Monstervision Host Segments for Stephen King's

Dolores Claiborne

The Doctor needs help

"Dolores Claiborne" Intro

"Hey, Joe Bob Briggs here, and Wham Bam Thank You ProGRAMming Department, we do have a decent movie tonight. The great Stephen King-Taylor Hackford flick Dolores Claiborne, and then later on tonight it's back to our normal crapola . . . I mean, we have an excellent second feature called "The Kiss." With the yummy Joanna Pacula.

All right, I have an experiment I want you to try. Ask a really fat person if he wants some food. He will NEVER say yes. He probly won't say anything. He might even start shaking, hemming, hawing and hesitating, and then he'll blurt out something like, "Are you having something?" He wants it to be YOUR decision.

Hasn't there ever been a fat person, somewhere, sometime, in the whole history of the world, who just says, "Hell YES I wanna eat. Shovel some of that lasagna straight down my gullet right NOW!" Instead you get these little titters and grins and stammers, like: "Gee whiz, are you talking about food? I've never heard of that." It's one of those things that people automatically lie about.

I'll give you another example of automatic lying: beautiful women. If you say to a beautiful woman, "You're beautiful," she'll smile or giggle or deflect the comment, and usually say something like, "Well, I'm just glad that YOU think so." Sometimes they'll say: "Oh, I don't think so. My nose is crooked." Like they wanna have a DEBATE about it. Beautiful women have to know they're beautiful, right? In this country, in the 1990s, beautiful women are constantly TOLD how beautiful they are, so they KNOW IT, right? I wonder what would happen if you just said: "You know, now that you mention your nose, I can see it IS crooked. So you're NOT beautiful after all. I take it all back."

Another thing people lie about is whether they're sleeping or not. They answer the phone with a groggy, drugged voice, and so you say, "Did I wake you?" "NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!" And you say, "You sound like I woke you." "No, I was just reading." "Reading?" And they say, "I was reading. Catching up on a little work." "Must of been some really BORING reading. I'll call back." And they go, "No, really. I'm wide awake." All they have to say is, "Yeah, you woke me up, but I don't give a flip." But they would rather LIE ABOUT IT.

But the WORST thing is when people coerce YOU to lie. They KNOW they're making you lie. They WANT you to lie. They FORCE you to lie. They say things like: "Honey, do you think my butt's too big?" (True answer: YES, YOU LARD-O.) Or, "Would you feel better if we just didn't talk about it at all?" (True answer: I'D DO ANYTHING TO GET YOU TO STOP NAGGING ME.) Or, "Do you think those Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are attractive? Don't you think their outfits are kind of trashy?" Or, "If you don't want to see me again, that's all right, you can just say so, I won't care." You people STOP it, you hear me? Stop lying, and more important, stop making ME lie. I do NOT wanna have to tell you again.

And speaking of lying, we're gonna spend the next two hours trying to figure out if that's what Kathy Bates is doin in "Dolores Claiborne." It's the story of a feisty New England woman who may or may not have pushed a couple of mean people to their deaths, and Jennifer Jason Leigh is the twitchy daughter who comes to brood and smoke and drink heavily till she finds out THE TRUTH. Kathy Bates is great in this, so let's do the drive-in totals and get it started. We have:

Two dead bodies.
No breasts, thank God. No, I don't mean that.
Christmas ornament slashing.
Servant biting.
Delinquent hoopla with shotguns.
Parental stimulation.
Drunk and disorderly.

Three and a half stars. Check it out, and we'll be with you all night.

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #1

"Cheese and crackers!" There goes that Kathy Bates, being profane again. This is the second time "cheese and crackers" has turned up in one of our "MonsterVision" movies, ever since TNT issued these new rules against using our Savior's name in vain. Anyhow, Kathy Bates is playing two different ages, about twenty years apart, and I think she does a dang good job. She was actually right in the middle, 47 years old, when "Dolores Claiborne" was made in 94. Most actors play a different age, they put a little powder in their hair and make their voice either really high or really low--like that's how old people talk, right? Like Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands. Kathy Bates not only worked with a dialogue coach to get that special Stephen King New England accent, she also worked with a MOVEMENT coach so there'd be a physical difference between the young Dolores and the older Dolores. Kathy Bates won the Oscar, of course, for "Misery." Stephen King has been very very good to her. Memphis gal, went to SMU here in Dallas, went to New York and did a lot of Off-Broadway, PRIMARILY at Manhattan Theatre Club, I think. Is that right, guys? I'm asking YOU GUYS about Off-Broadway. Okay, back to the flick.

