By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By Claire Lawton
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Anna Merlan
I had eight hours to kill one day, so I went to see The English Patient, just to find out what all the big hoo-haw is. Next time I'll go to the Ukrainian karaoke bar. It's less annoying.
No wonder this thing won so many Oscars. It's four movies all pasted together like an elementary-school science project. First, you got the Ralph "Call me Rafe" Fiennes flashback story, where he aardvarks with a married woman and ends up getting turned into a Post Toastie and lying in a monastery with Mushmelon Face special-effects makeup. Next, you got the nurse who has spiritual nookie with a turban-head bomb expert. (I had no idea why this part was in the movie at all.)Plot numero three-o is Willem Defoe skulking around the monastery so he can eventually reveal how his thumbs were chopped off by Nazi torturers. And finally, you've got the guy who gets blown to smithereens because a mine is hidden in a statue at the end of the movie, and everybody goes: "Now which one was he? Whose friend was he? Was he in the movie before now?"
And everybody says to me, "But, Joe Bob, you don't understand how beautiful the book is."
I didn't read the book. I went to the movie. I don't really care what was in the book.
"But in the book, you would understand about the love affair with the Sikh officer--that was the main story of the..."
Stop? Shut up? It's a movie, right? There's not a warning on the front of the movie that says: "Attention! If you bought a ticket for this movie without reading the book, please return to the lobby."
And another thing: Ask me how much I like flashbacks. Didn't flashbacks go out of fashion in about, oh, 1957? This thing has 794 flashbacks. This thing has so many flashbacks, you don't even remember that there's actually a present tense.
And when you're in the present tense, nothing makes sense because you wanna yell at Juliette Binoche: "Whoa, lady! Back up! Why are you living in an abandoned, bombed-out monastery with a paraplegic burn patient?" The army was taking everybody to safety. All she had to do was go. Instead, she says: "You know what? I think I'll stop here so we can all tell our stories."
And so they each tell tell their stories--five times. How many times do they go back into that danged cave? Seven? How many times do we hear the violins while he's lying next to the dead body of his one true love? And could we have 30 or 40 more shots of the plane flying across the desert?
No wonder the thing is eight hours long. They took four stories and told 'em 17 times each. Give me a break.
You wanna see the best epic of 1996? Go find Blood Bullets Buffoons at the video store. They call all these flicks "independent films." The call The English Patient an "independent film." Independent, my hiney. The flick I'm talkin' about was made in Jersey for about 34 bucks plus subway tokens. They should invent some new term like "REAL independent films" or "po-folks flicks."
You've heard of the Coen brothers? Blood Bullets Buffoons is made by the famous Snygg brothers of New Jersey. Of the two Snyggs, it's Zachary Winston Snygg who is the more artistic. In the film he stars, directs, and co-writes the story of an aimless high school screw-up who gets talked into driving the getaway car for a drug deal, goes to prison, escapes, and systematically hunts down all the lowlife weasels who sent him to the big house. It's kind of a cross between Reservoir Dogs, a Jackie Chan movie, and Booty Call, with dramatic flashback sequences chronicling Snygg's relationship with his bombshell girlfriend, played by Penthouse pet of the year Amy Lynn Baxter.
This flick is extremely well made, and I'm NOT being facetious. The physical comedy is great. The scenes between Snygg and his conniving friend John P. Fedele are priceless. Fedele is one of those masters of the F word, like Jack Warden and Jack Nicholson, who can sum up the great truths of civilization in profane two-minute rants that are so profound, you wanna write 'em down. And the main thing about this movie is that it NEVER STOPS, sending up every chase film, caper film, New Jack Heart Attack tough-guy movie ever made.
Funniest flick of the year.
Ten dead bodies. Eighteen breasts. Close-up throat-slitting.
Toy-cactus shooting. Cocaine facial. One brawl.
Killer dog attack (without dogs--low budget. Beer bottle to the head. Garment-bag torture. Baseball-to-the-groin torture.
"Squeal like a pig" whipping sequence, with broken nose.
Three gun battles. Projectile produce. Hand-chomping.
Poignant miniature-golf moment.
Gratuitous topless dancing. Seven comedy kung fu scenes.
Polyester fu. Cooking-ladle fu.
Drive-in academy award nominations for:
*John P. Fedele, who fails to properly manage a grenade taped to his mouth.
*And Amy Lynn Baxter, as the evil-but-lovely girlfriend.
Joe Bob says check it out.
Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's acumen atomizer comes from Keith Sigler, of Kent, Ohio:
"I remember seeing a movie in the early '80s. It was constantly on HBO or The Movie Channel and it took place in medieval times in and around a castle.
"This movie was great because there was a tremendous amount of killing and a plethora of women running around with no shirts on. I remember a warlock/magician pulling a man's heart out and in the final scene, which took place in a dungeon or a back room of the castle. The hero uses a flying dagger contraption attached to his powerful sword to kill the bad guy before the good guy is killed.
"I hope someone out there can help me, because this has been driving me crazy for a long time."
A video will be awarded to the correct answer. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. (E-mail entries must include a postal mailing address.)
©1997 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)
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