By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By Claire Lawton
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Anna Merlan
Anyhow, ever since Wanda found out it's gonna be a boy, she's been going around boring the whole universe to tears by telling us what she's gonna name it. One week it was all the names that end in "ad.'' Chad, Thad, Tad and even Vlad.
I said, "Wanda, I think Vlad is the name of a Romanian vampire.''
And she said, "Oh, you already HATE HIM!'' And she burst into tears for absolutely no reason and refused to stop until I beat her over the head with a throw pillow.
Anyway, the point I was trying to make to Wanda is that you can't just go throwing names out into midair when the baby hasn't even been BORN yet. You need to LOOK AT THE KID, AFTER HE'S BORN, to know what to name him. Isn't that what you do with a dog? How do you know he's gonna be a "Chad,'' which I looked up, by the way, and it's a Celtic name that means "warring defender''?
"Good choice,'' I told Wanda, "if only because I know he's gonna have to be fending YOU off for the next 20 years.''
And she started bawling like a hyena again.
I looked up all her other names, too. Thad means "wise'' in Jewish. "Tad'' is Welsh for "father.'' ("Isn't it a little SOON to be thinking about THAT? You expect him to get some girl in the hospital nursery pregnant?'') And Vlad means "universal ruler'' in Russian.
For a while she decided the kid would be named Cameron. I pointed out that this means "crooked nose'' in Celtic, Gaelic, and Scottish, so she could humiliate the kid in three DIFFERENT languages. Then she changed to Flynn, which means "son of the red-haired man'' in Gaelic, and I went: "Bingo! Use that one! Everybody will think you slept with Jimbo McWithers.''
But she just kept right on, like the meaning of the name didn't mean diddly-squat, so finally I gave up and told her to just go ahead and GIVE the kid some name that means "scourge of the wind-whistling spaceman,'' but wouldn't it make more sense if you just waited till the kid started bawling and THEN decided on a name? Look into his eyes, till you SEE SOMETHING in there, and then I think it would just naturally OCCUR to you.
"It's HIS dadblamed name, Wanda. HE'S gonna have to live with it, not you.''
Ask me if she listened to me. Just ask me.
And speaking of little unexpected surprises in the mail, Mark Steensland, the one-man film industry of Sacramento, Calif., just sent me his latest epic, and it's called The Last Way Out, starring Kurt Johnson as a reformed kidnapper who forgets to tell his new wife that, uh, oh yeah, honey, uh, if anybody finds out what I did two years ago, I might go to Death Row. But it's OK, because Kurt intends to make a go of it at his new auto-repair shop with a lovable but incompetent ex-con.
When a bank turns down his loan application, though, Kurt ends up ALMOST robbing a convenience store, then, while mulling the meaning of life in the parking lot, knocking down and beating to a pulp the two guys who DO try to rob the same convenience store. Suddenly he's a media hero, and that alerts the sleazeball ex-partners who didn't much care for Kurt after he ran off with the million-dollar ransom two years ago. But Kurt had a good reason. They executed the six-year-old boy who was kidnapped.
I did add one star to Mark's score for having the head bad guy use the phrase "if you know what I mean, and I think you do.'' He obviously copies from the BEST.
Three dead bodies. No breasts. Brain-shooting.
Two fistfights. Bloody knee wound. Scalding coffee to the face. Steel-rod pummelling. Wine bottle head-bashing. Face-bashing with an anti-theft device. Gun battle.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for:
*Kevin Reed, as the sarcastic low-life gang leader who says, "Cops would just love to know who you REALLY are.''
*Kurt Johnson, as the sensitive capital criminal who wants to be a family man, for saying, "Leave my wife out of this!''
*And Mark Steensland, the writer, producer, and director, for daring to use black and white.
Drive-In Noir. Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.
Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's skull skunker comes from Tess Elkins of Collingswood, N.J.: "When I was a kid I saw an old black-and-white movie in which the main character discovers an eye on his shoulder. Throughout the movie the eye grows into a head and eventually an entire monster-body.
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