Bad satirists are left alone; it only hurts when it’s good.
—Stephen King, reviewing Joe Bob Brigg’s movie commentary.
Before you can write a review, you need some standards by which to judge your chosen target. For Joe Bob Briggs, who admitted in 1990 to having watched “more than 23,000 drive-in movies,” the standards are: Blood, Breasts and Beasts.
Using these criteria, Briggs has rated movies for The Movie Channel, the Dallas Observer, syndicated radio and newspaper columns, and in his own one-man touring show. He has put his eyes and soul on the line for us guys, telling us the Ten Best Flicks to Get Nookie By, and why Arnold Schwarzenegger is the No. 1 Drive-In Actor in the World.
Briggs is not afraid to rate films highly—even when “the entire Motion Picture Industry and Critics Galore” are in opposition. Consider the 1985 remake of Bride of Frankenstein, with Sting as the eponymous Doctor, and Jennifer Beals as his creation. Briggs’ bottom line for this film:
Excellent monster fu. Four breasts, but I’m gonna count em as eight, cause they’re these humongous fat-lady circus breasts that are the biggest breasts in the history of breasts. One gallon blood. Two beasts. One head rolls. Midget trapeze. Gratuitous Geraldine Page. Monster hangover. Crypt. Boneyard. Haunted mansion. Stake through heart. Four dead bodies… Four stars.
You have to understand, though, that Briggs is not just a movie critic. No, Joe Bob believes in things. Things like First Amendment rights, and anti-Communist activism. He even paid—″two bucks… it was the principle of the thing”—to verify that his First Amendment rights had been violated.
Bubba looked up the First Amendment, and it said I have the “right to bare arms.” A lot of people don’t understand the US Constitution, and so they read that and they say, “All that means is you can wear muscle shirts to a Neal Diamond concert.” These are what is known in America as stupid people… Course, you know what happens ever time a drive-in movie critic gets assassinated. Somebody starts screaming for gun control.
And lest you dismiss this as the egotist’s version of political rectitude, in which only Joe Bob’s rights are of concern to him, there are the multitude of Communist Alert! items in the book. An eerie echo of today’s Homeland Security-driven climate is found in the costume-party faux paux of Texan Russell Scott, who showed up dressed in a turban, with road flares strapped to his chest—and this was years before 9/11.
The Travis County Sheriff’s department … arrested him while he was buttering a potato for impersonating an Arab Terrorist, ripped the road flares off his chest, cuffed him, threatened to arrest two other people who intervened, took him to jail, charged him with “possession of a hoax bomb,” left him in a cell with a guy charged with pushing heroin… We’re talking Retards with Badges.
No, Joe Bob Briggs continues to do us all a cardinal service by pointing out the hypocrisy and cynicism rampant in movies. And by telling us which of those movies have great views of breasts.
And the (1985) winners were…
- Blood: Four hundred thirty-five gallons (in George Romero’s Day of the Dead)
- Breasts: 16 (in Hellhole)
- Beasts: Forty-five, “auditioning for Empty-V” (in Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome)