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Joe Bob Briggs, and tonight we're goin' back into the apocalyptic Australian outback with Mel Gibson for "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." The Mad Max flicks kinda took the place of the old westerns. That's because the modern cowboy has been ruined for all time. But get a rope, I found the guy who did it.
I never knew it was him. Then, a couple weeks ago, I was at the New York City Ballet, and they were doing this old Balanchine standard from 1954 called "Western Symphony." And out they came: guys in felt cowboy hats and chartreuse bandanas, walkin on their heels with their thumbs hooked on their belts. I'm from Texas. I've seen cowboys. None of em walk on their heels, flippin their butts out with the hats stuck as far back on their heads as possible, while sporting rhinestone vests, pastel scarves and pink bib shirts. At least none of em did before Garth Brooks, but that's a whole DIFFERENT story. But for YEARS I've watched these weenie cowboys. They're everywhere. They're in movies. They're on the stage. They're in every theme park western show ever invented. Guys in chaps and boots dancin like SISSIES.
I've blamed a lot of different people over the years. First I thought it was Tommy Tune, who had all those dancin football players from Texas A&M in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." Remember those guys? The ones who cavort around the locker room, leaping off benches with their knees tucked together JUST SO? The ones with the baby blue boots? Tommy liked this idea so much that he used it again in "Will Rogers Follies." Only this time he had the cowboys wear chaps that HAD THE BUTT CUT OUT. He had cowboys flashin their nekkid hineys at the audience. Please. Tommy. How long since you been in Texas? Shoot, Tommy's FROM Texas. I mean, I realize they were OKLAHOMA cowboys,
but still . . .
Then I saw that movie "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," the weird one from MGM, in wide-screen Technicolor, where these yokels go out to Oregon and decide to kidnap all the women in town and take em home as their wives. The number everybody remembers has the wranglers dressed up in color-coordinated cowboy outfits, leaping off barrels and picnic tables, turning somersaults while their mauve bolo ties flutter in the breeze. So I saw this and thought, "Aha! Tommy Tune saw this movie! It wasn't the Houston boy after all, it was goldurned MGM!"
Then I saw the George Balanchine ballet.
The RUSSIANS did it to us. The RUSSIANS, in the middle of the Cold War, infiltrated our culture with Sissified Dancin' Weenie Leotard-Wearin' Cowboys. Listen up, choreographers far and wide. This stuff NEVER works. You know what DOES work? Mel Gibson swimmin around in pig doo-doo, fightin a Championship Rasslin reject with a midget on his back, in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Let's go. Roll it.
[fading] Stop hookin your thumbs in your belt loops. Lose the French cuffs on the bib shirts. Get rid of the little under-the-chin string on the hat. Please. Have a little mercy.
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #1
Tina Turner as the mean dragon-lady queen of the world. Tina looks so evil in this movie you think she's about to go into a property-settlement meeting with Ike. I'm not real clear on the bargain she's made with Mad Max -- I think he either fights the wrassler in the iron mask or she sings "Rollin on the River" again. Tina was really hot when this movie came out -- she was coming off a HUGE Grammy-winning album, and everywhere you looked you saw Tina Turner and those fishnet stockings. This movie was supposed to launch her big acting career, but the only thing she did after "Mad Max" where she wasn't playing herself was the The Last Action Hero in '93. Then nothing, except those VH-1 Diva shows. Remember last year when she got in that fight with Elton John during rehearsals? Elton wouldn't be out-Diva'ed. She also sings the movie themesong, We Don't Need Another Hero. Anyhow, I didn't get to the drive-in totals before, so let's do that.
Fourteen dead bodies.
Forty-five beasts, auditioning for Empty-V.
Two gallons blood, which the TNT "We're No Fun" Department has reduced to about half a cup.
Gratuitous malfunctioning chainsaw.
Gratuitous game-show host.
Three motor vehicle chases.
Four stars. Let's do the ads and get back to the flick.
[fading] Did you know Steven Spielberg offered Tina the Whoopi Goldberg part in "The Color Purple" THREE TIMES, and she turned it down? How nuts do you have to be to turn down a Spielberg movie? Course, I like people who are nuts. What is she, like, 70? The world's only 70-year-old FOX.
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #2
The great Thunderdome scene, in which Mel Gibson and a steroid monkey go into the giant birdcage and put on clown suspenders and try to pole each other in the privates and ram lances through each other's throats to show who's more macho. Followed by the Johnny Cochran version of "Wheel of Fortune": If you bust a deal, you must face the wheel. The prize is being condemned to put on a Mickey Mouse head and sit backwards on a horse. Would someone please remind me why he agreed to fight the giant gladiator to the death when the guy who stole his camels was right there, and Max had, oh, about 46 weapons on him? Just wondering. Anyhow, I always love torturous desert scenes, so roll the commercials and let's get back to it.
