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Joe Bob Briggs

The Official Home of America's Drive-In Movie Critic Extraordinaire

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The Relic (1997)

I have this friend named Lana-better known as Lana Banana to her 70 million girlfriends-who never has mastered parallel parking but still considers herself the expert on every topic since the invention of the travel version of Scrabble.

But when you ask her HOW she knows something is true, it’s always because of a story from her personal life that happened in 1973 and requires 45 minutes to tell.

For example. You might just say something harmless, like, “Isn’t it funny the way wives just hate it when their husbands talk to pretty women at parties?”

And suddenly Lana is all over the topic. “That’s not the way my relationship with Sven works at all. I think it’s natural that women are attracted to him, but it doesn’t threaten me because we know each other so well.”

Well, hon, that’s GREAT and everything, but that was NOT the topic.

Or you might say, “Most people who grew up in the ’70s really hate disco now, but teen-agers are into it.”

And Lana jumps up and says, “I have this friend Natalie who graduated high school in 1980, and she still organizes disco parties for the people who worked on the school paper together.”

And she sorta sits there, like, “Wasn’t that an amazing story?”

And you’re thinking, “Is there more?”

But that’s THE WHOLE STORY. In other words, it’s an important story because it happened to her. So after a while, you realize that she’s not having a conversation-she’s having a permanent personal therapy session that YOU’RE INVITED TO, whether you wanna be or not.

If you say, “My whole family was killed in a car accident last week,” Lana Banana is gonna say something like: “I have a car. It’s a 1993 Lexus.” Or, if she’s listening ESPECIALLY close that day, she might say, “Nobody in my family has been seriously hurt in a car accident, because my mom always insisted on seat belts and air bags.”

But what’s really amazing is that she believes she’s giving out SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION. Every time she says, “I knew this guy that I met at a deli in Boulder, Colo., and he told me that all Iranian men fantasize about having big blond girlfriends,” she thinks she’s just come up with a citation out of the Encyclopedia Britannica. She thinks she’s actually PASSING ON KNOWLEDGE.

Sometimes it’ll just pop up out of the blue. She’ll say, “My sister and I really love each other.” And you’re thinking, “Yeah?” And she says, “We’re really close.” And you’re going: “Good. You’re close.” And she says, “One time at the mall a woman saw us together and thought we must be best friends instead of sisters.”

And so I’m tempted to say, “I have a sister.” But I know what she’d say. She’d say, “I have a sister and a brother and a mother and a father and three grandparents still living.”

I don’t know why I’m talking about this. I think it’s because I’m trying to decide whether to execute her or not.

And speaking of rampaging subhuman genetic mutations, this week’s flick is “The Relic,” which is just about theTALKIEST horror movie ever made. I counted nine separate discussions of genetic DNA, including one in the last 20 minutes when the giant half-beetle/half-lizard galloping humanoid has already eaten most of the supporting cast and is closing in on Penelope Ann Miller.

This is one of those Snappy Patter movies. Everybody talks in Snappy Patter. The cops bark Snappy Patter at one another. The scientists in the Chicago natural history museum talk in nerdy Snappy Patter. Even the mayor has his own form of obscene Snappy Patter. These are Clever People. Cool People. Excuse me while I barf all over a polo shirt.

The idea is that a big-deal anthropologist goes down to Brazil and drinks some jungle acid with the Amazon Indians, and pretty soon he gets turned into either a reptile or an insect or a fungus or SOMETHING, and then an empty ship turns up on Lake Michigan with a bunch of gooey bodies inside. And Tom Sizemore, as the tough snappy-pattered police lieutenant, finds out that all the bodies have the rear part of their brains eaten away because the creature feeds on the hypothalamus gland. The reason I remember it’s the hypothalamus gland is that they refer to the hypothalamus gland about 97 times before the movie is over. “Hmmmmm…missing hypothalamus? I thought so.”

Meanwhile, down at the museum, Penelope Ann Miller just wants to do her molecular biology projects in peace. She really doesn’t have time for a 3-ton jungle creature to go galumphing through the museum cocktail party, eating extras and slurping stuff out of their cranial cavities.

The only reason the movie exists really is so we can see the last half hour of Stan Winston special effects, with this toothy. crab-headed Lollapalooza Lizard partying through Chi-town. Will we be forced to watch another hour of poorly lit scenes featuring cops with flashlights leading tuxedoed guests through sewer tunnels in a vain effort to escape, or will Penelope Ann be able to do the proper computer work in time to figure out What It Is and How To Kill It? While we’re waiting to find out, a wheelchair-bound James Whitmore, as the crusty old museum curator, becomes Hamburger Helper while grinning ear to ear at the majestic sociological implications of it all.

