||"ESCAPE FROM THE
PLANET OF THE APES" Intro |
Now. Don't panic, but Escape from the Planet of the Apes is not the second movie in the Apes series. It's the third. But I'm not even gonna bother telling you what the second one was about, cause it's all explained in this one, and they kinda work it into the plot, and I don't wanna ruin any suspense they can eke out of it. Let's just say that it's kinda like, well, remember "Star Trek 4," the one everybody liked best cause the Enterprise goes to modern-day San Francisco and starts beaming up whales and stuff? Well, it's like that. But with no whales. And no beaming up. And it's not in San Francisco. You know what, let's just do the drive-in totals and get it started. We have:
Two dead bodies.
Four dead apes.
No breasts, and no bewtocks.
One upset dinner tray.
Uh . . that's about it. Not a whole lotta numbers, cause it's the kinder, gentler "Planet of the Apes." Lots of Roddy McDowall- Kim Hunter scenes, and lemme tell you, they are STARTING to get on my nerves, you know that? Kim Hunter's little librarian voice -- uh-uh. I give it three stars. Maybe three and a half, since it IS an Apes movie, and that counts for something. Okay, roll film.
[fading] We'll be looking at Darwin's "Origin of the Species" during this movie. As well as proving my own theory on "The Survival of the Dumbest." I got a three-thousand-dollar grant from our sister school, the University of Arizona at Ajo, and I've been doing research in Wall-Marts across the South. I've got my notes here somewhere . . . ah, here they are. [pulls out a receipt] Professor Joe Bob is poised to shock the world.
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #1
Boy, Sal Mineo didn't last long, did he? That was him as the ape that got whacked by the gorilla in the next cage. Sal Mineo basically got famous for getting killed. For those of you who don't know your Sal Mineo history, he was shot by the cops and died in James Dean's arms in Rebel Without a Cause. Twenty years later, when he was still only 37, he was stabbed to death in real life at his apartment in West Hollywood. And there's always been this mystique about it, especially since both his fellow rebels, James Dean and Natalie Wood, also died tragically. The movie we're watching was Sal Mineo's last flick, and what happens in the first ten minutes? He gets killed. Weird.
Okay, you ready for my theory on "The Survival of the Dumbest"? Here it is. [reads from receipt] If the building blocks of evolution consist of very small fortuitous novelties, as Darwin claims, there must have been a stage at which the incipient organ had no recognizable function, and would therefore have conferred no selective advantage. Therefore useful organs must have developed WITH A VIEW to the function they would eventually serve! Now, what does this mean in layman's terms? It means that because their genes have an eye on FUTURE evolution, people with underdeveloped brains procreate at a much more prolific rate than people with advanced brains. And the proof is: the baby-food aisle at any Wal-Mart. Look at em. Some of those mamas have eight little drool-monsters hanging off the shopping cart and they're pregnant with twins and they're buying Spaghettios by the gross. Q.E.D. Okay, back to the movie.
[fading] Q.E.D., or "quod erat dominatrix." Meaning "It is proven." A dominatrix proved it. By squatting on her quod erat.
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #2
Is Colonel Taylor alive? Of course not, because Charlton Heston was NOT doing any sequels, was he? Okay, do you gals recognize that Science Advisor guy, Dr. Hasslein? That's Eric Braeden, big star of "The Young and the Restless." I shouldn't assume it's just the gals that watch soap operas, huh? That was kind of a sexist statement. There are guys who watch soaps. And they're not ALL gay. They're in touch with their feminine side. Those are the guys who take their girlfriends shopping and go, "Oh, honey, if you're gonna get the DKNY dress, you should definitely get the Prada bag to go with it." To tell you the truth, I can't really relate to it. Okay, let's get back to the movie.
[fading] "Y and R," they call it, right? "Young and the Restless." Who thought of that name? The YOUNG and the RESTLESS. Sounds like Crips and Bloods, doesn't it? Eric Braeden's been on that show for 19 years -- he ain't so young anymore. In that time, 2300 species became extinct. You know how I know that? I can't go to the zoo anymore. I went to the zoo. It was depressing. Everything is "While you're standing here, five species have been eliminated from the planet." "This elephant will no longer exist 20 years from now." "Did you know that we're destroying 540 square miles of rainforest every day, and bullfrogs are being wiped out?" After a while, you just go, "Forget it. I feel TERRIBLE. Let's go to Six Flags." All the little girls are crying. Why do they DO that? I'm babblin now, aren't I?
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #3
So the apes become big Hollywood celebrities. Have we taken this concept JUST about as far as it goes? I think so. Did you catch the scene they played homage to in Pretty Woman? The big Rodeo Drive shopping trip? And the bubble bath -- remember Julia Roberts in the bubble bath? And in fact, now that I think about it, they even used the same hotel, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Not that I've seen "Pretty Woman." I mean, I may have seen PART of it. When I was flipping channels, you know, during half-time. Hey, Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter picked out some crazy outfits, didn't they? Let's get back to the flick.
