Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

I noticed my buddy Donald Trump's casino company lost 31 million bucks last year. But isn't it strange that this announcement came just three months after The Donald announced that he had personally won $20 million by betting the long odds on the Tyson-Holyfield fight?

Of course, we still don't know where Don placed that million-dollar bet to collect the 20. All the big Vegas sports books say they never saw the bet come through. There are very few private bookies in the country who could handle it, but bookies could share it, lay it off, and prob'ly come up with the payout.

But here's where I think The Donald is headed down the Alzheimer Highway.
Why would you EVER admit winning $20 million on a private bet?
First of all, take it from the son of an old IRS agent. They're gonna be at your house TODAY. If you won 20, then you owe 10. And they're NOT gonna wait till you get around to filing your 1040. They even hang around the track and collect taxes from horse bettors who cash tickets worth $2,000 and up. So the first thing you have to wonder is, What did The Donald say to the nice tax man when he showed up?

And then the second thing you have to wonder, now that we see this massive loss on his casino properties, is why the man is gambling in the first place. I always assumed that the OWNERS of casinos were too dang smart to actually place bets themselves. I figured 'em for table-stakes poker agents, but NEVER sports bettors, where you give the house 5 percent on every loser.

And besides that, I thought there were laws that said gamblers can't be owners. It would be one thing if The Donald's million-dollar-bet had showed up on a tally sheet in Vegas, which is the only LEGAL place that could have handled it. But since it didn't, he had to place it with a bookie, which means a felon, which possibly means mob-influenced, which probably means highly ticked-off member of the New Jersey Gaming Commission.

And the man is giving interviews to The New York Post about it. "Hey, I just picked up 20 million on a fight."

I think Don needs to fork over the moolah to the stockholders. They're gonna need it when he ends up in the East River, asking Jimmy Hoffa to cover his bets. You know what I mean? I think you do.

And speaking of people who shed their skin, Not Like Us is this week's offering, the story of a brother-sister team of space-alien surgeons who move to the sleepy town of Tranquility in order to harvest citizens, smuggle them into the storm cellar, and perform plastic-surgery experiments for a faraway planet that doesn't allow experiments on higher life forms. Meanwhile, to blend in with the rest of the population, this little sibling unit has to debone a couple of attractive human specimens in order to cover up their intestinal goo-face bodies with human-skin jump suits. It's all very messy.

Things go just fine for a while, with blonde, miniskirted beauty Rainer Grant tooling down the area highways in her cute convertible, luring hitchhikers close enough for surgical instrument injections and a quick trip to the Big House. The problem is that she keeps bringing in the wrong blood type, resulting in a cellar full of plastic-surgery zombies with various body parts attached in inconvenient places.

Making it even more difficult is Rainer's growing friendship with her neighbor, Joanna Pacula, who's trying to summon up enough courage to leave her husband and blow town. Normally Joanna would be on the alien chopping block before lunchtime, but Rainer doesn't like to debone people she actually knows. Aliens, it turns out, have feelings, too, and they can get very sentimental about girls they've partied with.

Featuring some of the most inventive comedy gore effects since Basket Case, this little winter surprise is obviously my kinda flick.

Eighteen dead bodies. Sixteen breasts. Tuning fork in the back.
TV-smashing. Redneck head-bashing. Steel surgical implement to the groin.
Severed Body Part Jubilee. Crucifix to the eye. Iron Claw crotch-squeezing.
Turkey-leg head-bashing. Dog-flinging.

One crash and burn, with fireball. Skin-ripping. Literal face peel. Hypodermic to the torso.

Hand-hacking. Power drill through the chest. Gratuitous disco dancing.
Kung fu. Bimbo fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for:

*Rainer Grant, as the drop-dead blonde who makes 'em...uh...drop dead, for saying, "She's the only person who ever really liked me."

*Morgan Englund, as the tennis-tog-wearing preppie alien with a bonesaw, who says "It's harder if you get to know them."

*Joanna Pacula, as the frustrated housewife/mom who says, "I'm gonna need space to think about this."

*Paul Bartel, the B-movie veteran, as the goofy mortician.
*Ken Howard, the B-movie veteran and brother of Ron, as the goofy motel clerk.

*Annabelle Gurwitch, as the oversexed redhead who will accept any date, for saying, "This swamp stinks and so do you!" and as the SECOND body of the killer alien sister, who says, "To us, plastic surgery is the ultimate art form."

*Daniella Purcell, who wrote it.
*And Dave Payne, the director, for doing things the drive-in way.
Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's noodle-needler comes from...Clay Godwin of Dallas:
"Three couples are on some sort of group date in the desert. They enter a cave and discover a book of spells. They cast the spells and unleash several fantastic monsters.

"If I remember correctly, the characters that survive the monster attacks are so traumatized that they wind up in an asylum. I think the movie was in B&W.

"The actors, resplendent in '60s hair and clothing, turn in typically bad performances. The monsters, however, are excellent--they might have been the work of Ray Harryhausen."

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

1997 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)

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Joe Bob Briggs

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