They actually tried to make a horror movie with a goldurn MESSAGE. Please. Don’t let it happen again.

Seventeen dead bodies. One dead dog. No breasts. (Shame on you, Penelope Ann.)
Jungle drugfest.
Security-guard-chomping. Flesh-eating beetles. Brain-sucking. Slimy beetle-smashing. Headless-body iron-spike impalement.
Multiple decapitations. Giant-lizard face-licking. Exploding creature.
Gratuitous Linda Hunt.
Heads roll.
Fungus fu.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for…

Chi Muoi Lo, as the oily museum researcher who steals other people’s grant money.

Tom Sizemore, as the wisecracking detective who sizes up a crime scene and orders “a full splatter pack.”

And Penelope Ann Miller, as the feisty little molecular biologist who really CARES ABOUT PEOPLE.

Two stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.


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The Refrigerator (1991)

Remember in the old movies, when the detective would go the stylish home of the beautiful, mysterious woman, to question her in the investigation surrounding the murder of her husband Charles?

“I can’t imagine who would want to hurt Charles,” she would say. “He was such a kind and gentle man.”

And we would know something was wrong, and the detective would search, and probe, and investigate, and finally he would find out . . . that Charles was an alcoholic, a gun-lover, a man who liked to humiliate his wife in public, a collector of sadistic porno, and the kind of guy who would kick a dog.

Time to go talk to the beautiful, mysterious widow again, right?

“You HATED Charles!” the detective would finally say. “He hit you, he tormented you, he despised you, and you felt TRAPPED. You HATED him, didn’t you?”

And then the woman would break down. “YES! Okay, YES! I DID hate him! And I ENJOYED killing him!”

And then we would know this lady was going to jail FOREVER. All you had to do was find a motive, and you solved the crime.

Not anymore, though.

If you made one of those flicks today, the big final scene would go like this:

“You HATED Charles! He hit you, he tormented you, and you STRUCK BACK at him, didn’t you?”

“YES! I struck back! I KILLED him! I felt trapped!”

“Okay! Well, you had a good reason. Just DON’T DO IT AGAIN, okay?”

In other words, there’s no such thing as a MOTIVE for a crime anymore–at least not in real life. There’s only a bunch of reasons that you were victimized, until it got so bad that the only way out was to commit a felony. You can kill your husband, then be on “Oprah” a year later, saying, “Well, in retrospect, I see now that I was not in control of my life. He was in control of my life. And I struck out against that power.”

“Let’s see now, Ms. Witherspoon, I understand that you drilled a hole through his skull with a Black and Decker power tool, is that correct?”

“Yes, maam.”

“Excuse me for saying this, but it seems a little unconventional.”

“What you have to understand is that I was under a lot of pressure, caused by being a prisoner in his house. He controlled every aspect of my life.”

“Except your access to power tools, of course.”

“Yes, maam.”

And then, most amazing of all, they have these psychologists who come on the shows, and testify at trials, saying, “Well, she was driven to this by a horrible man. You can’t really hold her responsible for her actions.”

And people BUY this.

Listen, ladies, CALL 911, okay? I’m surprised I have to tell you this.

Speaking of scary modern trends, “The Refrigerator” is about a Yuppie couple from Ohio who move to the Lower East Side of New York City where they get an apartment for 200 bucks a month–and DON’T THINK ANYTHING IS WRONG.

Oh, okay, there are a FEW things wrong. The plumbing is old and leaky. There’s a draft coming from under the sink. Drug dealers stand out on the street in front of the building. You have to walk up six flights. And, oh yeah, the refrigerator chews people up and squeezes all the blood out of their bodies and turns them into zombies and sends them to hell.

Of course, ONLY THE WIFE NOTICES. The husband is too busy with his career. He thinks all she needs is a few Valium. She thinks all she needs is a starring role on Broadway. Both of them have a lot of nightmares where fog rolls across the floor and they walk into the kitchen and talk to sinister little men hiding behind the Aunt Jemima pancake mix. It’s bad enough when Paolo the plumber’s assistant disappears. But when Mom comes to check out the apartment and gets chewed into bacon bits, it’s time to run over to the homeless shanty where the neighborhood voodoo woman communes with spirits and find out WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON.

It’s one of those flicks that’s trying a little too hard to be a cult movie. A major household appliance can only be SO scary, and then you start wishing they’d chosen something different, like a demonic Naugahyde sofa. Fun to watch, but about as terrifying as chicken noodle soup.

