"Hey, Joe Bob Briggs here, and Wham Bam Thank You
ProGRAMming Department, we do have a decent movie tonight. The great
Stephen King-Taylor Hackford flick Dolores Claiborne, and then later on
tonight it's back to our normal crapola . . . I mean, we have an excellent
second feature called "The Kiss." With the yummy Joanna Pacula.
right, I have an experiment I want you to try. Ask a really fat person if
he wants some food. He will NEVER say yes. He probly won't say anything.
He might even start shaking, hemming, hawing and hesitating, and then
he'll blurt out something like, "Are you having something?" He wants it to
be YOUR decision.
Hasn't there ever been a fat person, somewhere,
sometime, in the whole history of the world, who just says, "Hell YES I
wanna eat. Shovel some of that lasagna straight down my gullet right NOW!"
Instead you get these little titters and grins and stammers, like: "Gee
whiz, are you talking about food? I've never heard of that." It's one of
those things that people automatically lie about.
I'll give you
another example of automatic lying: beautiful women. If you say to a
beautiful woman, "You're beautiful," she'll smile or giggle or deflect the
comment, and usually say something like, "Well, I'm just glad that YOU
think so." Sometimes they'll say: "Oh, I don't think so. My nose is
crooked." Like they wanna have a DEBATE about it. Beautiful women have to
know they're beautiful, right? In this country, in the 1990s, beautiful
women are constantly TOLD how beautiful they are, so they KNOW IT, right?
I wonder what would happen if you just said: "You know, now that you
mention your nose, I can see it IS crooked. So you're NOT beautiful after
all. I take it all back."
Another thing people lie about is whether
they're sleeping or not. They answer the phone with a groggy, drugged
voice, and so you say, "Did I wake you?" "NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!" And you
say, "You sound like I woke you." "No, I was just reading." "Reading?" And
they say, "I was reading. Catching up on a little work." "Must of been
some really BORING reading. I'll call back." And they go, "No, really. I'm
wide awake." All they have to say is, "Yeah, you woke me up, but I don't
give a flip." But they would rather LIE ABOUT IT.
But the WORST
thing is when people coerce YOU to lie. They KNOW they're making you lie.
They WANT you to lie. They FORCE you to lie. They say things like: "Honey,
do you think my butt's too big?" (True answer: YES, YOU LARD-O.) Or,
"Would you feel better if we just didn't talk about it at all?" (True
answer: I'D DO ANYTHING TO GET YOU TO STOP NAGGING ME.) Or, "Do you think
those Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are attractive? Don't you think their
outfits are kind of trashy?" Or, "If you don't want to see me again,
that's all right, you can just say so, I won't care." You people STOP it,
you hear me? Stop lying, and more important, stop making ME lie. I do NOT
wanna have to tell you again.
And speaking of lying, we're gonna
spend the next two hours trying to figure out if that's what Kathy Bates
is doin in "Dolores Claiborne." It's the story of a feisty New England
woman who may or may not have pushed a couple of mean people to their
deaths, and Jennifer Jason Leigh is the twitchy daughter who comes to
brood and smoke and drink heavily till she finds out THE TRUTH. Kathy
Bates is great in this, so let's do the drive-in totals and get it
started. We have:
Two dead bodies. No breasts, thank God. No,
I don't mean that. Stair-tumbling. Back-whacking.
Ear-whacking. Christmas ornament slashing. Servant biting.
Delinquent hoopla with shotguns. Parental stimulation. Drunk
Three and a half stars. Check it out, and we'll be
with you all night.
