I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and it's time for "Maximum
Overdrive," considered by most critics to be the WORST Stephen King movie
ever made. I don't wanna hurt Steve's feelings, I know he tunes in now and
then--Steve, if you're watching, I personally think the movie does have
its moments. It's about these machines that start taking over the world,
like automatic bank machines that use the f-word when you try to get your
money out, only the last survivors on Earth end up at Pat Hingle's truck
stop watching the 18-wheelers drive around and around all by their
lonesome. We've got some excellent splatter effects in this one, including
a little kid on his bike getting Aunt-Jemimaed by a steamroller, a leaping
electric carving knife, and various forms of deranged lawn-care equipment.
And I want you to concentrate on this first scene. What incredibly famous
person is seen screaming in the front seat of her car while the car is
destroyed by flying watermelons? Let's do those drive-in totals and start
the movie before you forget to check. We have:
Twenty dead bodies.
One possible breast. One dead dog. Twenty-eight dead motor
vehicles. Six quarts blood. The only movie in the history of the
world to have all its music performed by AC/DC. Twelve exploding
trucks. One exploding ice-cream truck. Two motor vehicle chases.
Wrist carving. Random video-game electrocutions. Little
Leaguers massacred for no reason. Steamrolling of small children.
Ventilated Pat Hingle. Filthy restrooms. Gratuitous version of
"King of the Road." Vending Fu. Diesel Fu. Garbage truck Fu.
Two and a half stars [Joe Bob gave it 3 stars when it first came out in his Universal Press Syndicate column]. "Maximum Overdrive." Check
it out. I'll be here all night to help you with it. Go.
hope Valvoline knows what they got into when they sponsored this one. They
WILL have a very fine-tuned demographic by the time it's over, though.
Let's see, it'll be one bored hospital security guard. A gal who wants to
have Emilio Estevez's baby. Oh, and a bunch of guys in prison. THEY use a
lot of motor oil. You know, no matter how many times I make fun of
"Maximum Overdrive," Big Steve still speaks to me. He invited me to his
big 25th anniversary party, celebrating the publication of Carrie.
Steve, you're a bigger man than I. That's what happens in middle age. You
could really lose 20 pounds, guy.... There won't be any more
invitations, will there?
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Commercial Break #1
Did you see her? It
was Marla Maples, being bombarded by flying watermelons, in her famous
role as "Woman #2" in "Maximum Overdrive." Remember when she first started
dating The Donald? Or whatever you call it they were doing--I guess it's
not dating if the guy is married to somebody else--anyway, when they first
started rootin around, the newspapers would report on her as a "mysterious
actress." Now we have evidence that she had indeed emoted on film. And a
dang fine job she did, too. Okay, let's keep on with it, it doesn't start
to drag for another couple commercials. Roll it.
[fading] How much
do you think Marla got in that divorce? It wasn't that much. It was in the
low eight figures. She didn't really need it. She's got one of those
K-Mart clothing lines, right? Very lucrative. Or is it acid-wash jeans?
No, that was Donna Rice.
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Commercial Break #2
Well, we got a WHOLE
lotta subplots going on here. We got the redneck truck stop owner, played
by Pat Hingle. We got Emilio Estevez wandering around aimlessly. We got
the honeymooning couple careening around the countryside. That's Yeardley
Smith, by the way, as the bride, the one who says "Curtis, are you dead?"
She's best known today as the voice of Lisa Simpson on "The Simpsons," but
in 1986 she had just starred on Broadway in "The Real Thing," directed by
Mike Nichols. Let's see, what else? We've got the waitress who gets cut by
the runaway electric carving knife. We've got the yahoo gas station
attendant who gets a face full of gasoline right square in the eyes. We've
got the little kid riding around on his bike. And we've got a bunch of
18-wheelers that are supposed to be terrifying, but mostly they're just
kinda lame. What I'm wondering is why Emilio Estevez did this movie. The
guy's 23 years old, and his list of films goes like this. "Tex." "The
Outsiders." The Breakfast Club. "St. Elmo's Fire." "That Was Then, This
Is Now," which was made from his own screenplay. And then . . . "Maximum
Overdrive." And while he was making "Maximum Overdrive," he was already
getting ready to write, direct and star in "Wisdom." We're talking one of
the hottest actors in the world at this point, and he's doing dialogue
with motor vehicles. There's a LITTLE bit of a possibility of some actual
drama here, between Emilio and Laura Harrington, the pretty hitchhiker.
