I'll call you tonight.
We're into classic Andy Sidaris territory here, with several Playboy Playmates, Penthouse Pets, centerfold girls, American Gladiators, and exotic dancers all trying to capture WCW rassler Marcus Bagwell, making his film debut as "The Warrior."

The undercover agents work for Penthouse Pet of the Year Julie Strain, who conducts her vast operation in a leopard-skin thong bikini while working out on an exercise bike.

She teams up with a Chinese martial-artist Elvis impersonator named Fu to find out how Bagwell infiltrated the secret computer and endangered the lives of nude models.

Pay special attention when Julie K., decked out in her trademark pink minidress and 6-inch heels, goes to a Beverly Hills jeweler to pick up some black-market rocks. The jeweler is Kevin Eastman, legendary millionaire comic-book artist and creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Kevin pretty much realized the comic-book guy's dream this year when he got married to...fantasy woman Strain herself, who models for his Heavy Metal magazine.

Just a little inside gossip from Cinema du Sidaris.
Andy has too much plot in the way of the story, but the scenery blows up real good.

Andy, in other words, is back, and pretty soon he'll pass the record set by Cubby Broccoli's James Bond movies for the most films in a single series.

But, whereas Cubby spends 80-million bucks on each movie, Andy and his wife, Arlene, spend, oh, 80 bucks. So you can see what a genius creative team we've got here.

Andy writes 'em, directs 'em, and drives the actors to the set. Arlene says to the actresses: "Why are you complaining? You just had a meal yesterday."

My kinda people.
Fifteen dead bodies. One dead hoot owl. Twenty-six breasts.
Multiple aardvarking. Mexican torture. Exploding Jeep.
Two exploding shacks. Exploding car. Exploding speedboat.

One blow-up rubber dolly. Four gun battles. One motor vehicle chase, with crash.

One speedboat chase. Giant earth-moving-equipment attack.
Gratuitous roller-blading surfer-dude hitmen.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Julie K. Smith, for doing the sultry leather dance, wearing zebra hosiery, shooting her traitorous pool guy, and saying, "I hope he doesn't clog my filter."

* Tammy Parks, for her stunning performance as an undercover porno star.
* Shae Marks, who has two enormous talents, for saying: "Everything I touch has a way of exploding."

* Marcus Bagwell, as the rassler-turned-white slaver who dresses up like an Indian, crushes the heads of his enemies, and says, "Are we on the same page here?"

* Julie Strain, for oiling up her body and saying, "I worked at Disneyland; I was one of the rides."

* And Andy Sidaris, the writer-director, for writing lines like: "It's so flat that when your dog runs away from here, you can see him for three days."

Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

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

 
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