Road Kill USA (1993)

REVIEWS - Movie Reviews

I guess I'm the last guy in the world who thinks cigarettes are okay.


Lately there's been a slew of articles and news magazine shows about how EVIL the tobacco companies are. They're actually trying to get people to SMOKE CIGARETTES.

Listen up, you guys. THAT'S THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE. I already KNEW this. I didn't need Diane Sawyer to tell me about it. Every time I see a big tobacco leaf come up on the screen, and giant letters that say "THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY," somehow I already know the next words are NOT gonna be "Friend of the American Consumer."

In the fifties and sixties, there were documentaries on tobacco that actually tried to let BOTH SIDES speak. They don't even TRY anymore. If they do have any interviews with a tobacco company spokesman, they set the camera down at around shoelace level, shoot up into the guy's nostrils, and zoom in for closeups of the sweat oozing out of his neck. This is so we'll all know HE'S A LIAR.

Why bother? It's like watching a show on the Ku Klux Klan. We don't sit there in suspense, wondering who's side the network is on.

Anyhow, as a person who sometimes still sits in the smoking section--PLEASE DON'T KILL ME--I wanna say a few things in favor of the Wicked Weed People.

Numero Uno: A cigarette is only ONE of the legal things that can kill you. Jack Daniels, Budweiser, and Beanee Weenees are equally lethal. And, in every case, you die in the same way. You USE TOO GOLDANG MUCH OF IT. When John Candy died, I don't think anybody called for a ban on pasta.

Numero Two-o: It says on the package, "This here cigarette can kill you." Since only grown-ups can buy it, IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

Numero Three-o: Tobacco was the first American crop. It's historic. It's part of our heritage. And for the first 300 years we grew it, NOBODY CARED. You can't ask people to invest in a business for 300 goldang years, and then suddenly tell em, "Okay, that's it--WE'VE CHANGED OUR MIND."

Numero Four-o: The reason the tobacco companies are so powerful is that, in the early seventies, tobacco advertising was banned on TV, the first time the First Amendment was steamrolled and stomped on in this country. That means that ONLY THE BRANDS THAT EXISTED IN 1971--Marlboro, Winston, Kool, and the lighter ones owned by those same companies, like Virginia Slims--could survive. Nobody else could get into the market, because they couldn't get their advertising message out. So you had four or five huge companies completely controlling the market, making more and more money each year, spending millions on tennis tournaments, charity events, stock car races, and anything else they could put their names on, becoming more and more identified as permanent immovable objects, until today they're among the biggest companies in the world, and they have subsidiaries that own everything from cranberry juice to missile guidance systems.

If you don't like the tobacco companies, then you shouldn't give them a monopoly on the market.

The regulators were stupid. The censors lost. The tobacco companies won. Game over. Now leave em alone.

Speaking of things North Carolina should be proud of, Tony Elwood, the one-man Charlotte film industry, has made a new flick, and this time I think he's qualified for the Drive-In Olympics. You might remember Tony as the guy who made "Killer" two years ago for $9,000. I called it the cheapest drive-in movie ever made, but other people have come forward since then to claim they made em cheaper. Anyhow, it's still the cheapest drive-in movie that you can ACTUALLY SIT THROUGH. I put it on my cable show, it had a video release, film festivals showed it--and everybody's been waitin to see what Tony would do next.

And here it is--"Road Kill USA"--the story of a typical psychotic white-trash couple careening across the back highways of the South with a hapless good-ole-boy teenager in the back seat, trying to figure out why they keep driving all through the night and giggling about whoever they just carved up, clubbed to death, or crushed to death with a hydraulic lift.

This is a great funny sick weird road movie, and Tony did two things to move up into the big leagues:

1) He hired actual professional actors.

2) He included a scene in "Joe Bob's Drive-In" in order to suck up to me and get a good review.

It worked.

This movie is so good that if I tell you what happens, it'll spoil the whole thing, so lemme just say it's the story of a twisted maniac with two much time on his hands, the small-town Texas girl who loves him as much as her Spearmint, and the small-town South Carolina kid who, even after the fourth murder, still thinks he's just riding around with some ECCENTRICS. (I guess he HAD to be from South Carolina, didn't he? Anybody from NORTH Carolina would have been considered too intelligent for the part.)

Anyhow, just when you think you know what's happening in this movie, you DON'T. And just when you realize you don't, you STILL DON'T.

Great job. Best of the year. And even though Tony doesn't want me to tell you how much he spent on this one, lemme just say it was less than "Schindler's List." In fact, it was less than "Schindler's Grocery List."

Nine dead bodies. Two-by-four to the forehead. Steel pipe to the skull. Throat-slitting. Neck-slicing. Kneecap-shooting. Gratuitous foul-mouthed hitchhiking circus clown. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Andrew Porter, as the sneering redneck ringleader, for saying "Living is the key to all knowledge"; Jeff Pillars, as the sleazeball motel owner and rapist who dies by having his mouth and nostrils Super-Glued shut (it's not a pretty sight); Sean Bridgers, as the kid whose idea of a felony is to sneak up on top of the K-Mart dumpster so he can see the drive-in porno movies for free; Deanna Perry, as the bimbo nympho who says "I was abducted by aliens once--at least I think I was--there was this weekend when I was about 18 years old that I don't remember nothing about"; and, of course, Tony Elwood, the young whipper-snapper who is well on his way to the Drive-In Hall of Fame.

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.