Six dead bodies. Multiple zombies. Multiple aardvarking. Head rolls. Butcher knife in the back. Leg-chomping. Blender face-chewing. Hand rolls. Haagen-Dazs Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for David Simonds, as the weirdbeard Yuppie husband who says “Come here, my sly little fish” and “I am the waffle maker!”; Angel Caban, as the flamenco-dancing Bolivian plumber; Phyllis Sanz, as the voodoo woman who spouts things like “You must be strong–do not breed in weakness” and other inscrutable wisdom; Julia McNeal, as the daydreaming housewife/actress who packs a mean plunger; and Nicholas Jacobs, the writer/director, for the line “Few young men share your enthusiasm for gourmet cheese.”

Three stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.


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Red Sun Rising (1994)

You ever know a woman who says, “It’s so nice to meet a guy who’s not a JERK”?

Is this supposed to be a compliment?

Isn’t this about like saying, “Your intelligence appears to be higher than a sea otter. That’s GREAT.”

When did being a non-jerk become a sign of distinction? And what exactly did I do to evade jerkdom?

The other variation on this is, “Yep, all I meet are JERKS. One jerk after another. Jerk jerk jerk jerk. I’m a magnet for jerks.”

And it’s always women who say this. You never hear a man say, “Every dang woman I meet is a revolting sack of worthless roadkill.” After a relationship is over, a man tends to GO ON WITH LIFE.

But when I hear a woman say, “It’s sooooooo nice to know you’re not a jerk,” I have one thing on my mind:

How much time do I have before I BECOME A JERK?

And if you ask a woman what a guy has to do to AVOID being a jerk, they all say the same thing:

“Just be honest with me.”

So let’s check in on my friend Rodney, who used to tell women, “I’m not looking for a permanent relationship. I like to date several women at the same time.”

Of course, Rodney was STUPID, but he was definitely HONEST.

The female verdict on Rodney: El Jerk-o.

Rodney was assigned to the Jerk Hall of Fame by every woman who ever met him. But, as far as I know, he never lied to em.

Remember those psychedelic free-love hippie movies from the late sixties and early seventies, where Peter Fonda or Bruce Dern or Dennis Hopper would find some long-haired babe in hip-hugger bell-bottoms and say, “Just because I dig other chicks doesn’t mean I don’t dig you, too”?

Rodney was like that. In fact, he probly watched too many acid-trip hippie movies from the sixties, which is how he got that way.


I don’t understand the Jerk Factor. Somebody explain it to me.

Or does not understanding it automatically MAKE ME A JERK?

Modern relationships are way too complicated for me.

And speaking of sociology class, this week’s flick is “Red Sun Rising,” the kung-fu movie that asks the question, “What if the El Lay gang wars were REALLY caused entirely by Japanese samurai drug lords and their armies of black-magic killer ninjas?”

Hey, it could happen.

The great thing about this movie is that somebody got an actual acting performance out of Don “The Dragon” Wilson. I mean, he still has that high-pitched voice that makes him come across as sort of a weenie, but at least you believe him when he says, “Yes, I must kick butt now.” The thing that DOESN’T work is the idea that there’s this WAR going on inside his soul, over whether he’s more Japanese or more American, and his grizzled Japaheeno kung-fu teacher keeps saying things like “You must make peace with yourself,” and you look at Don The Dragon’s face and you don’t see the slightest furrowed brow. It’s like telling Brooke Shields she has a multiple personality. I don’t think so.

Don The Dragon plays a half-Japanese, half-American cop who’s working in Kyoto when his partner gets killed by a long-haired Michael Bolton-lookin assassin who does this thing with his finger called the “death touch.” He sticks his finger in your ribs, like he’s about to tickle your belly button, and it causes you to start throwin up and then keel over dead on the pavement.

Don The Dragon feels so AWFUL about his partner getting wasted by ninjas that he goes to El Lay and searches for Soon-Teck Oh, the great oriental character actor, who plays a wealthy gangster who’s selling weapons to both the black gangs and the Meskin gangs in El Lay. Unfortunately, a lady cop played by Terry Farrell is NOT too happy to see him–until they almost die together, bringing on extracurriculus aardvarkus, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

A pretty decent one. They really worked on this story.

Twenty-five dead bodies. One dead bird. No breasts. One samurai swordfight. Strangling. One motor vehicle chase. Crucifixion. Neck-snapping. Heads roll. Gratuitous rap music. Seven Kung Fu scenes. Long sticks. Nunchucks. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Mako, as the jive-talking oriental sensei who travels with a babe on each arm and sells cheap Chinese warrior statues, for spouting stuff like “When day meets night, only one can survive” and “First you must tame the anger that lives in your belly”; Terry Farrell, as the tough detective in high heels who thinks the gangs should work together but hates the Japanese because they took her dad’s job in a Detroit car plant and caused him to work at a liquor store where he got murdered, for saying “Men think they own women after sex–nobody owns me”; James Lew, as the deadly assassin who blows up a guy’s car with a giant bazooka, then says “So much for sales resistance”; Edward Albert, as the evil Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent (!), for saying “Believe me, prejudice pays”; and Don The Dragon, for learning to fight blindfolded with only his mind, because “When he thinks like the mountains, fight like the sea.”