She was known at this point for working with Al Pacino on Broadway, when
he did "Richard III," and for starring in a little independent movie
called "City Girl." So let's see how this develops. Roll
[fading] Emilio Estevez is the nephew of Joe Estevez, the
obscure black-sheep B-movie Estevez, but Emilio Estevez's FATHER is Martin
Sheen, whose real name is Estevez but he changed it, and Emilio Estevez's
little brother is Charlie Sheen, who took his father's name just to be
different and confusing. Only now he goes by CHARLES Sheen. You know who
else did that? Debbie Gibson. Now goes by DEBORAH Gibson. Like we're not
gonna recognize em or somethin. Course, I admit, when I start doing more
serious things, I plan on using my given name, too. Joseph Bob Briggs. It
always bothered my daddy that I didn't use my formal name. I was named
after him. He was Robert Bob Briggs.
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Commercial Break #3
[color picture of
prison fountain off MonsterVision website]
"Oh, honey, you're bleeding like a
stuck pig!" Only one of the many great lines for Yeardley Smith in this
movie. That obnoxious voice is very funny. But as the Mack trucks go on
the rampage at the Dixie Boy truck stop, wasting everything in sight, this
might be a good time to welcome the lovely TNT Mail Girl, [enters] Rusty,
who is here once again with letters from our captive audience in the fine
penal institutions of America, in what we call "Joe Bob's Jail Break." You
know, Yeardley Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson. MAIL GIRL: I've
actually never seen "The Simpsons." Really? Never? MAIL
GIRL: I'm kinda busy on Sunday nights. Every Sunday for ten
years? MAIL GIRL: Let's say I have a class. What do you
mean, "Let's SAY I have a class"? Do you have a class, or don't
you? MAIL GIRL: Well, it's with a professor, and I learn a
lot. Am I the only one who hasn't had a date with you? MAIL
GIRL: No! But I did go through a period where I was very . . .
popular. Uh huh. I wish you were that "popular" with
me. MAIL GIRL: Here's a letter from Bubba Hopkins at the South
Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls.
"Yo Joe Bob, "You
are a big hit here at the South Dakota State Penitentiary, but considering
our chow hall's board of fare, anything is an improvement. Nowhere else
can you find the cheesiest films but on your show. "As a
self-styled connoisseur of cheese-flicks, I must say that you offer some
of the most enjoyable turkeys around. But I believe that I have found one
that you seem to have overlooked. This is a revolting little gem of a film
that, after I rented it for the guys' viewing pleasure, I received death
threats if I ever got it again. This will clue you in on its ability to
entertain. This masterpiece of cinematography (and I use that term
loosely) is an oriental offering entitled, 'Samurai
Reincarnation.' "This baby is great! Almost FOUR HOURS long,
excruciatingly bad subtitles, and not a plot to be found anywhere. This
movie is only recommended for the hardest of hard-core drive-in movie
buffs. It has been known to transform hard-bitten convicts into shambles!
Four stars, Joe Bob, Bubba says 'Check it out.' "By the way,
there's another film I rented called 'Dr. Jeckyl's Dungeon of Death.' This
is just fantastic because they seem to have done the whole movie on a
budget of about $20 . . . and most of THAT went for BEER!! You might want
to show that one on your show sometime. In fact, you could show em both
for a double-dip. There's enough cheese in those two films that all you
need is the dried hunks o bread and you'd have a fondue. "Finally,
I would appreciate it if you'd send an autographed picture. I'll put it
right next to my 'Montana is 4 Lovers' poster with the smiling rancher and
the terrified sheep. "Buenos Nachos! "The Rev. Bubba
Hopkins, Pastor, Jailhouse Rock Congregation, First Presleyterian Church
of Elvis the Divine (South Dakota State Penitentiary; Sioux Falls,
South Dakota) "p.s. - My cellmate Kevin says 'Howdy'! "p.p.s. - Need
more Godzilla Flicks"
How can a guy in the joint find movies that I
can't even find? Preciate the support, Bubba. I'll look out for those
titles. I might have to go up to South Dakota and check out your Sunday
service. Do the Presleyterians have confession? Cause if they do, there
must be quite a line for the booths at this congregation. South Dakota
State Penitentiary is the oldest prison in South Dakota, opened December
12th, 1882. 2400 inmates, about a tenth of em are women. Which may account
for the fancy French rococo fountain with the plaster swans out front. Do
we have a picture of that? Interesting touch for a maximum-security pen.