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #1
crackers!" There goes that Kathy Bates, being profane again. This is the
second time "cheese and crackers" has turned up in one of our
"MonsterVision" movies, ever since TNT issued these new rules against
using our Savior's name in vain. Anyhow, Kathy Bates is playing two
different ages, about twenty years apart, and I think she does a dang good
job. She was actually right in the middle, 47 years old, when "Dolores
Claiborne" was made in 94. Most actors play a different age, they put a
little powder in their hair and make their voice either really high or
really low--like that's how old people talk, right? Like Winona Ryder in
Edward Scissorhands. Kathy Bates not only worked with a dialogue coach
to get that special Stephen King New England accent, she also worked with
a MOVEMENT coach so there'd be a physical difference between the young
Dolores and the older Dolores. Kathy Bates won the Oscar, of course, for
"Misery." Stephen King has been very very good to her. Memphis gal, went
to SMU here in Dallas, went to New York and did a lot of Off-Broadway,
PRIMARILY at Manhattan Theatre Club, I think. Is that right, guys? I'm
asking YOU GUYS about Off-Broadway. Okay, back to the
[fading] People used to tell Kathy Bates that she was too
heavy to become a movie star. But some guys like a gal with a little meat
on her bones. I like a gal with a little meat on her bones. I don't care
for the beanpoles. Except for Kate Moss. Remember last year when the big
thing in fashion was the Heroin Look? Skinny, pale, glazed eyes--whoa
doggie, gimme some of THAT. What is that? Buy a blow-up doll. You
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #2
"Oh, man, that
firewood to the back kills me. That is brutal. I was a little thrown to
find out that she was telling all that to Jennifer Jason Leigh, but
whatever. And that's David Strathairn, doing an excellent job as the evil
This movie was directed by Taylor Hackford. His
big claim to fame is "An Officer and a Gentleman," and he directed the
classic flick "The Idolmaker." His last one was "The Devil's Advocate,"
the one with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. It's tough to get a grasp on
Taylor Hackford, cause his movies don't really have a theme running
through em. A lot of directors are kinda drawn to a certain type of story.
Like John Carpenter directs a lot of movies about loner guys. Martin
Scorsese tends to do movies about gangsters and conmen. Woody Allen does
movies about Woody Allen. But I can't really find a link between Taylor
Hackford's films. But he does have a cool name. Taylor Hackford. It's a
good one. Okay, go.
[fading] Taylor Hackford's married to Helen
Mirren. You guys know who she is? She stars in that Masterpiece Theater
show "Prime Suspect." I say Masterpiece Theater, and these guys just shut
down. You guys act like I just said "Let's break out that needlepoint and
sew!" It's a COP SHOW, okay? Helen Mirren plays a detective.
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #3
Christopher Plummer as Detective John Mackey, pulling Kathy Bates' hair
out and torturing little girls. We all know him as Captain Von Trapp from
"Sound of Music," but the guy adds class to any movie. He played the Klingon commander in Star Trek VII and he's playing Mike
Wallace in the new Michael Mann film that's coming out this year. He was
the only guy OLD enough. It was between him and Eli Wallach. And that's
John C. Reilly as Frank the constable. His great credit is, of course,
"Boogie Nights," about the porno industry. Need we go further? I think
not. Okay, let's go watch Jennifer Jason Leigh contort her psyche some
more. Roll it.
[fading] There was no daughter as an adult in the
book. We can talk about the differences between the book and the movie
later. Or maybe not. Especially since nobody in the "MonsterVision"
audience is familiar with BOOKS."
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #4
"I never DID like
Eric Bogosian. Eric as the slimy magazine editor who takes away Jennifer
Jason Leigh's big story and causes her to swallow many many mood-elevating
pills. Anyway, there's only one performance artist I'M interested in right
now, and I can see her out of the corner of my eye, it's the TNT Mail
Girl, [enters] bringing us the weekly feature we call "Joe Bob's Advice to
the Hopeless." What do you do to stay in such FINE shape,
MAIL GIRL: Nothing, really.
Ever go on Dr.
Schembeck's Grapefruit Laxative Diet?
MAIL GIRL: No, I take
That's great. A little kung fu?
GIRL: Tae kwan do.
Excellent. Because there are a lot of slimeballs
out there who would try to put their hands on you.
MAIL GIRL: Well,
now I don't have to worry about it.