[fading] It's a source of endless debate among "Mad Max" aficionados why they cast Bruce Spence as the thief in this movie, when he played a pretty big role in "The Road Warrior." Nobody really knows if he's a different character, or the SAME character, and if he IS the same guy, why Mel Gibson acts like he doesn't KNOW him . . . You know what else they argue about? Max's car. "Dude, it's not a Camaro, it's a Mustang."
"That guy doesn't know what he's talkin about--it's not a Mustang, it's a Firebird with an after-market bumper welded on there." Ten bucks says the Mail Girl's got another letter from one of these guys when she gets here. Make it twenty. I speak, of course, of Australian dollars.
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #3
The late Angelo Rossitto is the midget in the swine pit. Listen to this list of credits: "The House of Horror," a silent flick from 1929. The classic "Freaks," made in 1932. "The Corpse Vanishes," starring Bela Lugosi, and made by the legendary Sam Katzman. "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" from 71. "Brain of Blood." Bit parts in almost 200 movies and a recurring role on "Baretta," and this guy NEVER made a living from his acting. He had a newsstand in Hollywood--that was the only way he was able to survive between gigs. How does that happen? Anyway, there I go, bringin everybody down, RUININ' the movie. Go, watch some happy commercials, and we'll continue.
[fading] Okay, we're in the desert. Is it just me, or does anybody else think that the desert is always boring. Never go into the desert. "Lawrence of Arabia"--he went into the desert. That was interesting. David Lean can go into the desert. Everybody else--out of the desert. There's no NEW WAY to photograph the desert.
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #4
I can't understand half of what she's sayin, but I really like that story the girl tells. "Pocky-clips" and "highscrapers." That scene was probly directed by George Ogilvie, one of the TWO directors who worked on this flick. George Miller did the action scenes, and George Ogilvie worked on the kinder, gentler scenes. Miller directed the first two "Mad Max" movies. The first one, "Mad Max," came out in 1979 and was huge box-office hit everywhere except America and Canada, 'cause when they released it here they did a bad job and practically nobody saw it. That's why the second movie was called "Mad Max 2" everywhere but here -- here they called it The Road Warrior, cause they figured it was a car-lover's movie, right? It's kinda the ultimate demolition derby. But by the time the third one came out, people knew who Mad Max was, so they called it "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Except for everywhere else, where it was called "Rocky 5." No, it was called "Mad Max 3" everywhere else. All right, do the ads.
[fading] You know what George Miller's last movie was? Babe: Pig in the City. It's just a little surprising to me. He actually DIRECTED "Babe 2." Produced and co-wrote "Babe 1," you guys know that? The man's got a major pig theme going on in his life. Three movies now where he's put more pigs on the screen than David Lean hired extras for "Lawrence of Arabia." See, I've decided to mention David Lean at every break tonight. Because film school students watch the show, and they go, "Yes. Uh-huh. David Lean."
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #5
The obligatory QUICKSAND scene. Or would that be a SUCKHOLE scene? Either way, it's more endless desert footage with yappin Aussies. So let's take a minute and read some mail from our favorite viewers in what we call "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless," and to help us with that, [enters] here she is, Rusty, the TNT Mail Girl.
RUSTY: I've been waiting since before the movie to ask you, what were YOU doing at the ballet a few weeks ago?
J.B.: Hon, I'm very well-rounded. I'm like one of those Renaissance men.
RUSTY: Is that what you told her?
J.B.: A guy'll do anything at the start of a new relationship.
RUSTY: And did you get what you were after?
J.B.: You make me sound like a . . . well, shame on you, Rusty.
RUSTY: Hey, I didn't say it.
J.B.: You got a letter for me?
RUSTY: I have an e-mail, from Paul Reid.
J.B.: "Joe Bob you ignorant hick. Mad Max's car is a Holden. In both Mad Max and Road Warrior."
What did I tell you guys? Every time we show one of these dang movies.
"Holden is an Australian car company. It has ties to General Motors USA. However, Australian law or taxes mean that Holden is Australian-controlled and fairly independent of GM-USA. Holden makes cars for the Australian market. Because of their ties with GM, and the fact that the Australian market is not too unlike the US market, most Holdens are recognizably designs that were discontinued by GM-USA. But Holden has also sold cars based on Ford designs, and probably sells Toyota-clones nowadays too.
