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Joe Bob Briggs

Has this ever happened to you?
You're watching one of the 347 cable boxing matches of the week. Let's say it's a match between Louie "Hammerhead" Santini and Frankie "Frank" Franklin.

The announcer says: "Santini is wearing the diamond-checked trunks with gold trim and black piping. Franklin is wearing the royal-blue trunks peppered with a silver fleur-de-lis cross-stitch."

And you're staring at these trunks, thinking: "OK, what did he say? Diamonds, gold stuff. Blue Frenchie stitches. Which one is Franklin?"

And it all looks like one big lasagna dinner because the boxers have so many Kmart designer logos on their pants, and you get cross-eyed trying to figure it out, and all this time you're noticing that one of the fighters is white, and the other fighter is black.

Am I the only person who notices this? Why don't they just say, "Santini is the white guy, and Franklin is the black guy"?

We can see that. We can understand that. When a guy is boxing, you can see 90 percent of his skin. His trunks only take up about 5 percent. Wouldn't this be an obvious way to show us which guy is which?

I'm sure there's some kinda politically correct reason why they don't do this:

1) They don't want us to notice that one guy is white and one guy is black. I think we already have. It was at the moment we turned to the guy next to us and said, "Which one is Franklin? The black guy or the white guy?"

2) They don't wanna say the word "black" because they might get in trouble for not saying "African-American." But you can't say "African-American" because that has nothing to do with skin color. Those Dutchie boys from South Africa are whiter than Bjorn Borg.

But this doesn't wash, because they would be talking about where the guy comes from. They'd be talking about what he looks like. So we'd know which one he was.

3) They think the world has become a much better place and the people who watch boxing are so enlightened that they never, even for a moment, notice anyone's skin color. It's one of the great things about the world of this progressive modern New Age sport.

Yeah, right.
And speaking of people with permanent brain damage, Screamers is a pretty dang decent futuristic sci-fi glopathon starring Peter Weller as an Earth soldier stuck on one of those outer-space mining colonies first used in Outland and still going strong after 978 movies.

The problem is, Peter is the commander of an outpost surrounded by these underground android weasels called "screamers" that root around under the earth like groundhogs and hack your limbs off while making a sound like 37,000 train whistles. They look like reptiles, but they're actually mechanical killing machines that breed at a secret location.

When Peter finds out he's been taking orders for two years from a dead man's hologram, he's a little ticked off.

Fortunately, the other army he's been fighting wants to talk peace, so he sets off across the snowy wastes with a gung-ho private, ready to paste some mechanical mud-weasel hiney.

They link up with a poor little orphan boy who turns out to be a deranged androidal killing machine himself, and pretty soon, for all we know, every single person in the movie could be an android.

Our only hope is that Jennifer Rubin, the sexy commander of the enemy outpost, is not one of them, and that together they can find true love on a speed rocket back to the States.

It's one of those "You thought Mad Max was brutal--look at this" flicks.
Of course, I loved it. I didn't really understand it, but I loved it.
Forty-eight dead bodies. No breasts. Giant mechanical killer gopher attack.
Arm-hacking. Leg-hacking. Rocks that turn into killer bugs.
Multiple androids. Exploding head. Rat attack.
Midget dinosaur attack. Knife to the chest. Flaming child androids.
Plutonium fireball, with mushroom cloud. Face-ripping. Hand-slashing.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Peter Weller, as the confused commander who doesn't know who's human and who's machine, for saying, "Jefferson, you must be confusing me with someone who gives a shit."

* And Jennifer Rubin, as the gal with the really big guns who says, "We're gonna die--you know that, don't you?"

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

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's gray-matter grappler comes from...Cathy Royalty of Dallas:
"I need to solve an eight-year enigma before I go off my nut. There's this film, see, that has haunted me for almost a decade.

"I can only remember this one scene in which a woman is being terrorized by a monster made up of the woman's kitchen implements. The woman tries to hide in the closet, but the thing keeps shoving its knives under the door.

"Watching this film at the tender age of 10, it made quite an impression on me, and I haven't passed a World of Knives since without shuddering.

"Unfortunately, I do not know the title of this movie. Please help me."
We Have a Winner!
John Woodford of Ann Arbor, Michigan, wrote:

"At the Medford (Massachusetts) Twin Drive-In (where what 'can happen here' has happened), I saw an Italian import in 1966 or '67.

"It was the tale of an Italian guy who comes to America to look for a wife. He goes to several big cities--New York, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles--each of which is sharply satirized.

"Some famous Italian comic actor starred, maybe Ugo Tognazzi or that other guy. Terribly funny.

"Anyone else see it? The significant persons I saw it with can't even remember its existence."

We had one correct answer, so our winner is...Dan Schwartz of Scottsdale, Arizona:

"I did a quick search on Ugo Tognazzi, and he did star in a 1966 flick called The American Wife. It seems to fit the description of the movie John saw."

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.

1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)


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