I would never do that. As much
as I THINK about putting my hands on you, I would never actually do
MAIL GIRL: I'm glad to hear that.
Especially now that I
know you could kick the crap out of me.
MAIL GIRL: Why don' we read
this e-mail from Jennifer Barila of Midlothian,
"Dear Joe Bob,
"My name is
Jennifer and ever since I started watching you, I fell in love with you
and your show. I'm obsessed with horror movies and I love your show. I
also fantasize about you and me having sex while we eat popcorn and watch
'Night of The Living Dead.' I hope you read my letter on the
Read it on the air? I'm gonna recite it to my whole bowling
"My favorite part of your show is the drive-in totals. I'm
not at all attracted to the 'bumpkin' type, which you are, but you look
just like Norm McDonald and he's hot too. I think it's the chauvinist pig
side of you that attracts me (I'm into S&M). Call if you're
"P.S. I'm a 36D.
listening, "Jennifer Barila, Midlothian, Virginia."
bumpkin who looks like Norm McDonald? You think Norm McDonald's hot?
S&M in rural Virginia--you could get killed! What if she wanted to
play the Ned Beatty "Squeal Like a Pig" game?
MAIL GIRL: What's
It's where they tie you nekkid to a tree and . . . never MIND
what that is. I'm the bumpkin version of Norm McDonald.
Yeah, but I'll bet Norm can't squeal like a pig.
It's a good thing
you have professional karate training.
MAIL GIRL: Tae kwon
Tae kwon do. Why did you bring me this?
MAIL GIRL: It's
Thank you very much. I've never been so insulted in my
life. [puts letter in pocket] I gotta rewatch "Deliverance."
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #5
"Little slow on the
uptake puttin that rolling pin down, don't you think? [demonstrates] This
WOULD tend to incriminate you, wouldn't it? Especially when you're STARING
at the mailman. I think there's probly at least one moment in every movie
where the screenwriter goes, "The mailman was supposed to enter without
her HEARING him, dang it." I was watching something the other night where
the girl says to the guy, "If you don't do what I tell you, I'll nail your
scrotum to that beam up there." And then they show the beam, and it's made
of steel. And you know the screenwriter is goin, "It was supposed to be a
WOOD beam, you morons!"
Okay, speaking of writers, I thought I'd
just fill you in on some of the ways they deviated from the Stephen King
novel here. I always find that kinda interesting. First of all, the book
is in the first person--it's Dolores Claiborne telling the story. For the
movie, they added the whole thing where the grown daughter comes to help
her. Good idea, though, cause this is one of the few movies where that
constant flashback-flashforward thing really works. The daughter only
appears as a kid in the book, and there are either one or two other of the
little yard monsters, I forget exactly. The only other thing I remember is
that Steven King goes on FOREVER about bedpan procedures, and they cut
that out. Which is too bad, cause when's the last time you saw a good
bedpan scene? It's been a while, right? All right, let's get back to
[fading] Kids love bedpans. A lot of kids
watch this show. A kid's favorite word is "butt." That's a big laugh in
kiddom. The highlight of this movie is when Kathy Bates says, "Now you
listen to me, Mr. Grand High Poobah of Upper Butt Crack." Major Academy
Award line in elementary school circles everywhere."
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #6
scene, the one at the bank. Stephen King, the feminist. How evil can we
MAKE this guy? Isn't there a rule in Aristotle's Poetics or something that
says you can't make the guy just totally scuzzy and demonic or else it's
not believable? He stole all his daughter's money so he could PARTY with
her. And that girl playing the young Selena is amazing--she's developing
all those Jennifer Jason Leigh quirks. Her name is Ellen Muth; she's only
done one movie after this one. She spent time with Jennifer Jason to pick
up on mannerisms, even though, obviously, they don't have any scenes
together. Jennifer Jason Leigh in real life is the daughter of Vic Morrow,
who WAS, in fact, an alcoholic, so isn't that I-ronic? Okay, back to the
[fading] I loved Vic. I wouldn't wanna drink with Vic,
though. Vic had that look in his eye. He was one of those "I'll tell ya
one goldurn thing" drinkers. You know the guy at the bar who always says
"I'll tell ya one goldurn thing"? And then he never tells you one goldurn
thing? That's just my impression of the Vickster."