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.


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Red Shoe Diaries (1992)

A few weeks ago a bunch of scientists went over to Iran and dug up some ugly yellow pottery and scraped the slime off a jar and held a press conference to announce that man was drinking beer as early as the year 3500 B.C.

It wasn’t light beer, either. These jars they dug up have TWO handles on em. The ancient Iranians evidently ordered by the pitcher.

Since I have personally drunk many Mexican beers that TASTE like they’re 5500 years old, this was NOT news to me. But what really ticked me off about it is that the archeologists seemed kind of disappointed. They always thought it was WINE that was the oldest drink. And they thought that the main purpose of barley was to make BREAD. Bread and wine, wine and bread–that’s all these guys wanna talk about. It’s like they spend all their time in Seattle or something.

But now they’ve got all this evidence that the Sumerians, also known as Chug Champions of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, thought wine was for sissies like the Hittites, who were so lame they’ve excavated 5,000-year-old cappuccino bars on their property. But not the Sumerians. The Sumerians sometimes just dumped all the beer in a big vat, passed out long straws, and stood around sucking brew.

And why not?

Why shouldn’t beer be the foundation of civilization?

Why does everybody act like, if you drink beer, you’re a pot-bellied scumdog, but if you drink whiskey–which is 100 times more likely to pickle your brain–you’re just Irish? And if you drink wine, why, I’ll bet you’re the same person who watches the Arts & Entertainment Network by CHOICE, aren’t you?

When did the word “beer-drinking” become an insult anyhow?

I get these letters that start out, “Why don’t you and your beer-guzzling buddies go and . . .”

It takes YEARS of practice to guzzle. What’s so dang wrong with it?

Or how about this one: “Police said the suspects were seen earlier in the evening at a beer tavern on Highway 67.”

If they catch the crooks leaving the Petroleum Club, they don’t say, “The suspects were seen earlier in the evening at a gin, vodka, whiskey, Scotch, vermouth, Tequila-shooter tavern on Pearl Street.”

No, it’s BEER that caused the crime, isn’t it? It’s those BEER PEOPLE we don’t like.

Beer drinkers like me are probly descended from the ancient Sumerians, so it’s in our genes. We can’t help it. They need to start teaching this stuff in school, raising the self-esteem of our young people. They need to be telling little Billy, “Your daddy’s not trash. He’s just CULTURALLY INCLINED to drink the healthiest, most natural drink ever invented by man. Every time he tips back a Meisterbrau, he’s justifying another PBS Special on why we’re the way we are.”

You’re not buying this, are you?

I didn’t think so.

Speaking of stretching the truth, not to mention the ole Spandex, “Red Shoe Diaries” is out on video in one of those “unrated” eight-minutes-of-never-before-seen-SEX-footage whoopsy-daisy box covers with a gal in a slinky mini-dress and these red heels that are so high she could get kneebleed.

Okay okay okay okay, I took a look at it. Ever since this show first came out on Showtime–“More Erotic Obsession by Zalman King, Creator of ‘9 1/2 Weeks'”–I knew there was WAY too much hype going on here. It’s sort of like some guy in a singles bar who’s talking too loud and saying stuff like, “My problem is that I’m a sexual animal. I can’t control my Weimeraner.” And by the time he’s had two beers, you know he’s probly lived alone in a cinder-block apartment building for the last 12 years.

And that’s pretty much the deal with “Red Shoe Diaries,” starring pouty-lipped brunette Brigitte Bako as a girl who has a NICE boyfriend who wants to marry her, but she gets a chance to have wild animal sex with a construction worker and part-time ladies shoe salesman, and so, of course, who can resist that? But once you’ve aardvarked with the guy at Kinney, there’s no going back. And then it’s, like, this big DILEMMA, where she can’t make up her iddy biddy mind about which boyfriend she really really likes, and it’s, like, whacking her out. And so she has to kill herself in the bathtub, so that the two guys can play a vicious game of one-on-one basketball to decide who loved her more.

In other words, one of those things you’ll watch on cable at 1 a.m. and then deny the next day that you’ve ever heard of it.

One dead body. Five breasts. Three drunk ex-cheerleaders. Elbow to the nose. Wrist-slitting. Multiple aardvarking. Gratuitous lovers cavorting through fields in slow-motion. Gratuitous saxophone on the sound track ALL THE DANG TIME. Fist Fu. Loft Fu. Black leather Fu. Basketball Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for David Duchovny, as the sensitive Jake, for saying “I want to see the outline of your body through your nightgown”; Billy Wirth, as the gritty Tom, for saying “Why don’t you take off your clothes?”; and, of course, Brigitte Bako, the girl who just can’t decide who to sleep with, for saying “He made love like he worked on the street–tender as a jackhammer.”

As Freud would say, “Now just WHO was your mother?”

Three stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.


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Red Lips (1995)

About once a week somebody begs me to write a letter or march down Pennsylvania Avenue or carry a sandwich board for The Arts.

The government is killing The Arts.

The Romney’s of the world are trying to get rid of the National Endowment.

It’s a dark day for The Arts. Or at least this is what people claim.

Look. I’m gonna say this one time and one time only.


Take that money and build a playground with it. Hire some more trash collectors for the Washington Mall–it was a dang MESS the last time I was there. Hire a few extra cops. But don’t be flinging money around for The Arts.

I’ve seen this stuff. I’ve seen the weirdbeard performance art, and the Mapplethorpe whangdoodle photos, and the Womb Goddess lesbian ballet troupes, and most of it is just plain boring. But even if it wasn’t boring–even if it was the greatest art since Michelangelo sculpted King David with his pants down–it still doesn’t have diddly squat to do with federal taxes.

Everybody knows that if you took a poll of the people on this, they would vote at least 97 per cent to STOP GIVING OUT THIS MONEY.

And they don’t care about art, and they don’t care about artists. They just flat don’t like welfare–but ESPECIALLY welfare for guys with bad nose rings who live in the East Village and paint neon stripes on rocks all day.

I know plenty of writers, and artists, and filmmakers, and theatre people, and I wouldn’t loan ANY of em twenty bucks. The ones who really know what they’re doing don’t even NEED my twenty bucks, and they don’t need the government’s money either.

Look. There’s a very simple way for artists to make money.

Charge admission.

Sell the dang painting.

Get a corporation to commission the sculpture.

Give an investor a percentage of your film.

Make a royalty deal with a publisher.

In other words, BE A GROWNUP.

But please stop asking Jesse Helms to give you money. It makes the REAL artists look bad.

I’m surprised I have to explain this.

Speaking of a guy who will never be funded by the NEA, exploitation cheapie-meister Donald Farmer, the one-man film industry of Cookeville, Tennessee, has a new one out called “Red Lips,” and I don’t know what kind of film Don’s been experimenting with, but this thing looks like it was made with a Low-8 camcorder and taped over an old episode of “The Cajun Chef.”

Fortunately, it stars the luscious Michelle Bauer, busting out of her Japanese kimono as she falls in love with a stringy-haired bloodsucking lesbian vampire with a pierced eyebrow and a one-neck-a-day habit. Yes, you’ve guessed it by now. It’s the immortal Ghetty Chasun, last scene as the corpse-loving bustier-wearing party girl in “Gorotica.” This girl is making a whole career of flicks never seen outside underground punk clubs.

This is the old story of the innocent street girl who goes to the clinic to sell her blood and ends up getting lured into a program to test a secret virus. One scene later, she’s sucking the blood off her leg. Two scenes after that, it’s Jugular Mainlining Time.

Fortunately, the luckless vampiress meets up with foxy babe Michelle Bauer, who’s just broken up with her girlfriend, Kitten Natividad. Yes, I said Kitten Natividad. Yes, the famous stripper and star of Russ Meyer films in the sixties. Yes, she of the humongo supremos.

I know what you’re wondering: How does Kitten look thirty years later?

Don’t ask.

The bathtub scene is TOUGH.

Nine dead bodies. Twenty-six breasts. Multiple lesbo aardvarking. Blood-coughing. Multiple neck-ripping, in closeup. Corpse-carving. Hand rolls. Gratuitous shower scene. Fang Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Bill Randolph, as the carpet salesman who lures young girls to his hotel room with promises of free Boone’s Farm; Francesca (Kitten) Natividad, as the spurned lesbo girlfriend, for taking that bath and springing those babies out of the chute, even at her age; Michelle Bauer, still Queen of the B’s, for loving the vampire so much she helps her shop for sunglasses and troll for musicians she can devour, and for saying “It’s not your fault–we’ll get through this together”; and Ghetty Chasun, as the vampire, for piercing every available part of her body (that we know of), and for screaming “You don’t know what I am!”

Two stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.


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Raw Nerve (1999)

I knew it was a bad idea. Wanda Bodine took Ugly-on-a-Stick to get a facial the other day.

