Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At
Martians Go Home (1990)
The ultimate horror from outer space--MORE stand-up comedians
"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 8/10/90
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
Ever since Ugly-on-a-Stick gave birth two months ago, everbody's been going by to check on the baby and find out:
a) if it's gonna grow into a humanoid form;
b) what race it is;
c) whether it'll have any permanent psychological effects from being named "Bjorn" and living in a white-trash trailer park.
Ugly-on-a-Stick's given name is Chloris Evelyn Sturtivant, but she named the baby "Bjorn" to make everbody think she had sex with a Norwegian. It didn't work, though. The nurses knew as soon as they washed the gunk off it that it was the color of a Goo-Goo Peanut Cluster bar. At first he looked kinda like E.T., but his eyes cleared up after three, four eyes and he started to look like Bruce Lee if Bruce Lee was from Argentina. Finally, after about six weeks, it started to pork up and resemble a butterball turkey after it's been basted and broiled three, four hours.
What I'm saying here is, we don't know WHAT it is yet.
But then last week something really strange happened. Ugly-on-a-Stick called me up at three in the morning and she said, "Joe Bob, my baby is a genius."
I said something like "Ugh."
"Joe Bob, I got up to feed the baby, and right before I started in, my Bon Jovi nightshirt flew up over my head."
"Ugly, your clothes are flying up over your head all the time. How do you think you got Bjorn in the first place?"
"No, I mean like in 'Poltergeist.' It flew up around my head like angels were dancing around my face."
"Chloris, we both know nobody'd get that CLOSE to your face, even angels."
"I'm telling you, Joe Bob, Bjorn is a genius."
"What does Bjorn have to do with it?"
"Well, after I fed him, his blanket jumped up off the floor and floated over to his crib."
"His little blanket . . ."
"I heard you. What are you talking about, Ugly?"
"He's a physic."
"What's a physic?"
"Bjorn can zap things around the room like Fred MacMurray in 'The Absent Minded Professor.'"
"Fred MacMurray had Flubber," I told her. "That was different."
"That's what I mean, Joe Bob. Bjorn has MIND FLUBBER."
"He does not."
"He does, too. He can MOVE things with his mind."
"He's doing it right now. He's twirling the horses around on his Bugs Bunny educational mobile, and he can't even reach up that high."
"Chloris, are you sure this baby belongs to one of the Gonzalez brothers?"
"He does NOT belong to one of the Gonzalez brothers."
"Which one was it? Luis, Rolando, or Skippy? We've got to find out. They might of been eating peyote that night or something."
And then she got FURIOUS at me for even SUGGESTING that little Bjorn Sturtivant sprung from the loins of a Gonzalez and started cussing and raving about how I don't know the difference between a Norwegian genius and a Mexican drughead.
And then a funny thing happened. I have a black velvet Elvis painting on the wall of my bedroom. And right in the middle of Ugly's tirade, Elvis pivoted 90 degrees until he was UPSIDE DOWN on the wall. Didn't make a sound. Scared the bejabbers out of me.
"Someday you'll regret this, Joe Bob," Ugly-on-a-Stick said, and she hung up on me before I could tell her.
Elvis turned right back around to his natural place on the wall.
It was three nights before I could sleep in the room again.
I'm not saying Bjorn did it. I'm not saying Bjorn DIDN'T do it. But I do wish that girl would invest in some birth control.
Speaking of genetic nightmares, what if the Martians invaded the world and they turned out to be STANDUP COMEDIANS? ALL of them? That's the basic plot in "Martians Go Home," the movie where Randy Quaid is a theme-music composer for TV game shows, only one day he accidentally sends out some "Close Encounters" chords over the radio. Pretty soon Barry Sobel, Vic Dunlop and about a billion other stand-up comics--in other words, the typical weekend lineup at the Improv--show up with green skin and unstoppable mouths, assaulting innocent people with 24-hour-a-day one-liners, playing accordions on the street, blowing leaves on Buddhists, interrupting newscasts to tell lame jokes, going on game shows to make fat jokes about people in the "soundproof booth"--in other words, making life one long continuous cable TV show.
Oh, yeah, and one more thing--the Martians know everything that's in your mind, and they want you to be "open and honest" or else they'll tell everybody your secrets. As Randy Quaid puts it, "It was like being invaded by people in your fourth-grade ethics textbook."
Anita Morris is a talk-show shrink who keeps telling people they are having "delusions" when they think they have Martians in their Hydro-Spa. But the Martians keep coming--jumping into the girls shower, eating all the clam dip, trashing the set of the popular bulimia game show "Eat My Lunch," showing up in bedrooms with popcorn whenever someone wants to have sex.
"What do they want?" Anita Morris asks.
"I think what they want is for everybody to be really honest, and say what they feel."
"God, I hate people like that."
No dead bodies.
One motor vehicle chase, with crash.
Martians who dance like the Pips.
Martians singing "Macho Man."
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Gerrit Graham, as the game-show producer who invents "The Wedding Bell Game" (girls have to crawl through a pool of mud in a bikini to get a wedding ring);
Anita Morris, as the talk-show shrink, for saying "A meatloaf in the shape of a tree is surprisingly festive";
Barry Sobel, as the most obnoxious Martian, for doing about 30 fat jokes without taking a breath;
Vic Dunlop, as the chubby Martian, for standing in elevators and spreading TRUE rumors;
Ronny Cox as a President even goofier than the current President;
and Randy Quaid, for saying "Invaders can be dealt with--these guys are tourists."
