Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs looks at:
Great Balls Of Fire (1989)
Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire
"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 7/21/89
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
Now that "Great Balls of Fire" is out, everbody is shocked and amazed to find out that it didn't make 350 jillion zillion dollars and, instead, it made closer to . . . oh . . . three bucks. And everbody is even more shocked and amazed to see that it didn't make Dennis Quaid into a bigger super-mega-star than he already is, and it didn't raise Jerry Lee Lewis's career from the dead, and it . . . there's just a whole lot of stuff it didn't do.
In fact, now that the reviews are in, this movie is obviously gonna be remembered for only one thing--the performance of Joe Bob Briggs as the legendary Memphis disc jockey Dewey "Daddy-o" Phillips. You know, it's extremely embarrassing for me to have to write about this, I try to avoid calling attention to myself, and so maybe it would be better just to let the experts have their say.
Maybe you saw the report Mary Hart did on "Entertainment Tonight." She said, "The man is a hunk. He makes me get goosebumps all over the little hairs on my primly shaven legs."
Or perhaps you noticed the interview with Francis Ford Coppola, where he said, "I wish I had had the opportunity to direct Joe Bob Briggs instead of Brando." (I think he was referring to the original "Godfather," not Part 2.)
And finally, I don't want to run this into the ground, but Neil Armstrong, the former astronaut, happened to be one of the people who went to the movie on opening weekend, and he said "My God, my God, I have seen the closest thing to heaven. I will die knowing I have seen the beauty of the ages."
There were a few detractors, of course. There always are. LITTLE people. People who said, "Joe Bob, you don't seem to really DO much in the story." People who said, "Which one was you, Joe Bob?" People who said, "You mean that's it? You mean you went to Memphis for two weeks so you could sit in a radio booth and wave at Dennis Quaid?"
People who didn't even notice I was wearing the world's tallest pompadour. We have Pentecostal preachers in Texas that would give away their first nine children to have a pompadour that high. That pompadour WAS the performance. Don't you people understand how acting works? Meryl Streep would understand this. Tom Cruise would understand this. And for you young people out there wondering how to break into the business, always remember:
It's all in the hair.
And speaking of world-famous hair, my close personal friend, Wayne Newton, a/k/a Big Wayne, a/k/a "That guy that always sings MacArthur Park one too many times," has been Donka-Shaning all over the place, and is so multi-talented that he just became the first person in film history to have two "motion picture debuts" in one lifetime. "License to Kill," the new Bond movie, has Wayne in his "motion picture debut," even though we all KNOW that Wayne's first motion picture debut was in 1969 in a flick called "80 Steps to Jonah," where Wayne played an orphaned migrant worker in trouble with the cops. Of course, it didn't do great box office, because it opened the same weekend as Rowan and Martin in "The Maltese Bippy."
Anyhow, "License to Kill" is the second one with Timothy Dalton as James Bond, even though they already ran out of Ian Fleming novels, Ian Fleming short stories, and Ian Fleming comic books. The last three James Bond movies were based on Ian Fleming recipes, but they ran out of those, too, and so this one is based on an Ian Fleming letter to his Grandma.
What they did, really, is horn in on Charles Bronson's territory and make a revenge flick. A South American drug dealer who likes to cut people's hearts out for fun decides to feed James Bond's best friend to a shark on his wedding day. It's not THAT big a deal, because he the woman he was getting married to is Priscilla Barnes, but James is p.o.ed. Pretty soon, he sets out on his unauthorized mission to kill Mr. Big, and 148 death-defying stunts later, he kisses the girl--and it's Carey Lowell, star of five or six super-low-budget drive-in specials like "Dangerously Close" and "Downtwisted."