Okay, Bubba, free their minds and their butts will follow.
Rusty. This "professor" of yours--what does he teach? MAIL GIRL:
Poetry. Oh, brother. MAIL GIRL: What?! You should try it
some time. Girls LOVE poetry. Honey, you don't have four ex-wives
and not hear THAT 300 times. MAIL GIRL: [exits] You don't want to
take my advice, don't take my advice. Wait a minute--did you mean
try it with YOU? Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Rusty? MAIL GIRL: [re-entering] I thought you only had three
ex-wives. Oh, yeah, I was counting one of the ones I lived
with. MAIL GIRL: Everything about you is soooooo romantic.
Rusty? Shall I compare thee to a perfect potential future
ex-wife? The fourth time with thee wouldst be a charm.
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Commercial Break #4
Well, we're about an
hour into it now, and it just flat dropped its transmission. You know why?
Because Stephen King tried to direct ... A LOVE SCENE! Think about it.
Everything was fine up to that point, right? I mean, we got the machines
taking over the world. We got the bank sign flashing the f-word--which you
did NOT see on TNT, because we can't show the f-word on TNT. We got the
drawbridge scene, where ten, fifteen motor vehicles get destroyed. We got
the maniac cigarette machine, the attack diesel pump, the leaping electric
carving knife, Coke-can brain surgery. We've got exploding 18-wheeler
aliens. We've got Pat Hingle running around shooting off a bazooka he
happens to keep in the basement. Then what happens? Emilio Estevez and
Laura Harrington do this pathetic little kissing scene, and then they
start making the sign of the four-legged spouting walrus, and you know
what that adds up to? A Perry Como music video. See, Steve knew this going
in. Dino DeLaurentiis asked him to direct one of his movies, for two
reasons. One, Big Steve had always been upset that most of the screen
versions of his books turned out wrong. He didn't even like The
Shining--and EVERYBODY likes "The Shining." Plus at this time, his movies
had such a bad reputation in the industry that, when "Misery" came out,
the studio tried to DISGUISE the fact that it was written by Stephen King.
Dino DeLaurentiis had produced four Stephen King films, none of which did
very well--The Dead Zone, "Firestarter," "Cat's Eye" and Silver
Bullet. So Dino thought he'd get a better result if Steve did the
directing himself, and Steve said, okay, but the story he wanted to do was
"Trucks," one of the earliest stories he ever wrote, back when he was a
nobody living in a rented trailer somewhere in Maine. And the reason was
that he felt comfortable dealing with machines and explosions and that
kind of stuff, but he had a mortal fear of having to talk to actors about
"The Method" and "motivation" and stuff like that. And so he just let the
actors kinda wander around and he spent all his time directing the trucks
and the machines. And that's how "Maximum Overdrive" ended up sucking.
Even Steve admits it. But the flick does have its moments. So let's
continue with it now. Go.
[fading] You know what we did NOT see? I
just realized it. We didn't see Stephen King's own cameo in the film.
Where he goes to the automatic teller machine, tries to get cash, and the
machine says "You're an --" I can't say what the machine says. Seven
letters, rhymes with lasso. This movie had so much cussing in it that half
of it was gone by the time they butchered it down for cable. You know what
that makes me think? Maybe Steve's original version, before it got
censored, is a REALLY GOOD movie... Maybe not.
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Commercial Break #5
What's a "road
twitch"? Is that what she said at the end of that last scene? "Just a
little lesson in manners from the road twitch." I'm sure that's what she
said. It MIGHT be more of the TNT censors monkeying around with the
dialogue. Because this movie originally got an X rating. For excessive
gore and for bad language. Stephen King's original idea was to make it raw
and vulgar and hard-driving, which is why he chose AC/DC for the
soundtrack. But most of his great splatter effects had to come out. Like,
remember the scene at the beginning where the steamroller goes wild on the
Little League field? Well, one day they were setting up the shot where the
steamroller mows down one of the Little Leaguers, and they had a dummy all
set to be flattened. And at the last minute, Steve said to the special
effects guy, "Gimme one of those blood bags." And they went over and put a
blood bag on the body. He was hoping that after the steamroller finished
running over the body, there would be this great dramatic streak of blood
on the equipment. But what it did instead is that it made it look like the
kid's head exploded. So Steve was so happy with the footage that he called
up his friend George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, and
he sent him a video of the footage, and Romero got sick watching it. He
had to look away. And so Steve was very proud of himself. But the MPAA
ratings board was not impressed. They told him to take that out, along
with a couple other gore effects, and tone the whole thing down, or else
he didn't have a chance of getting an R rating. So all the good stuff had
to come out. I think I should be on the ratings board, then we'd get some
decent movies made. Okay, I'll shut up now, because I know you're dying to
get back to the story--all three of you. Roll it.