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #7
character actress Judy Parfitt as Vera Donovan. This was her first
American movie. They did a pretty good job aging her, too. Those yellow
teeth are nasty.
We haven't really talked much about Jennifer Jason
Leigh, but you guys know all about her, right? We mentioned earlier that
she's the daughter of Vic Morrow--but she didn't like him. Changed her
last name, that's just how MUCH she didn't like him. Her mom was the
screenwriter on Cujo, yet ANOTHER Stephen King adaptation. You know what
I think of when I think of Jennifer Jason Leigh? Well, I can't say it on
TNT, but guys like it. She learned about it from Phoebe Cates in "Fast
Times at Ridgemont High." She did it to a sailor in an alleyway in "Last
Exit to Brooklyn." She satiated Alec Baldwin in "Miami Blues." She
performed it over the phone in "Short Cuts." And in "Single White Female"
it was so graphic, it never made it out of the editing room. No wonder she
had lockjaw by the time she did the Dorothy Parker movie, you know what
I'm saying? Critics thought the way she talked was a CHOICE she made. I
don't think so. Okay, we got the great eclipse scene coming up here, so
back to the flick.
[fading] "Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman
has to hang onto." "An accident can be an unhappy woman's best friend."
"It's a depressingly masculine world we live in, Dolores." It's
interesting to me that Stephen King, who is a male, seems to hate men.
What do you think is going on there? I don't understand the Male Feminist.
First of all, how could sex possibly be any fun? I'm gonna talk to that
boy next time I see him."
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #8
"What was that
thing with the back of her head in the mirror? I don't know what that was
supposed to be. I guess that's what happens when you remember that your
dad made you feel him up on a ferry boat. Anyhow, that eclipse scene was
pretty, wasn't it? They recreated the facade of the house and the whole
front yard and shot it inside the Acadian University Hockey Arena in Nova
Scotia. That's where they were shooting the movie. It's not like they
went, "Hey, you know what would be easier than building this on a
Hollywood soundstage? Let's go to Nova Scotia and find a hockey rink!" By
the way, Acadia is where the Cajuns in Louisiana came from. Their pet
alligators kept dying up there, so they moved down to southern Louisiana.
Okay, back to the flick.
[fading] It was also impossible to grow
okra in Nova Scotia, and instead of crawfish etouffee, they had salmon
etouffee and poured a lot of Heinz 57 steak sauce on it. Little Cajun
history for ya. I'll be Emeril doesn't even know that. Okay, we're
cranking it up a notch! Kathy Bates! Bam! Down the shaft! Bam! Dead
"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #9
by Jennifer Jason Leigh, the magazine reporter who's suddenly a LITIGATOR.
And Kathy Bates just kinda has to sit there for twenty minutes while
Jennifer Jason saves her butt. It's a rare article of the Maine
Constitution that says, if your mother is accused of murder, you can
cross-examine all witnesses and totally dominate the weenie judge at the
inquest. And then you can just walk out of the courtroom with her, no
matter what anybody else says. I think Maine has had that since colonial
times. All right, I don't wanna drag this out all night, so let's go to
the touching conclusion of "Dolores Claiborne."
[fading] I think
women like Kathy Bates more than men. Guys don't sit around going "Man,
would I like to GET ME some of THAT! Whoooooeeeee! Hang on tight!" Just
doesn't happen. In fact, if your girlfriend says "Hey, let's go to the new
Kathy Bates movie!" it's like, "You know what? I forgot, I have to clean my closet. Sorry." Not a real Marquee Babe."
Host segments continue tonight with The Kiss (of a werewolf)