They don't have the sheer volume of quivering female flesh they used to, but they do have a gal named Talisa Soto, the drug dealer's girlfriend, who gets slapped around a little bit and purses her pouty lips. She was good. They've got some highly entertaining airplane, helicopter, and Mack truck stunts. And, of course, they've got Wayne, as the evangelist head of a South American meditation institute that's a front for a factory that mixes cocaine and gasoline together so it can be transported in tanker trucks. Not since Liberace played the undertaker in "The Loved One" has a Vegas veteran turned in such a memorable performance. Also, an outstanding villain--Robert Davi, the guy with the lizard-skin face, as the world's most powerful drug dealer.
No breasts. (Never are in Bond movies)
Thirty-one dead bodies.
Two exploding drug dealers.
Two shark dinners.
One guy forklifted to death.
Three motor vehicle chases.
Groady froth-mouth cyanide pellet.
Electric eel Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Timothy Dalton, especially for the scene where he's caught RIFLING THE MAGGOTS;
Robert Davi, for actually uttering the line "Drug dealers of the world, unite!";
and, of course, Big Wayne, as Professor Joe Butcher, the evangelist who gets a gun pulled on him and says "Bless your heart."
Four stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
JOE BOB'S ADVICE TO THE HOPELESS
(The Joe Bob Briggs Drive-In Movie and Videocassette Review can be heard three times a week in 1989 on WKYQ, "24 Carrot Country," FM 93, in Paducah, Ky., as well as 97 other radio stations. "Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater" airs Saturday nights at 11 EST/PST on The Movie Channel, in 1989)
Communist Alert! The last drive-in in Coronach, Saskatchewan, has been destroyed, leading to persistent rumors that the influence of Communism has now extended to the only country that rarely if ever tears down its drive-ins, Canada. Once they let em start putting up French signs, makin people talk like the Frogs, you knew this was bound to happen. Shane Nelson sent in the alert; he's going bonkers up there. Remember, without eternal vigilance, it could happen here. To receive Joe Bob's world-famous "We Are the Weird" newsletter, or to get free junk that'll clutter up your dresser until you move again and have to throw it out, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Yuppies, feel free to clog up Joe Bob's FAX machine to the end of 1989: (214) 368-2310.
Dear Mr. Joe Bob:
What is the use of that opening in my underwear (brief-type) that's so complicated you can't use it? Does anybody use it?
Some things God does as a joke.
Hey, Joe Bob!
I'm sitting up here in the Collin County Jail and, just for the record: No breasts. A few beasts (mainly guards, not fellow inmates). Bad food Fu. Stupid rules Fu. Cold hard bed Fu. No heads roll. No joints roll. One-half star. John says DON'T check it out.
John Lee Davis
Collin County Jail
Dear John Lee:
They don't call it "jail" for nothin, do they?
Dear Joe Bob,
Is there any such thing as quantity, quality, and good service at an affordable price on this great, green and blue globe that rotates on its axis or is that just the opium-clouded pipe dream of some Chinese street vendor?
It's actually a concept created specifically for American Express commercials.
Dear Joe Bob,
Please send me and the little woman something interesting to read. We live in Fort Worth, so obviously we don't get anything. Once we called up the high sheriffs at the Startlegram and asked if they would print more intellectually stimulating material, and they said "Huh?"
Ed Bob & Jeanette Bob Bird
Fort Worth, Tex.
Thank God, the speech therapy is working.
Dear Joe Bob:
I read your cold cure with great interest. However, as a recovering Alcoholic/Addict, I do not choose to utilize it. I instead look to prevention as a means to avoid suffering from the common cold.
The general population poses little threat to me as a source of infection, as I have almost no contact with the public. (Since my recovery and subsequent spiritual awakening, I have endeavoured to "carry the message" to any and everyone. As a result, most people accuse me of having an "overbearing" and "holier than thou" attitude.) I no longer go to meetings of my self help support group. (I'm also a recovered smoker.)
Despite my seemingly safe lifestyle I still get colds. I think I may be catching them from my children. Any suggestions?
Give those kids a little brandy three, four times a day. That'll take care of it.
© 1989 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved. For this and other reviews by the artist formerly known as the host of MonsterVision, go to
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