By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
The reason Quentin Tarantino is a true genius is that he knows how to explode a human head without actually SHOWING the exploding head proper. It's kind of a Hitchcock thing. You know how Hitch used to say that what you DON'T see is scarier than what you do see? Well, Quentin just carries this idea to its logical conclusion, and all he ever shows is little pieces of bloody human skull and brain splatterin all over a windshield and the back seat of a car after John "Mumbledy Lips" Travolta accidentally hits the trigger while he's turned around in the front seat talkin to a scared black guy in the back seat. Pretty soon the guy he was talkin to looks like a ravioli dinner somebody dropped on the pavement.
Anyhow, you know what I'm talkin about by now. I'm talkin about "Pulp Fiction," the latest Tarantino "paint the walls red" comedy.
They are NOT gonna like this one in Sweden.
The reason I mention the explodin-head deal is that a few years back, when "Frankenhooker" first came out, they tried to get it banned from theaters because the MP Double-A Censorship Board said you couldn't show actual exploding heads to minors. You had to be at least 18 years old to view an exploding head, even if it was a David Cronenberg artsy-fartsy CANADIAN exploding head.
And then Tarantino came along and solved the problem for everbody. You show the exploding head AFTER it explodes. You show exploding-head REMAINS. And that way you get an "R" rating and they show the movie in art houses in Greenwich Village and it becomes a cultural experience for all of us.
"Pulp Fiction" is a buddy movie, the old familiar story of a heroin-junkie hitman (Travolta) and his scripture-quoting sidekick (Samuel L. Jackson) running around El Lay wasting small-time hoods that get in the way of bad-guy fat-man prize-fight-fixing scuzzball gangster Ving Rhames. Rhames is bribin boxer Bruce Willis to go down in the fifth round, but Brucie plans to run off with his French girlfriend (Maria de Medeiros), except he escapes without packin the gold watch that his dying daddy gave him after concealing it in his hiney for five years in Vietnam, and when he goes back home to get it, he has to start slingin some automatic weapons around and runnin from Rhames, who chases him into a hillbilly pawn shop where two guys named Maynard and Zed keep a geek chained up in their basement and spend their spare time dreaming about Ned Beatty nekkid, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
Meanwhile, John Travolta is assigned to take care of Ving Rhames' wife--played by Uma Thurman, wearin this Queen of Sheba haircut--and he starts to get horny after doing the twist with her in a theme-park pop-culture restaurant called Jack Rabbit Slims, but the day is saved when she finds a baggie of heroin and overdoses by sucking it up her nose and they rush her over to drug dealer Eric Stoltz's house so he can instruct Travolta in how to plunge an adrenalin needle into her heart and save her life and his life, only later on he ends up in a restaurant with Samuel L. Jackson where two natural born killers try to . . . actually, I kinda forgot what this movie is about.
Way too much plot gettin in the way of the story.
But full of gratuitous violence.
I loved it.
Eight dead bodies. No nekkid breasts. (What's wrong with you, Quentin?) Eighteen piercing holes in Rosanna Arquette's face. Closeup horse injection. One motor vehicle crash. Needle through the heart. Gratuitous Christopher Walken. Gratuitous Harvey Keitel. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Eric Stoltz, as the slimy drug dealer, for saying "Heroin is coming back"; Ving Rhames, as the mob boss, for saying "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass"; Samuel L. Jackson, as the religious-minded hitman; and John Travolta, for looking like he's on heroin even when he's not.
Joe Bob says check it out.