Four stars. Joe Bob says check it out.
JOE BOB'S ADVICE TO THE HOPELESS
Victory over Communism! The Sinking Spring Drive-In in Sinking Spring, Pa., was dead for four years, but it's BACK, thanks to Donald Fox, who did a little promotion, ran a few newspaper ads about "the return of an American tradition," and has cranked that sucker up to 1,500 cars a week. The Sinking Spring has a 140-foot screen, largest on the East Coast. Remember, the drive-in will never die. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and his world famous "We Are The Weird" newsletter, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax line is always open: 214-368-2310.
Who decides how many stars to be affixed to movies in "TV Guide" and the movie guides?
None of the movie critics ever agree with each other, but someone seems to have the final "Star Authority," which then haunts the movie the rest of its life.
I thought if anyone might have the answer it would be you.
The Aspen Times
I guess you caught me.
I might as well admit it.
I personally determine the movie star ratings for the entire world.
I'm really surprised you noticed.
Dear Joe Bob:
Would you and all your readers in future "upgrade" your TV and VCR to the wide-wide screen of 1x4? Yes or No?
Only on your cable TV and future VCR. Never on TV air (no room). Three tubes until future thin flat-screen for homes does appear. With future switch, use PANORAMA screen for new future computer-games. Play new game on modem "Roundtable" for long-long contest and the prize. Perhaps the "final" be shown on cable-TV. Wow! "Sky cable"? Also, "switch" back to TV 3x4 and all video 3x4, too. Or transfer old video to new VCR tape or disk. Shall "Deep-system" of England help? Can you and your readers write or video to FCC in Washington, DC, USA? Zip code in zip book. Thank you.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
Turn set off.
Watch too much.
Dear Joe Bob,
As you can see I am a shameless yuppie, as evidenced by my contacting you by way of your "yuppie hot line" fax number. Well, I like to think of myself as a sort of "undercover screw-ball." My favorite movie of all time is Barbarella starring "Hanoi" Jane Fonda. It is a shame how her acting, and career, have fallen straight into the toilet, after such an auspicious beginning. I wish that they would re-release it annually, maybe run it on Fox, opposite the Academy Awards.
John D. Martin
Let me get this straight. You're afraid I'll call you a yuppie, so you produce evidence by saying you like a 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda with a whirlybird on her head and polyurethane pocket protectors on her bazoomas.
Well, yeah, you're right, I guess I AM convinced.
I need your advice. What color see-through bra should a blue-eyed very blonde lady choose? (Since you are an authority.)
San Pablo, Calif.
Depends. What color are your garbonzas?
Dear Mr. Briggs,
Whereas I usually read your column with pleasure, the one about depression was a glaring exception. I am the Chief Resident in Psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Before residency training, all psychiatrists go to medical school. They do this because many of the patients they will treat have diseases which are biochemical, disturbances in the brain chemistry. You have undoubtedly heard of some of these illnesses: schizophrenia, unipolar depression, bipolar or manicdepression, panic disorder. Since these are illnesses of the brain, various functions of the brain are disturbed depending on the illness. Thinking, mood, perception of reality, the ability to relate to others and many other gross and subtle functions of the brain can be affected. Our science is finally beginning to reach an understanding of these illnesses, and we are able to prescribe medications which help bring the chemistry in the affected areas of the brain back into balance.
Prozac, the antidepressant you discussed, is one of several medications which can be used to treat the illness we call major depression. These medicines are not "happy pills." They help people with depression return to normal so they can struggle with the problems we all deal with. Like Insulin helps a diabetic's blood sugar return to normal, like antihypertensives help someone's blood sugar return to normal, antidepressants help a depressive's thinking and mood return to normal. As with many other illnesses, stressful vents can trigger a depression. But please don't mistake "major depression," the psychiatric illness, for everyday sadness, for feeling down or blue or even grief-stricken. These are experiences everyone has, which are not a result of an illness.
In the past, societies have believed that people with mental illnesses were possessed, or sinners being punished. You imply that they are self-absorbed and narcissistic, and that the solution is to do something for someone else. This advice might help sad or grieving persons who might even use the word depression to describe how they feel. But just as someone with pneumonia or heart disease can't just feel better by force of will, neither can a person with a serious mental illness. Our culture has yet to accept this fact, but I take heart in knowing it wasn't long ago that we believed epileptic seizures were evidence of possession by Satan, and we've gotten past that now.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Rachel A. Long, M.D.
Dear Dr. Long:
I'll admit I may have overstated the case when I lampooned the Prozac craze. But can you at least admit that it's an unhealthy culture that splashes an anti-depressant drug across the front of Newsweek magazine like the DRUG ITSELF is a rock star?
I don't question the need for the drug to sometimes be prescribed by a trained physician. But I think we've had enough experience with prescription drugs in America to know that any drug that becomes "popular"--as Prozac evidently is--will eventually be abused, both by nitwit follow-the-crowd doctors and by patients who are simply good liars.
© 1990 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved
For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob Briggs.com
"Martians Go Home" availability on video and on DVD from Amazon.com
Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him.
This film was distributed in Italy as "Spaceballs 2". They were unimpressed just as soon as they saw that Mel Brooks name was not on the credits.