"Specifically, Max's Holden is probably an early-1970s Chevy Nova. Holden bought the stampers to make the parts after GM went to newer designs. Either GM did not sell the fender-stamper, or Holden decided to put their own mark on the car, because the fenders are non-Nova. But true car fans can see through such minor styling details.
"Not a Mustang. Not a Camaro. The Camaro started on the Nova chassis, but by the mid-1970s had diverged and Max's car is clearly on the larger frame. It is hard to get a fat girlfriend in the back of a Camaro, and if you recall the scene with the pilot and the dog and the shotgun in the back of Max's car, there is plenty of room.
And it's signed, "Paul (Roz's car-head)."
Pretty convincing argument. If anyone else wants to write in and tell him he's wrong, though, feel free. Do it care of TNT, 1010 Techwood Drive, Atlanta, Georgia, 30318. Or e-mail me at email@example.com.
RUSTY: Or they can e-mail through the "MonsterVision" website, at tnt.turner.com/joebob.
J.B.: So how far would you go to get a guy to take YOU to the ballet?
RUSTY: I don't really like the ballet. [to camera] But there are a couple of restaurants I'd REALLY like to go to. [winks, exits]
J.B.: Rusty, you are a bad girl! You wanna go to Spago with me?! Or the Palm? Is it the Palm? I got a connection at the Denny's on Sunset!
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #6
Nothing like a good PIG STAMPEDE to pump up that plot. Does anyone have ANY idea what just happened in that last part of the movie? Why is there total CHAOS because a couple a kids slid down a chute into the pig doo-doo? And where the heck did they get a working train? "We will rebuild." Rebuild what? The pig-slop factory? And you know what? I thought all this time they would go BACK to the Thunderdome and climb back into the giant bungee cords. Mel Gibson against Tina Turner, in the Dome, right? Or at LEAST Mel Gibson against the tattooed saxophone-playing fat man. But they're not going back to the Dome, are they? Just the one fight in the Dome, cause now they're takin Amtrak. Okay, back in a minute.
[fading] What about track maintenance? Wouldn't that be a problem after the holocaust?
"THUNDERDOME" Commercial Break #7
FINALLY, we get a few motor vehicles in the desert. If it's a "Mad Max" movie and you're IN the goldurn desert, let's have some dune buggies, okay? Not skinny lesbians in rabbit-skin pajamas talking about the sky. All right? But still, this chase scene doesn't even come CLOSE to "The Road Warrior." Except for Mad Max in the zebra-skin Camaro, or whatever the goldurn car is. And the dangling skinhead who gets impaled on the grille of the locomotive. I do like those parts. Anyhow, we're not quite done yet, so let's run the truly strange conclusion of "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," after the ads.
[fading] By the way, how did the midget go from a baby-talking bad guy with a Napolean complex to a good guy in a tweed suit? See, this is what happens when you use two directors. One goes, "Hey, let's make him a sadistic tyrant who talks like Rocky Balboa," and the other one goes, "Let's make him a cute little English professor," and we're watchin two different movies. "Gone with the Wind" had two directors. But they had the sense to edit out all the parts with the midget, so the audience wouldn't be confused. Little known fact.
Why does Tina Turner let Mad Max live? Whatever happened to "No mercy"? The ending is a ripoff of The Road Warrior. Max leads his pilgrims to safety and remains in the wilds, the warrior used and discarded by the forces of progress. And we get to see that crazy Austrileyan girl "do the tell" again in a bombed out highscraper.
Okay, next week we're not here, cause TNT couldn't find a movie that was good enough for my show. You think I'm kidding.
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that there are three types of people in the world: Those who can count, and those who can't.
You guys hear the one about the concerned husband who goes to a doctor to talk about his wife? He says, "Doc, I think my wife is deaf, cause she never hears me the first time, and always asks me to repeat things." Doc says, "Well, go home tonight and stand about fifteen feet from her and say something. If she doesn't reply, move about five feet closer and say it again. Keep doing this so we'll get an idea about the severity of her deafness." The husband goes home and does exactly as instructed. He starts off about fifteen feet from his wife, who's in the kitchen chopping vegetables, and says, "Honey, what's for dinner?" No response from the wife. He moves about five feet closer and asks again. No reply. He moves five feet closer. Still no reply. He moves right behind her, about an inch away, and asks again, "Honey, what's for dinner?" Wife says, "For the fourth time, vegetable stew!"
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] What's the definition of Australian aristocracy? A man who can trace his lineage back to his father.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), Rating: TV-14-V. Last seen on Monstervision in May, 2000
REVENGE OF THE E-MAILS
Hi Joe Bob!