I said, “Wanda, the reason they’re called ‘facials’ is that they’re intended for people who have FACES.”

“A facial is a way of bringing out the inherent inner beauty lurking just below the surface of your dirty skin,” Wanda told me. “They peel off layer after layer after layer until you find your beauty layer.”

So I said, “Well, that sounds like it’s worth a shot. Make sure they pull off her nose, her chin, both eyebrows, her lips, and her ears. And rip out those little lines around her mouth that look like she’s storing nuts for the winter in there.”

And Wanda was NOT pleased. She said, “You don’t realize what Chloris COULD look like if she was given a chance. Maybe she’s just suffering from low self-esteem. It could be caused by something traumatic from her childhood.”

“I see what you mean–like her face catching on fire.”

Anyhow, they went traipsing off to get their facials, and I watched a few hours of Court TV, this new cable channel where you watch psychopaths explain to the jury why they didn’t really MEAN to do it, and when they came back they had a napkin stuck to her face in order to “protect the natural herbs and oils that are rejuvenating her dermal sub-structure.”

And I was disappointed. I said, “Shoot, I thought they’d surgically attached a napkin to her face. I was about to tell her what an improvement it was.”

She kept that thing on another three hours, while I was watching Japanese professional volleyball “live from Santa Monica,” and when she finally did take it off, I almost puked up an oatmeal cookie. They’d ripped off so many layers of her skin that the full extent of her natural ugliness was revealed for the first time. This woman looked like a Nancy Reagan female impersonator that’s been baked in the microwave for 40 minutes. They rubbed off skin all the way down to the GRISTLE.

“Cover it up! Cover it up!” I was running around the room screaming.

“Joe Bob, we need to be sensitive to Chloris’s feelings,” Wanda told me.

“You don’t call this SENSITIVE? Why do you think I’m doubled up in pain over here on the sofa? I’m so sensitive it HURTS. Why don’t you just put a gorilla mask on her or something?”

And all this time Chloris is SMILING. And she’s jumping up and down because she’s so happy. And she finally tells Wanda, “I didn’t believe it at first, but it was true, wasn’t it?”

And Wanda said, “What’s true?”

I didn’t hear Chloris’s answer, because, before she spoke, Wanda reached over with a firepoker and jabbed it in my left thigh, causing me to be temporarily distracted and permanently crippled.

But what Chloris said was, “They said this would drive the men crazy. And LOOK! It drives the men crazy.”

“That’s right, honey, that’s right,” Wanda told her, and hurried her out of the room.

I’m only telling you this story so you’ll know if you see her on the street:

It’s even worse now.

She has her REAL face.

Speaking of recycled merchandise, Traci Lords is giving it another shot in “Raw Nerve.” No acting lessons yet, I’m sorry to report, but an incredible red mini-skirt more than makes up for it. It seems that Traci’s brother Jimmy is having these terrible migraine headaches where he sees a geek in a raincoat blowing away sexy young girls with a shotgun. But Jan-Michael Vincent, the local cop, and Glenn Ford, the police chief, don’t believe that the guy is really having psychic visions. (Yes, that’s right, I said Glenn Ford.)

Sandahl Bergman, of “Conan the Barbarian” and Playboy Magazine fame, suddenly shows up with a reporter’s notebook and starts making the sign of the twin-speared pith helmet with Jimmy to get a story for her newspaper. But the only guy who REALLY believes that Jimmy is getting accurate brainwave messages about serial killers stalking porkchops at the local high school is Jimmy’s beer-chugging uncle and race-car mechanic, Randall “Tex” Cobb. Tex is evidently the only actual homeless guy working full-time in the movies. He’s so dirty his performance actually STINKS–and I mean that as a compliment.

Of course, pretty soon Psychic Jimmy starts having visions about little sister Traci, especially when she starts wearing strapless dresses apparently held in place by invisible special-effects wires.

Will Traci survive?

Is Tex killing these girls with his breath?

I won’t give it away, but I will say that “Raw Nerve” is one of the finest movies ever made in Mobile, Alabama.

No breasts. (Traci Lords AND Sandahl Bergman, and there are no, zero, nada breastskis. I can’t explain this.) Five dead bodies. Two motor vehicle chases, with two crashes and one spectacular stunt where a pick-up goes off a three-story parking garage. Gratuitous dope-smoking. Shotgun Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Ted Prior, as the migraine-headachey Jimmy, for making this the drive-in “Chinatown” by saying “See, I’m her brother–and her father”; Randall “Tex” Cobb, as the beer-drinking pickup-driving uncle, for saying “Well, Bubba, now the whole city thinks you’re a fruitcake”; Glenn Ford, for being in this movie without anything to do, and for saying “You turn that lunatic over to me, and I guarantee he’ll never see the light of day again”; Sandahl Bergman, as the reporter, for saying “I slept with you because I WANTED to”; Traci Lords, as the jailbait, for successfully delivering the line “You look hot!”; and drive-in veteran David A. Prior, the writer/director, for lines like “It’s a classic case of object-induced dream-state psychotic dysfunction.”

