Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

This First Wives Club stuff is gettin' scary, isn't it?
What's the rallying cry of First Wives Club? "Don't get even--get everything!" Right?

Every married man's worst fear. What we've been saying all these years. It's a money thing, isn't it? Every ex-wife turns into George C. Scott in the last scene of The Hustler: "You owe me money!"

But even when the guy pays the money, he gets hassled. The last two weeks, all the magazines and tabloids have been hunting down "first wives" and then smearing the guy who dumped 'em.

Jim Carrey was singled out for special abuse, along with Bruce Jenner, The Donald, and Johnny Cochran. And these guys all paid big bucks to get out of their marriages, but somehow it's just not enough.

And what was the crime of all these guys?
They went for somebody younger. We're talkin' perky; we're talkin' nubile. We're talkin' Sex Kitten City. "Pop Tarts," as they call 'em in the movie.

So my question is: If the guy wants a Pop Tart, why can't he have a Pop Tart? What if he's dumping the old wife for a reason?

What do we say to a woman when we find out her husband neglects her, yells at her, never comes home, watches football all the time, and makes her do all the work associated with the kids?

We say, "Dump that bum!" Right?
So why shouldn't it be the same for a man? What if he's married to somebody who nags him all the time, spends all his money, never works, and eats so much she's about as attractive as a corn-fed heifer--or, if you live in Kansas, less attractive than a corn-fed heifer?

I mean some days, you just wake up and say: "I know I said 'till death do us part.' Well, I feel dead right now."

And so the guy goes out and finds himself a 23-year-old aerobics instructor who doesn't care how many cigars he smokes. Is this so hard to understand?

If the first wife doesn't like it, she can go out and marry a Chippendale dancer. But if she does, I'll guarantee you, Time magazine will never write an article about her; you know what I mean?

Just one more thing for men to take all the blame for.
It's tough being male.
And speaking of going for the young groceries, this week's flick is Blood & Donuts--best title of 1996!--the story of a sensitive vampire who comes back home after 25 years in the ozone, only to find that his beautician girlfriend has gotten all middle-aged and whiny on him, but the gal down at the all-night doughnut shop looks mighty fine.

What we've got here is one of those ethical vampires, which you can tell by his long, stringy Michael Bolton-lookin' hair. He's so ethical he refuses to suck neck unless you really, really deserve it.

Twenty-five years ago, when the first man walked on the moon, he sank his toothies halfway into the beautician, then refused to finish the job, and now she's waaaay steamed, because she looks at it as her only chance for permanent plastic surgery.

Now our hero is hanging around with a goofball cabby, trying to avoid the beauty-shop fury while helping his new buddy avoid two bone-cracking thugs who work for gangster David Cronenberg.

Yes, the David Cronenberg, director of Videodrome and The Brood, back for yet another stellar acting job as the well-coiffed, cowboy boot-wearin' meisterkiller.

Yes, we're in Toronto. Yes, we're in the land of the Canadian independent flick. And, yes, once again, the Canucks deliver. They do know their horror.

As the poster says, there's a place between the living and the dead, and it's open 24 hours. Blood & Donuts.

Two dead bodies. No breasts. Live rat-eating. (Extremely gross.)
Kiwi-flavored doughnut. Three beatings, with lemon juice.
Neck-slicing. Self-inflicted finger-slicing.
Two American Werewolf-type transformation scenes.
Wooden stake through the body.
Bat attack.
Self-inflicted gunshot wound. Self-inflicted hand-slicing.
Combustion-engine CPR. Gratuitous moonscape footage.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Justin Louis, as the eccentric, dog-loving cabby, who says, "Tell 'em I moved; tell 'em I died; I love you" and, "What's, like, your take on heaven?" and, "After I croak, go ahead and help yourself, OK?"

* David Cronenberg, as the greasy gangster who makes a great speech about "the bowling shoe rule" and says: "Am I employing retards? I have nothing against retards in general; I just can't afford to employ them."

* Helene Clarkson, as the sultry doughnut-shop babe who says, "Your problems are like bacteria; just breathe on them and they multiply."

* Gordon Currie, as our Toothy Guy, for saying, "Everyone's special--that's what I believe--every human life" and, "It's like an addiction; you have a choice whether or not to submit."

* Fiona Reid, as the aging, jealous beauty-shop gal who says, "I won't have you ignore me!"

* And Holly Dale, the director, for doing things the drive-in way.
Three and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)