Official band of the San Diego Padres. And Butthead. No, Beavis. Only
Beavis wears the AC/DC T-shirt. Who wears the AC/DC T-shirt, Beavis or
Butthead? That show's only been off the air for about a year now. I say
Beavis. You know, if you were in a bar in Atlantic City and everybody was
really really drunk, and you pretended not to know the answer to that
question, you could make a BIG pile of money.
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Commercial Break #6
Why is Emilio
Estevez limping? And what did he just mumble about a "broom"? He's wasted
from . . . pumping too much gas? Operating too many nozzles? You know,
just when you think this unbelievable movie reaches a new level of
unbelievability, it tops itself--or bottoms itself. The machine-gun turret
that holds everyone hostage, and talks to the truck stop in Morse Code--I
would say that's pretty much as far as you can go with this concept,
wouldn't you? Fortunately, it's ALMOST over. What's amazing to me is that
Stephen King could have chosen ANY story, of all the hundreds he's
written, to be his first directing effort. And he chooses this weird one
that he sold for 250 bucks back in the early seventies. Wouldn't you think
he'd have a great one tucked away just for this moment, instead of givin
it to Rob Reiner? Okay, now for the stunning conclusion to "Maximum
[fading] Wait! I believe it's time! Yes, it is! It's
time for Emilio Estevez to EXPLAIN the whole plot of the movie in a big
speech that begins with the line "Imagine you're a race of aliens, right?"
You don't believe me. Watch.
"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE" Outro
Lemme get this straight. The whole
secret of survival was to jump onto a sailboat? And everybody cheers--even
though Brad just got flattened like a pancake by a grinning 18-wheeler
full of toys. If all they had to do was run into the woods and jump on a
boat, why didn't they do it in the first 20 minutes of the movie and save
us a WHOLE lot of bad dialogue. Like "You can't do this! We made you!"
Wanda June the waitress, in her big emotional scene. All right, I musta
been a bad boy, cause next week I've been saddled with Look Who's Talking
Too again, followed by the Christopher Lambert sword-fighting cult
I'm Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that when
the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
Did you guys hear the one
about the blonde who's trying to sell her old car? She's having a lot of
difficulty, because the car has 250,000 miles on it. One day, she tells
her problem to a Newfoundlander she works with at a salon. That's right, I
said "a Newfoundlander." You're about to hear what may be the world's ONLY
Newfoundlander joke. The Newfoundlander tells her, "There is a way to make
the car easier to sell, but it's not legal." The blonde says, "That
doesn't matter if I can sell the car." So the Newfoundlander says, "Okay,
here's the address of a friend of mine. He owns a car repair shop. Tell
him I sent you and he'll turn the counter in your car back to 50,000
miles. Then you shouldn't have a problem selling it." The next weekend,
the blonde makes the trip to the mechanic. About a month after that, the
Newfoundlander asks her if she's sold her car. The blonde says, "Why
should I? It only has 50,000 miles on it."
Joe Bob Briggs,
reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] A blonde
calls the police to report that thieves have been in her car. She tells
em, "They've stolen the dashboard, the steering wheel, the brake pedal,
even the accelerator!" But before the police can start investigating it,
the phone rings again. It's the blonde--tells the police, "Never mind, I
got in the back seat by mistake."
Joe Bob's Mailbag
Dear Joe Bob:
When there's no more room in the ocean, the trout will walk the Earth.
Duchess Of Disaster Moraga, Calif.
Dear Duchess: We already have quite a few people that look like carp running around out here.
Dear Mr. Briggs:
Millions of People are Going to Be Tormented Day and Night For Ever and Ever.
The third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name." Rev. 14:9, 10, 11.
After you have thoughtfully read this in its entirety; please hand it to a friend.
J. A. Tarres, Phoenix
Dear J.A.: I'll hand it to my friend as soon as he gets back from prayin' to a buffalo.