Two and a half stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.


“Buried Alive” (1990): This lame adaptation of several Edgar Allan Poe stories stars Robert Vaughn as the keeper of an insane asylum for girls where every once in a while–whoops!–one of the young jailbait inmates gets bricked up in the dungeon. Donald Pleasence is the weirdbeard old caretaker, and Playboy Playmate Karen Witter is the idealistic young intern who shows up and starts thinking that, oh my goodness, way too many girls are VANISHING around this place–including Ginger Allen, who used to be Ginger Lynn Allen, who used to be Ginger Lynn, who used to make porno movies that would make a dead man whimper, but now struts around in B movies like a . . . well, like a girl who’s taken a few acting lessons. John Carradine is in this, for about one minute at the end–his last film appearance. One excellent shower scene. It’s one of those “But your methods are INSANE, doctor!” movies. Two stars.


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Raging Hormones (1999)

“Raging Hormones” could be the title of every beach-girl, summer-break, frat-party, weekend-in-Vegas, high-school-sex-comedy and nerd-vacation movie of the past thirty years, so if you’re gonna play with the big boys, you better know how to spring those babies out of the chute.

Michael Dugan of Boca Raton, Florida, may be the first filmmaker in history to spend TEN YEARS making a sex farce–it started out in 1979 as a novel called “Macho Housewives”–so you gotta admire his sheer single-minded lunatic-level devotion to
his chosen art form. But when we finally get to his payoff “American Pie”-type moments, this first-time writer-director WUSSES OUT on us.

He’s working with an all-Florida cast, and his female star, Darlene Demko, plays the time-honored role of the stuck-up sexually frustrated ice queen who fuels the summertime fantasies of the 18-year-old virginal clown-suited grocery boy next door–basically the same guy we saw in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”  But in Michael’s version of this oft-told American fable, the guy SCORES by the end of the second reel.

Michael Michael Michael Michael MICHAEL! The ice queen gets conquered at the END of the movie, preferably with soft-focuscloseups and dubbed moaning. Everybody ELSE has sex during the part that drags in the middle.

But that’s not all. Darlene gets nekkid exactly ONE time. Uno. Glimpse-a-rama. Cutaway city. This would be excusable except that Michael already confessed to me that, “When you consider that half the cast is either a stripper or bartender in real
life, the success [the movie] has had so far is even more amazing than everyone showing up for an early morning call time.”

When you got the strippers and bartenders on the payroll, you got to USE EM or LOSE EM.

That’s okay, though, we’ll forgive the guy on his first timeout. The flick has a nice feel to it, and it’s obviously conceived as a tribute to John Waters, complete with a Divine-type housewife played by Della Hobby. The problem when people
other than John Waters try to DO John Waters is that the acting gets too broad, and that’s what happens here, with a couple of the girls so over the top they’d have to tone it down for the Seaquarium dolphin show.

What we end up with is the aforementioned minimum-wage drone, trying to make tuition for state college, who stops by theice queen’s house to collect for his paper route at the very moment when the babe of the hour has run out of batteries, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Two scenes later he’s dressed in head-to-toe leather gear, consigned to sex slavery as the working part of a bimbo sandwich, and his brain has turned to Jello. Meanwhile, his bowling-champeen daddy is getting jacked around down at the lawnmower-repair shop by Mistress Frigidaire’s husband, who turns out to be a washed-up former football star who’s dumb as a box of bent paper clips and sorely in need of instruction by the local thunder-thighed hooker.

Sure we’ve seen it before, but have we seen it punctuated with supermarket scenes featuring Harry the Gigolo Butcher, who barters his marbled rump roast for backroom marbled rump? I think not.

Call it “Made-for-Cinemax Pink Flamingos.” And those drive-in totals are:

No dead bodies. Ten breasts. Aardvarking. Rancid liverspitting. Kinky barking. Body lice. Whipping. Spanking. Gratuitous clown abuse. Scorned wife Fu. Leather Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Topher Hopkins, as the $4-an-hour buccaneer at Shiver McTimbers who moonlights as a sex slave and becomes “a hostage to my libido,” for saying “If this is the road to hell, then give me a Porsche and eat my dust”; Antoni Cornacchione, as the ear-picking key-chewing redneck lawn mower repairman and bowling champeen, for saying “I didn’t go to college, look how good I done!”; Rene Orobello as the oversexed society girlfriend, for saying “When you have your first Big O, you’ll know”; Darlene Demko, as the fantasy woman with the legs that reach all the way to the floor; Della Hobby, as the Divine Clone who dreams of a Winnebago, adores Big Time Wrestling, uses Tiger’s Breath perfume, and does terrifying cannonballs into the swimming pool, for telling her 16-year-old daughter “You got at least two good years to catch a man”; and Michael Colquette, as the spurned dumb jock who says “I’m the man! I’m the king!”