[fading] They put Julia Roberts in those patent leather thigh-high boots, and I just get SUCKED IN. Does anybody get "Notting Hill"? Julia Roberts moons around a bookshop for two hours and Hugh Grant stutters a lot. It's a love story, right? You're supposed to have complications --didn't Aristotle say that? They kiss, they don't kiss. She comes to dinner, she doesn't come to dinner. Does anything ever happen in the movie? Don't you think she should go back to being a hooker? What was THAT about?
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #4
Okay, here's what I don't understand. Zira is drunk and pregnant, so she starts spilling the beans about the future, right? Because the evil Dr. Hasslein plies the pregnant woman with liquor. Oh, those carefree seventies. Nowadays a pregnant woman just LOOKS at a glass of wine and everyone freezes in their tracks. Right? No alcohol, no cigarettes, no sushi -- what else can't they have? Meanwhile, our mothers were all on their third martini before dinner was on the table when they were pregnant with US. Anyway, we don't advocate getting drunk while you're pregnant or operating a forklift. I have to say that or the Standards & Practices Department will be lobbin bricks in my direction.
Okay, she says the world was destroyed in 3955. But in the first movie, Charlton Heston landed in 3978. Twenty-three years AFTER the world was destroyed? These time travel things are always hard enough to understand, because what they're doing here is the Terminator plot. Somebody destroys the world in the future, so we have to kill his ancestor today, OR somebody SAVES the world in the future, so we have to kill the ancestor of the guy who KILLS him in the future. Are you following this? Both ways, we're violating the Second Law of Thermo- dynamics, but radical ape feminist Kim Hunter doesn't care about that, so . . . back to the movie.
[fading] Isn't there a scene in Rosemary's Baby when Mia Farrow tells the neighbors she's pregnant, and they break out a bottle of champagne to celebrate? People watch that scene now and just hyperventilate. Of course her neighbors are demons, aren't they? And her baby is the devil. That makes sense. Wonder what kinda bubbly the devil drinks?
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #5
Okay, we got the actual explanation of how apes learned to talk. A plague killed all the cats and dogs, so people took apes as pets. And the apes paid REALLY CLOSE ATTENTION. Did I hear that right? And even after just 200 years, the apes could wait tables. So, like, dogs have been domesticated for a couple thousand years, and so far THEY'VE evolved up to . . . Frisbee-chasing.
And speaking of highly evolved species, it's time for the TNT Mail Girl [enters] to bring us another letter from our most captive audience in what we call "Joe Bob's Jail Break."
MAIL GIRL: You know, my dog is way more evolved than that.
Oh, yeah? Does he talk?
MAIL GIRL: No, but--
Can he cook?
MAIL GIRL: NO, he can't cook, but--
I know, he can drive, right?
MAIL GIRL: No, he can't DRIVE. But he does dance.
Do I have to hear this?
MAIL GIRL: Yes. He puts his big paws on my shoulders, and we dance around the living room. It's SOOOO sweet!
You DO know you're giving pet owners a bad name.
MAIL GIRL: Hi, Sweet Pea! [to Joe Bob] Here's a letter from Clinton Graham at the Farmington Correction Center in Farmington, Missouri.
Your dog's name is Sweet Pea.
MAIL GIRL: No, it's his nickname.
What's his name?
MAIL GIRL: Cutie Pie.
"Dear Joe Bob,
"Hello from the land where men are men and the sheep are nervous. Yes that's right. Of course I'm talking about Farmington Missouri. Joe Bob, I am in prison in this MonsterVision-like town. Now, I've had this ongoing argument with a C.O. that resides in this town, and well, who better to ask about the all important questions of life, than a true country genius guru. Such as yourself. So . . . here . . . goes . . .
"'If you live in Farmington, and your mom and dad get a divorce . . . are they still brother and sister?'
"Now I'm pretty sure Ted won't let you read a letter like this over the air. (As if TNT's viewers have soooo much class.) But I will be eagerly awaiting your answer to this baffling question. And believe me, an entire genepool hangs in the balance!!
"Clinton Graham #307123
"Farmington Correction Center; Farmington, Missouri.
"p.s. Ask Rusty the Mail Girl if she'd go out with me if I promise to quit clubbing baby seals (when I parole of course)."
MAIL GIRL: Clinton, you better be kidding!
Well, if he's not, you only have to go out with him, and he'll never do it again.
MAIL GIRL: Boy, THAT'S a no-win scenario, isn't it?
By the way, Clinton, I sent your letter to the Farmington Chamber of Commerce -- they'll be using it in their next tourism brochure. Okay, Farmington Correction Center, or FCC, is a high-custody male facility with an operational capacity of 2,725 inmates. It houses the Community Therapeutic Center, the Farmington Treatment Center, the Regimented Discipline Program and the Social Rehabilitation Unit.
So you can get a back-rub after your whoopin. That's what it sounds like anyway, right? Community Therapeutic Center and Regimented Discipline Program. Clinton, preciate the support, bud. Free your mind and your butt will follow. You know, if you really want to dance, I'm right here.
MAIL GIRL: Uh, well, I've seen what you're capable of.
You don't think I'm a good dancer?
MAIL GIRL: Compared to my dog?
You dance and I put my paws all over you? Right?
