Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

Did you see where the Canadians blew up a decommissioned warship so that it would settle at exactly the right place on the bottom of the ocean? They wanted it to be right next to the other ships they've already sunk in the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia.

Their plan? To attract tourists. They think tourists will find out they're sinking these ships and say: "Fred! Come on! Let's go scuba-diving there!" They think these ships will be fascinating to divers because the divers can swim through the rooms thinking: "Isn't this cool? I'm doing this underwater."

In other words, they could've just tied the ships up next to a wharf and said: "Welcome, Mr. Tourist. Walk through the ship." But somebody thought: "Naaaaaw, that's too easy. I know. Let's put it 110 feet underwater. Let's make the tourists work to see this ship."

I mean, it's one thing when you go to that Sir Francis Drake Channel in the Caribbean where there are 120 shipwrecks from 200 years ago, and the ships are full of stuff that looks like it could go on the wall at Red Lobster. 'Cause you dive down there and you go: "Ooooooooo, there were dead people here. They didn't even take their halberds. What is a halberd?"

But if you're diving in the Yuppie waters of British Columbia, all you can say is: "Oooooooooo, here's where the Canadians blew up this destroyer escort because they thought they could make a thousand bucks off me on this weekend vacation. Look, there's a porthole!"

I mean, it's just not the same experience. Shouldn't somebody tell 'em this?
It's part of the whole trend toward making modern things look like they're 200 years old. You build a hotel in the mountains, but you put wood-burning stoves in the rooms. You open a restaurant in the country with a thatched roof. You don't use powerboats anymore; you learn to sail on your personal teakwood schooner. You buy a brand-new jacket out of the J. Peterman catalog only because it looks like the jacket Clark Gable wore in Vienna in 1936.

In other words, it's part of this whole retro thing where the whole world is being turned into one giant theme park.

They didn't have any decent shipwrecks off the coast of western Canada, so they just by-God built some.

The least they could do is put some halberds down there.
I don't get it. I really don't.
Anyhoo, speaking of lame stuff floating around out there, Petticoat Planet is the story of a hunky rocket commander (Troy Vincent) in a wrestling leotard who crash-lands on an all-woman planet where everyone thinks they're characters in a cheap '50s Western.

Betsy Lynn George is the moony-eyed saloon girl who nurses Troy back to health, but it's been a long time for the ladies of this town, if you know what I mean and I think you do, so before long Troy is caught in a sexual catfight between Leslie Kay Sterling, the foxy brunette sheriff, and Elizabeth Kaitan, the bitchy blonde mayor.

Elizabeth will be familiar to lovers of that immortal drive-in classic, Attack of the Killer Bimbos, not to mention the equally beloved Slavegirls from Beyond Infinity and, more recently, Vice Academy, Part 4. What can I say? The woman was born for exploitation.

When Troy makes the mistake of pulling a gun on the street, he's slapped in the pokey, charged with "excessive usage of derogatory female nicknames," and forced to make the sign of the snaggletoothed rooster with the sheriff while handcuffed to his cell.

Later the mayor corners Troy and forces him to render the dance of the triple-finned mongoose in the town hall. When he's had his fill of both of them, he tells Betsy he really wanted to aardvark with her all along, and so they perform some horizontal monkey aerobics on the main stage of the saloon.

So much for the plot. This flick has about five minutes of storyline and 85 minutes of aardvarking.

In other words, my kind of movie!
Eight breasts. Lesbo dance of the hot-panted six-shooters. Multiple aardvarking.

Bedroom tribute to Sappho. Whips. Handcuffs. Leather. Catfight. Milk-spiking. Gratuitous '70s fashion montage.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
* Elizabeth Kaitan, as the oversexed mayor, for saying, "I have nothing against men; I think every woman should own one."

* Leslie Kay Sterling, as the sultry sheriff, for saying, "You don't wanna spend the rest of your life with Delia Westwood; she smells like a horse."

* Troy Vincent, as the hunky sex object who sings "Home on the Range" a cappella for no reason, for saying, "As much as I'd like to live out this beer commercial, I've got responsibilities."

* And Betsy Lynn George, a convincing actress in a weak movie, as the naive saloon girl who understands the outer-space visitor and at one point exclaims, "You're treating him like a side of potatoes!"

Three stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's brain blitzer comes from...C.M. Alix of Fort Myers, Florida:
"Here's a 'Find That Flick' query that's been bugging me for a while. It's a '50s-type black-and-white job with a bunch of guys standing around in a time tunnel-type lab.

"They've got a huge television taking up a whole wall, and they're tuning in alien landscapes or something like that. Then one of the guys figgers out that he can just walk right through the screen and into the alien desert environs.

"A corporate logo of a guy walking into his television reminded me of this flick from my past."

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 protected]. (E-mail entries must include a postal mailing address.)

1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)