Two stars. Joe Bob says check it out.


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The Weight of Walmart Rests on All our Heads

In 2011 Wally World officially become the largest grocery store in the good ole US of A and the largest retailer in the world, second to none. 

If I think too much about all of those Chinese factories where all the stuff in a Wal-Mart is made, I get that woozy feeling you get when you see ducks covered in crude oil.

Recent Black Fridays have been the scene of epic $2 wafflemaker mayhem that has to be seen to be believed.

But Walmart is a helluva of a lot BIGGER than most folks realize.  Way, WAY Bigger.


How Big is Walmart?  Well …

Walmart Infographic



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Joe Bob Briggs Guide to Impeccable Drive-In Etiquette

There are some people left in America who don’t understand why God created drive-ins. There are even some people in New York who don’t understand what the word “drive-in” means.

If you know any of these people — or any of the unfortunate people living in North Korea who are denied the right to attend movies in automobiles — I urge you to share this article on Facebook or Twitter immediately.

This is for the poor turkeys who don’t have the advantages that you and me have.  This is for the suckers who never got the chance to watch flicks in the outdoors the way they were meant to be seen.


RULE #1: Decide immediately whether you are interested in public or private entertainment.

The beautiful thing about the drive-in is that the flick is public but your car is not. So if you have something more interesting going on in your car than on the screen, you should take advantage of the situation by purchasing certain options.

One is the retractable steering wheel (to avoid hip injury). Another is the fold-back seat (to avoid the direct imprint of upholstery patterns on the skin). And a final, very important one, is various sundries and toiletry items to be deposited in the glove compartment (consult your pharmacist).

If the screen is more interesting, and it usually is, all you need is one ice chest and anywhere from four to sixteen six-packs. (Löwenbräu specifically forbidden in Texas drive-ins, but permissible in wimp states like Vermont.)

RULE #2: No matter who or what you see at the drive-in, DO NOT bring lawn chairs.

The worst you can do is take up space somebody could’ve used to park in. The best you can do is look like a jerk, sittin in a lawn chair with a speaker hooked on the back. This defeats the entire purpose — namely, to go out for an evening’s entertainment while still enjoying all the comforts of your car.

RULE #3: When approaching another car, ALWAYS count the heads before opening the door.

My truck is driving kinda funny.  Maybe it is has trannie issues?

I think this one is fairly self-explanatory and falls under the heading of Class C misdemeanors.

RULE #4: Keep your lights off at all times.

Not only does this muck up the picture for people who are trying to watch. It can be damned embarrassing.

RULE #5: Do Not Bring a Van

If you do own a van, do not bring it to the drive-in because it does not belong there. If you do bring it to the drive-in, please park it next to me so that I can shout loud remarks about your virility to the greasers in charge of keeping the hippies in line.


RULE #6: Never order Mexican food at a drive-in.

Would you like a side of Nightmare Fuel with that?

This includes nacho-like substances and mystery chicken parts.

RULE #7: When the sound goes bad or the picture goes blank, ride that horn like your life depends on it.

Mythbusters:  The Early Years

There is nothing more terrifying than, oh, about 1000 car horns all blasting at once. The only place you can hear this on a regular basis is at the drive-in, the last place in America where the people can make more noise than the bureaucracy. Problems don’t last long at the drive-in. This is why.

RULE #8: Never remove any article of clothing after the second feature.

You think you’re taking off your socks, but after three six-packs, you’re actually taking off your pants.

RULE #9: Never say anything to the ticket booth operator like, “Hey, fatso, we’re from Sigma Nu and we’re ready to party.”

Why yes, Your ticket does come with a nice hot serving of STFU.  Enjoy

Ticket booth operators at drive-ins tend to weigh 240 pounds and carry weapons.

RULE #10: Never go alone to a drive-in.

Just Remember folks, We Serve Families here, We don’t Make Them

The ice chest can’t hold that much beer and neither can your bladder.  Stay safe kids.


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© 2018 Joe Bob Briggs - All Right Reserved

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Joe Bob Briggs is a film critic, writer and comic performer. He has appeared on The Tonight Show , Larry King Live and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” amongst others.

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