Here's my question. Unless I was asleep at the wheel so to speak, there has not been a Joe Bob cooking class on MonsterVision. I think you've covered just about everything else but this. Have you done a show involving Briggsian cuisine?
My two suggestions are:
1. Texas chili.
2. Maybe a stew where the dismembered heads of TNT's Paul & Annabelle are bobbing around in clear view.
It's not that I don't care for your TNT peers. But, was this some sort of desperate attempt by TNT to suck in the generation-X'ers or yuppies or whatever the heck they represent????
Anyway, I didn't intend to bring up any hidden agendas or TNT icon hatreds, but I really would like to see you tie on an apron and show your kitchen prowess to the viewing audience.
Thanks for having this forum for MonsterVision viewers and Joe Bob worshippers worldwide.
(Editor's note: Dinner and a Movie, hosted by Paul Gilmartin and Annabelle Gurwitch, appears on TBS)
You've obviously missed our three episodes of "Dinner and a Six-Pack," in which I've prepared, among other things, Wild Boar Casserole and a "prisoner special" called Nacho Hook-Up. On all three occasions I have made merciless fun of "Dinner and a Movie" in an effort to get a rise out of them or incite a retatliatory show. They have proved dull to the point of incomprehension.
Preciate the suggestion, though. Brilliant minds think alike, etc.
Hang in there,
Dear Joe Bob,
You were asking if anyone could explain the appeal of the "Italian sectional sofa" look, as demonstrated by that guy played by Everett McGill in The People Under The Stairs
I believe there are two factors at work here. The exact degree to which one views such things with alarm is up to the individual, of course, but I think you'll agree that Something Must Be Done.
Factor Numero Uno:
A single leather garment can be attractive and evocative. The smell, the feel, the look, etc. If the lovely Rusty has ever deigned to wear a leather skirt or jacket in your presence, I think you can imagine what I mean. While Wes Craven is a cinematic genius, and someone I'd quite like to have lunch with just for the heck of it, he seems to be of the More Is More, and More Means Better school. If the ladies think James Dean in a leather jacket is cool/sexy/dangerous/not entirely repellent, why then it follows that Everett McGill, while admittedly no James Dean, will be that much more sexy/terrifying if he's clad in tight, studded leather from top to bottom. What this proves, alas, is that sometimes More is Too Much. Also, that Canadians should probably not be allowed to run around in tight clothing, which brings me to...
Factor the Second
Everett McGill appeared in "Dune," wearing a tight rubber suit that was supposed to conserve bodily moisture or something like that. I'm thinking that maybe he liked it a little *too* much if you know what I mean and you know the rest of it. Perhaps McGill insisted that he be allowed to wear tight bodysuits in uncomfortable materials as part of his compensation for doing the movie.
And wasn't he married to Wendy Robie on Twin Peaks?
Your faithless viewer,
First of all, never ever invite me to a free meal unless you mean it, because I'm liable to show up.
Second, if you're implying that Everett McGill is a little lean in the leotards, and that in fact he requires oxygen deprivation caused by tight shiny black leather constricting his arteries, so as to fully express his Everettness, then I would have to say you've arrived at a level of genre-movie deconstructionism into the depths of which I have heretofore been reluctant to plunge. If you're saying that Wes Craven did it because it just plain LOOKS NASTY, then I completely agree with you.
Dear Joe Bob,
Last night, while watching "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome," my wife and I noticed something that we could just not figure out. Why didn't Auntie "?" (Tina Turner) blow him away at the end? I mean, he had just wrecked her utopia, and let the little Tarzan/cowboy genius midget escape- why wouldn't she just blow him away at the end? My wife also pointed out something that seems to be one of her pet peeves. Why, when people are dying of thirst in the desert and they find a canteen of water, do they spill half of it on their faces? I mean, you'd think they'd be extra careful having just experienced a near death situation -- can you explain this?
Jack and Julie Henderson
Dear Jack and Julie,
Well, maybe you missed my commentary there at the end, but I made this same point when I said that Tina Turner lets him go to wander the desert, thereby to completely copy the first Road Warrior even though it doesn't make sense here. And yes, the throwing of water on the face is one of my desert-movie peeves, but it's nothing compared to the one where, when they run out of water, they throw their empty canteens down in the dirt! So if, five minutes later they come to a spring, they have nothing to PUT THE DAMN WATER IN!
Thank you for letting me rant there for a minute.
Mel Gibson did all his own stunts in the three Mad Max movies, there was no stunt double.
Click here to hear the Thunderdome themesong again (midi)
Host segment transcript of 5-27-00 broadcast © 2000 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved