Joe Bob Briggs
Going immediately to No. 1 on my Best of '86 List was David Cronenberg's drive-in masterpiece remake of The Fly, which was even better than the one Dave had already clocked in the Drive-In Hall of Fame, The Brood.
What we got here is the same story as the 1958 version with Vincent Price, only this time the fly is fused with Jeff Goldblum, and so we feel sorry for the fly.
Actually, what happens is Jeff deserves it, 'cause he's tryin' to pick up Geena Davis by telepoddin' stuff all over his apartment--nylons, baboons, stuff like that--and so she falls in love with him, and he ends up getting drunk one night and jumping into the telepod machine without checking for flies, 'cause evidently he didn't see the first movie.
And so what happens? Insect fu.
At first Jeff is so charged up he flies around his crummy apartment doing scenes from Gymkata, but pretty soon his face starts to change.
We got your basic Pizza Face look. Then we got Cream-of-Wheat Cancer Face. And finally, when things really get bad, we got your Vomit Jubilee Face.
These may be the best drive-in make-up effects in history.
One breast. Two beasts in one body.
Six quarts blood. Seven quarts vomit. Eight quarts undecided.
Unsuccessful Norelco cure.
One compound fracture.
Baboon-zapping. Nylon stocking-zapping. Jeff Goldblum-zapping.
Baboon turned inside out. Purple fingers. Excessive body hair.
Huge maggot birthing. Ceiling walking. Ear rolls.
Fingernail roll. Tooth roll. Hand rolls. Foot rolls.
Gratuitous fly puke. Arm-wrestling fu. Shotgun fu.
Drive-In Academy Award Nominations for...
* Jeff Goldblum, as the scientist and fly, for saying, "I must not know enough about the flesh; I'm gonna have to learn," and, "I won't be just another tumorous bore, talking about his hair falling out and his lost lymph nodes."
* Geena Davis, as the girlfriend, for saying, "You look bad, you smell bad, and you have these weird hairs growing out of your back."
* And Big Dave, the director, for writing the line, "I'm an insect who dreamed he was a man and loved it."
Four stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's noggin flogger comes from...Nick English of State College, Pennsylvania:
"Saw this movie when I was a kid. Hazy memories. Yadda yadda yadda.
"Here's what little I can remember: Two women are in an apartment that looks out over a city (probably New York). There is a knock on the door, and one woman answers it to find that someone has left a package outside.
"She opens the package and is pleasantly surprised to find a pair of binoculars inside. She puts them to her eyes and looks out the window, then screams and drops them to the floor.
"The camera pans to the binoculars, and we see blood-covered spikes jutting out from both eyepieces. The only other scene I can remember has a woman lying in bed beneath a high ceiling with a skylight.
"The killer (I assume the same guy who mailed the binoculars) appears at the window and drops a guillotinelike blade down on the woman.
"The movie was in color, and I think it was made sometime in the 1970s. For all I know, it could have been an episode of Night Gallery or something. Can anyone help me?"
A video will be awarded for the correct answer. (The winner chooses from our library of titles.) 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: email@example.com. (E-mail entries must include a postal mailing address.)
We Don't Have a Winner!
Tom Clouse of Valdese, North Carolina, wrote:
"Please help me find this movie!
"Here's the story. I saw this flick at a local theater when I was around 4 years old. The movie was made sometime between 1966 and 1969.
"I can't recall anything about the plot, but I do remember three scenes:
"1. A man and a woman are riding through the countryside in a car, possibly a convertible.
"2. There's a car wreck, and someone bashes someone else's head in with a huge rock.
"3. A possibly drugged man in a very dark room stares at a piece of wax (or a sugar cube) with a bug crawling on it.
"My most vivid memory, however, is of the soundtrack--'Susie Q' by Creedence Clearwater Revival seems to play the whole time.
"Remember, my entire recollection is dreamlike and vague, meaning everything I've described could be different in crucial ways."
We had zero correct answers, but a prize still will be awarded for late entries.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.