JOE BOB'S ADVICE TO THE HOPELESS
Republican Alert! The I-45 Drive-In in Houston, the last drive-in built by "king of the drive-in" Gordon McLendon, has been ripped down to make way for another shopping center--and this time it has both a K-Mart AND a Wal-Mart in it. Just what Houston needs. The six-screen, 46-acre theater was the biggest in Texas and one of the biggest in America, but it was doomed from the day Gordon died about four years ago, and the business passed into the hands of his son, Bart McLendon, who wasn't that crazy about drive-ins and gradually sold em all off. The I-45's proudest moment came in 1984, when it was the site of the world premiere of "Yor: Spacehunter From the Future." Now it will be the site of the giant discount stores, plus a Builders Square and a Pace Membership Warehouse, leading drive-in lover David Whitten of Rosharon, Tex., to remark, "I believe that all is lost to the beef critters. They will inhabit these stores with mindless enthusiasm. In addition to these obese wonders, you will likely have a number of dissatisfied souls who will utilize this space to fulfill their insatiable hunger for better cellular phones, disposable diapers, fishing equipment, lawn furniture, and bowling balls." Allan Pasternak of Houston, George H. Gould, Jr., of La Marque, T. Watson of Houston, David Whitten of Rosharon, J. Kraase of Houston, Joy Mullett of Houston, Terry Watson of Houston, Trey De Nina of Houston, Mark Brusniak of San Antonio, Ron Rejmaniak of Houston and Kathy Klimpel of Houston all remind us that, without eternal vigilance, it could happen here. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and Joe Bob's world famous newsletter, "The Joe Bob Report," write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax: 214-985-7448. Joe Bob on Compuserve: 76702,1435.
The life pattern of a house fly has always been to sneak into the house unnoticed, rummage around in the garbage for a while, touch my food, buzz around my ear, bounce off the window until I crush him with a rolled-up newspaper. But lately I've noticed a group of flies stuck in a holding pattern. Are they waiting for clearance from the tower, or are they in some zombie-like state caused by malathion-spraying that has mutated their central nervous system over the years?
Sincerely hoping it's just a satanic message,
Jeffrey A. Rayner
San Leandro, Calif.
The flies, like everybody else, are assessing their options and deciding whether to go back to community college or not.
Dear Mr. Briggs:
In re: your article "More Teens-on-a-Stick," I JUST LOVED IT!
As the mother of sons who work their "conumes" off, bring home their money, set fine examples in their community, haven't committed any ax murders yet, are not buffoons . . . well, you get the point.
I am tired of seeing men become the butt of endless, tiresome TV and comic jokes about their roles in the home. Yes, adolescent males do crazy things, but so do adolescent girls.
Renee O'Brien Real
If your sons DO commit any ax murders, I'm sure it'll be because they're just SO MALE.
You wrote an article called "Somehow, Tattoos Don't Look Right on Playmates." I take great offense in your view of tattoos. Yuppies and/or pseudo-bikers aren't the only people who have tattoos. Cowboys, professionals, presidents of major corporations, football players, housewives, musicians--as in country/western, rock, classic, etc.--and the girl next door all have one thing in common--they all have tattoos.
And as for people getting tattoos because it's "hip," well let's just say you're way off base on that one. People have had a "thing" for tattoos for years. It's just another way to express themselves.
So why don't you open up your eyes and get a glimpse of the world everyone but you seems to be living in?
Are you saying it's NOT hip to get tattooed? That it's just something you do between taking out the garbage and ordering out from Domino's Pizza?
Don't tell Tom and Roseanne.
Dear Joe Bob,
As I am an American citizen who lives and works in North Africa during the regular school year, I find little opportunity to read truly good quality philosophical abstracts. I would therefore appreciate it if you would kindly send me your newsletter on as regular a basis as possible.
Additionally, should your research delve into aspects of Islam, public sensation, or "cooking-with-lamb" tips, please know that I maintain an extra bedroom in my living quarters, open to all passers-through.
P.S. I share a birthday with Joan Miro, Adolph Hitler and the prophet Mohammed.
If I decide to take the waters this year, I'll look you up.
Damn it, Briggs:
When the hell is Kenny Rogers gonna return to his acid-rock roots and excrete a freaky-deaky follow-up to "Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In"? Can't get enough of those lysergic leisure-suit profundities. My own fave Kennyism has to be "I watched myself crawling out while I was crawling in." Which sorta suggests the rancid spectacle of a psychedelicized Weird Beard scuttling around on the floor of a hall of mirrors with a headful of Owsley's finest and a waistful of Sansa-belt. Oh the pain, the pain . . .
Come back, sweet prince. Return for re-grooving and (as Country Joe spoke it) shine your silver streamline into the tiny door of my eye.
Justin "Kenhead" Reed
Cloud 10, Betelgeuse-2
Kenny broke his nodes, I hear.
Personally, I hope he knows when to fold em.