Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

We started worrying about Vida Stegall the week she said: "See y'all later! I'm going on vacation!" And when we asked her WHERE she was going on vacation, she said "Brunei." And we asked her where that was, and it turns out it's somewhere over in the Middle East, and so Vida goes over there and comes home four weeks later and buys a Jaguar.

OK, what about it? Vida made a little CASH while she was over in Brunei. Big deal.

Fast-forward three months. Vida tells Wanda Bodine that she's going on vacation AGAIN, and maybe Wanda will wanna go with her, because, where she's going, they can make $2,000 a day. And, of course, Wanda says, "Doing what?"

And Vida says, "Hostessing."
And Wanda says, "Like at a restaurant?"
"More like at a bar."
And Wanda says, "Who would pay somebody $2,000 a day to hostess at a bar?"

And Vida says: "The exchange rate in Japan is really high. It's not very much money to THEM."

And so Vida and Wanda go over to Osaka for three weeks and come back--and Wanda buys a Winnebago.

Now all the other girls in town are starting to be really curious about this deal, and Sally Klem shows up one day and tells Vida Stegall that, the next time she goes on a working vacation, Sally wants to go along. And Vida says, "Impossible." And Sally gets her feelings hurt and says, "Why not?"

And Vida says, "Because they wouldn't hire you."
And Sally takes it so personally she starts crying, and so Vida takes pity on her and says: "OK, you can GO. But first you have to dye your hair blonde."

And Sally asks why and Vida says they only like BLONDE hostesses in Singapore, which is the next vacation spot on her list. And so three of 'em head for Singapore, and then four of 'em head for Bogota, and then a whole BOATLOAD of 'em fly off one day for Hong Kong--they musta hired half the waitresses at Hooters--and so one day I saw Wanda Bodine down at the Kentucky Fried Chicken place and I said, "Wanda, what the HAY-ull is going on?"

And Wanda just looked at me. And she said: "Short foreign guys like to give money to big blonde American girls. That's ALL I'm gonna say about it."

I'm thinking of calling up Oprah. At LEAST Jenny Jones. The way this thing's developing, it could affect the Newnited States balance of trade.

Meanwhile, for the time being, I do believe I'll be dating OUTSIDE the county, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

And speaking of deeply disturbing alien behavior, this week's movie is one of the most hard-to-watch horror flicks I've ever seen, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Corbin Bernsen is psycho. Corbin Bernsen has a drill in his hand. Corbin Bernsen is trying to destroy ugly plaque wherever he finds it, including in the HEARTS of his patients. Corbin Bernsen is...The Dentist.

It took Brian Yuzna, producer of the original Re-Animator, to bring close-up dental work to its natural home--in a horror film. And he doesn't spare us anything, from a woman who gets all her teeth extracted without anesthetic to an IRS agent who gets his mouth widened with one of those metal-screw protractors until his orifice just pretty much rips his jaws right out of their sockets.

It's grisly, it's bloody, it's periodontally perverse. It's a splatter film that takes place almost entirely inside a dentist's office.

I loved it, of course.
When Corbin catches his cold-as-ice wife making the sign of the triple-finned salamander with the pool boy, he starts having hallucinations about just what horrible germs might be in her mouth. Unfortunately, he's drilling on patients when he has the hallucinations, so he starts sawing off molars, juicing up the nitrous oxide on beauty queens and generally playing Terminal Root Canal with anything that walks into his field of vision.

When Corbin tells you you have a cavity, you have a CAVITY.
The great thing about this flick is that it never stops moving, never gets boring, and never becomes predictable. So I'm not gonna tell you another single thing about it.

Best horror flick of '97.
Five dead bodies. One dead dog. Two breasts. Aardvarking.
Pistol to the mouth. Close-up tooth decay. (Yuk.) Novocaine-injection close-up. (Double Yuk.)

Gum-puncturing, with blood spurts.
Pantyhose strangulation.
Nonelective multiple-tooth extraction.

Throat-slitting. Drilling into the root. Air-bubble neck injection. Teeth roll. Tongue rolls.

Nitrous-oxide fu. Drill fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for:
*Corbin Bernsen, as the psycho dentist who says, "Nothing is free of decay" and: "You don't know what it's like! The discipline! The long hours! The lack of respect in a world that goes on ignoring dental hygiene!"

*Michael Stadvec, as the hunky pool guy who cleans the brown crud out of the filter and wipes it on Corbin's wife.

*Linda Hoffman, as the no-good cheating wife who says, "You know I don't want you anymore--you bore me."

*Christa Sauls, as the nervous beauty queen who says, "I have this thing about needles."

*Mark Ruffalo, as the groovy personal manager who says, "Are you a model?"
*Earl Boen, as the oily IRS man who says, "You got REAL tax problems--you need to do a good job for me."

*Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and Charles Finch, the screenwriters, for lines like, "Who do they think they are, with their vile infected lives?"

*Ken Foree, as the detective who says, "A dentist is a little like a cop--necessary evil."

*Molly Hagan, as the suspicious dental assistant who says, "I'm gonna shut you down!"

*Virginya Keehne, as the young girl with a gun to her head who says, "I'm sorry, I won't eat candy, I'll brush three times a day--please!"

*And Brian Yuzna, the director, for doing things the drive-in way.
I didn't think I would ever say this, but it's BETTER than "Doctor Butcher M.D."

Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

©1997 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)

(To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221 or fax him at 213-462-5982. Joe Bob even hangs out on the Internet: 76702.1435@compuserve.com.)

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