Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

Have you seen these "Choose To Dee-Fuse" commercials?
They have a bunch of gangsta rappas hangin' out in The 'Hood. One of 'em gets shoved, or dissed, and two guys double up their fists--and then an announcer walks into the picture and says, "Violence is not cool. Choose to defuse." And then the guy who's mad turns and walks away.

What I wanna know is: who are these commercials directed at?
Are there actually gang members in South Central El Lay who will see this stuff on TV and go, "You know what? I choose to avoid blowin' the head off that dude who owes me drug money." Does this really happen?

I mean, aren't the only people who would take this commercial seriously the people who already don't want to fight?

In fact, these commercials could get you beat up worse. What if you're cowering in an alley, three big goons surrounding you, trying to collect some bookie money or something, and you say: "Don't hit me! Choose to dee-fuse! Choose to dee-fuse!"

I'm not saying it wouldn't be entertaining, but I think what's likely to happen is they're gonna pound the fuzz off your neck.

It's like there were a bunch of librarians sitting around a table somewhere, and one of 'em says, "Well, we could do a public-service campaign about drugs," and the next one says, "No, let's do one about teen-age pregnancy" and a third one says, "What about racism and hatred and world war..."

And so the Head Librarian of the World says: "You know what the problem is? Violence. Let's do a TV commercial that ends violence."

Does the word "bully" ring a bell? Bullies love defusers. They enjoy watchin' 'em run away.

After a while--after it gets a little old--you have to say, "Today, I'm fusing." And then, even if the guy still beats the bejabbers out of you--because he's bigger, or meaner or he's just better at fighting--you might just feel a little better about yourself.

I know it's not the politically correct thing to say, but it's true.
I'm surprised I have to point this out.
And speaking of politically correct crimes, this week's flick is Newt Gingrich's worst nightmare--Cyberstalker, the story of a nerdy geeky cyber-surfing femme fatale.

She didn't become a computer junkie without help. It's those darn freaky comic books that really made a psycho out of her. Jeffrey Combs, of Re-Animator fame, is the creepola comic-book writer who turned her into his sex slave by withholding the next issue until she begs for it.

Fortunately for the welfare of computer addicts everywhere, two dedicated cops are on her cyber-tail. Blake Bahner is the kind of guy who thinks Rodney King was treated too leniently, so he goes over to Combs' comic-book shop and rearranges his face until he agrees to turn over his database.

Schnele Wilson is his sensible-hairdo partner who eventually gets tied up with modem cords and tortured with fire ants because she won't worship the almighty Master Intelligence Computer Assimilator, which is dedicated to mating human beings with computers to create a new race.

Basic Instinct meets Tron. Pretty dang original.
Nine dead bodies. No breasts. Strangulation with modem cord.
Electrocution Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

Schnele Wilson, as the cop who says, "I think those subversive comics are dangerous."

Annie Biggs, as the computer nerd psycho who says, "In the last days MICA will interface with humanity and create a new society," and, "We have the right to kill a lower life form."

Three stars. Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's gray-matter stimulator comes from...Terry A. Lawson:
"I have been wondering about the title of a movie set at a New Year's Eve party-concert, and I think the title had 'party' in it.

"Anyway, part of the movie revolved around this musician who was supposed to play that night. He was supposed to have been famous but hasn't been heard from in years.

"When the limo sent to pick him up gets to his house, he and his lady are just sitting around, and they have been for a long time because they, and everything else, are covered in cobwebs.

"The rest of the movie is about the people backstage and the people coming in to see the show. There is this one guy who is an 8-foot joint when he first walks in. Later he is only 5 feet tall, burning slowly on top, and he's being chased by a fireman.

A video will be awarded to the correct answer. Send "Find That Flick" questions and solutions to Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.

We Have a Winner!
In a previous column, Jim Garfield of San Diego, wrote:
"I would like to know the name of every film based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade or featuring the Marquis as a character."

We received 12 correct answers. And the winner is...Brett Taylor of Wartburg, Tenn.:

"The most recent movie about the Marquis is the horror movie De Sade. The title was later changed to Tobe Hooper's Nightmare and then Night Terrors.

"De Sade is said to be a pretty tepid affair, and ran on the USA channel mostly uncut a few years ago. De Sade's myth has appealed to filmmakers more than his writings or life.

"Porno makers have been quick to capitalize on the French libertine's scandalous reputation with films bearing dubious relationships to his works. These titles include Philosophy in the Boudoir, Monsieur de Sade and even, supposedly, an entire series of 'de Sade' videos!

"In addition to the surprisingly mild Justine (known in the United States as Deadly Sanctuary), Jesus Franco made some pornographic films allegedly inspired by de Sade, including Eugenie--The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion (1970) and De Sade 2000 (1982)--both of which are probably of more interest to Franco completists (God help us if there are such people) than to de Sade enthusiasts.

"Probably the filmmaker with the most serious interest in de Sade was Luis Bunuel. In his autobiography, My Last Sigh, Bunuel recounts the enormous impact de Sade's writings had on him at an early age.

"L'Age d'or--The Golden Age--(1930) ends with a short sequence inspired by de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom. Bunuel actually managed to make the story more scandalous by making one of de Sade's debauched victimizers resemble Jesus Christ.

"In Bunuel's The Milky Way (1970), the Marquis himself is shown torturing a young woman, presumably de Sade's much put-upon Justine. Bunuel claimed to be a follower of de Sade all his life.

"Besides Bunuel, one of the few filmmakers to seriously approach de Sade was the controversial Marxist critic-poet-novelist-director Pier Paolo Pasolini, whose Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1975) is frequently cited as one of the most disgusting films ever."

Copyright 1995 by Joe Bob Briggs. Distributed by NYT Special Features/Syndication Sales.

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Joe Bob Briggs