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #6
Ricardo Montalban just turns up in the strangest places, doesn't he? As the benevolent New Age animal-loving Mexican circus owner. But you know, if I was at the studio meeting, I'd say, "Hey, if we're gonna hire a benevolent New Age animal-loving Mexican circus owner, we've gotta go for Ricardo." And while we're talking about the cast, how about that brilliant performance by the FEMALE doctor, Bradford Dillman's sidekick? Producer's wife. As I mentioned earlier, the producer of all the Planet of the Apes movies was Arthur P. Jacobs, and I guess after Richard Zanuck's girlfriend got a part in the first movie, Mrs. Jacobs wanted a part, too. Natalie Trundy -- that's her name -- actually has the honor of having played a human, an ape and a mutant at different points in the series. The second movie, "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," is the one with the mutants -- we didn't really cover that, did we? That's where Taylor and Nova discover a bunch of humans who went underground and turned into mutants after everything got nuked. And then Charlton Heston disappears cause he didn't want to do the sequel but the studio convinced him that he owed them so he agreed to be in it for, like, five minutes, till another astronaut lands on the Planet of the Apes and takes over, and then Charlton Heston pops up again right at the end, and then the whole planet blows up. Does that give you the general idea? All right, back to "Escape from the Planet of the Apes."
[fading] Did you know Charles Darwin spent eight years studying barnacles alone? Just thought I'd throw that in there. Barnacles haven't really won any evolutionary races so far, have they? Nobody will be making "Planet of the Barnacles" anytime soon. Some of these species are scary, but a barnacle, I think we could take em. Plus they need a new name. Barnacle -- just doesn't say survival of the fittest, does it?
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #7
How come the apes are wandering around the Anaheim Oil Fields WITH NO DISGUISE? You know, a hat or a scarf, maybe a little trim on the sideburns. I mean, it's not gonna be that hard to spot em. "I'm in pursuit of the apes at this time." "Could I have a description?" "Yes, they are, uh, ape-like in appearance." This whole ending seems kinda thrown together, you know? They spent more time on the dang shopping trip and that grape juice-plus bit than they are on this whole escape that's going on. And it's the whole point of the movie -- the title, even. "ESCAPE From the Planet of the Apes." But I don't wanna ruin it for you. It's almost over. It's still a classic. Let's go -- another great finale.
[fading] Just an ATTEMPT to fit in. A pair of glasses and a baseball cap. Maybe a Gold's Gym T-shirt.
"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES" Outro
Pretty good trick ending, huh? All "Planet of the Apes" movies have to have a trick ending. It's the law. "Escape From the Planet of the Apes" -- the wimpy one of the series. Which would be followed by two more sequels, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, where little Milo grows up, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, where he has a mid-life crisis, gets a toupe, and leaves his wife for a younger woman. When are we gonna have that all-night dusk-to-dawn "Planet of the Apes" marathon, that's what I wanna know.
Okay, don't forget Cinema Studies 101 next week at "Joe Bob's Summer School," with our first field trip all the way to Baltimore, Maryland, where we'll chat with the great writer/ director John Waters. And we're gonna be watching his big cross-over hit film, Hairspray, and George Lucas's pre-Star Wars autobiography, American Graffiti.
That's it for me, Professor Joe Bob, reminding you that it may be your sole purpose in life just to serve as a warning to others.
You guys hear the one about the local business that puts a "HELP WANTED" sign in the window? Sign says, "Must be able to type; must be good with computers; and must be bilingual. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer." After a little while, a dog trots up to the window, sees the sign, and goes inside. He looks at the receptionist and wags his tail, then walks over to the sign, looks at it and whines. The receptionist gets the idea, and goes to get the office manager. The office manager looks at the dog and is surprised, to say the least. But the dog looks determined, so he leads him into the office. When they're inside, the dog jumps up on the chair and stares at the manager. The manager says, "I can't hire you. The sign says you have to be able to type." The dog jumps down, goes over to the typewriter and proceeds to type out a perfect letter. He takes out the page, trots over to the manager and gives it to him, then jumps back up on the chair. The manager is stunned, but he tells the dog, "The sign says you have to be good with a computer." The dog jumps down again, goes over to the computer, and proceeds to enter and execute a perfect program that works flawlessly the first time. By now the manager is totally dumbfounded. He looks at the dog and says, "I realize you are a very intelligent dog and have some interesting abilities. But I still can't give you the job." The dog jumps down and goes to a copy of the help wanted sign and puts his paw on the part that says 'an Equal Opportunity Employer'. The manager says, "Yes, but that sign also says that you have to be bilingual." The dog looks at the manager calmly and says, "Meow."
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] A traffic cop sees a blonde in a convertible with a full-grown lion in the seat next to her. He drives up behind her and she pulls over. Cop says, "Shouldn't you take him to the zoo?" The blonde agrees and drives away. Next day the cop sees her again, and she still has the lion in the car. He drives up behind her and she stops. Cop says, "I thought you were going to take him to the zoo yesterday!" Blonde replies, "I did. He liked it so much that today I'm taking him to Six Flags."
|Back to Monstervision|