[fading] People used to tell Kathy Bates that she was too heavy to become a movie star. But some guys like a gal with a little meat on her bones. I like a gal with a little meat on her bones. I don't care for the beanpoles. Except for Kate Moss. Remember last year when the big thing in fashion was the Heroin Look? Skinny, pale, glazed eyes--whoa doggie, gimme some of THAT. What is that? Buy a blow-up doll. You know?"

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #2

"Oh, man, that firewood to the back kills me. That is brutal. I was a little thrown to find out that she was telling all that to Jennifer Jason Leigh, but whatever. And that's David Strathairn, doing an excellent job as the evil drunken husband.

This movie was directed by Taylor Hackford. His big claim to fame is "An Officer and a Gentleman," and he directed the classic flick "The Idolmaker." His last one was "The Devil's Advocate," the one with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. It's tough to get a grasp on Taylor Hackford, cause his movies don't really have a theme running through em. A lot of directors are kinda drawn to a certain type of story. Like John Carpenter directs a lot of movies about loner guys. Martin Scorsese tends to do movies about gangsters and conmen. Woody Allen does movies about Woody Allen. But I can't really find a link between Taylor Hackford's films. But he does have a cool name. Taylor Hackford. It's a good one. Okay, go.

[fading] Taylor Hackford's married to Helen Mirren. You guys know who she is? She stars in that Masterpiece Theater show "Prime Suspect." I say Masterpiece Theater, and these guys just shut down. You guys act like I just said "Let's break out that needlepoint and sew!" It's a COP SHOW, okay? Helen Mirren plays a detective. Jeez."

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #3

"The great Christopher Plummer as Detective John Mackey, pulling Kathy Bates' hair out and torturing little girls. We all know him as Captain Von Trapp from "Sound of Music," but the guy adds class to any movie. He played the Klingon commander in Star Trek VII and he's playing Mike Wallace in the new Michael Mann film that's coming out this year. He was the only guy OLD enough. It was between him and Eli Wallach. And that's John C. Reilly as Frank the constable. His great credit is, of course, "Boogie Nights," about the porno industry. Need we go further? I think not. Okay, let's go watch Jennifer Jason Leigh contort her psyche some more. Roll it.

[fading] There was no daughter as an adult in the book. We can talk about the differences between the book and the movie later. Or maybe not. Especially since nobody in the "MonsterVision" audience is familiar with BOOKS."

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #4

"I never DID like Eric Bogosian. Eric as the slimy magazine editor who takes away Jennifer Jason Leigh's big story and causes her to swallow many many mood-elevating pills. Anyway, there's only one performance artist I'M interested in right now, and I can see her out of the corner of my eye, it's the TNT Mail Girl, [enters] bringing us the weekly feature we call "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless." What do you do to stay in such FINE shape, Rusty?

MAIL GIRL: Nothing, really.

Ever go on Dr. Schembeck's Grapefruit Laxative Diet?

MAIL GIRL: No, I take self-defense, though.

That's great. A little kung fu?

MAIL GIRL: Tae kwan do.

Excellent. Because there are a lot of slimeballs out there who would try to put their hands on you.

MAIL GIRL: Well, now I don't have to worry about it.

I would never do that. As much as I THINK about putting my hands on you, I would never actually do it.

MAIL GIRL: I'm glad to hear that.

Especially now that I know you could kick the crap out of me.

MAIL GIRL: Why don' we read this e-mail from Jennifer Barila of Midlothian, Virginia.

Midlothian. Wow.

"Dear Joe Bob,

"My name is Jennifer and ever since I started watching you, I fell in love with you and your show. I'm obsessed with horror movies and I love your show. I also fantasize about you and me having sex while we eat popcorn and watch 'Night of The Living Dead.' I hope you read my letter on the air."

Read it on the air? I'm gonna recite it to my whole bowling team.

"My favorite part of your show is the drive-in totals. I'm not at all attracted to the 'bumpkin' type, which you are, but you look just like Norm McDonald and he's hot too. I think it's the chauvinist pig side of you that attracts me (I'm into S&M). Call if you're interested.

"P.S. I'm a 36D.

"Thanks for listening,
"Jennifer Barila, Midlothian, Virginia."

A chauvinist bumpkin who looks like Norm McDonald? You think Norm McDonald's hot? S&M in rural Virginia--you could get killed! What if she wanted to play the Ned Beatty "Squeal Like a Pig" game?

MAIL GIRL: What's that?

It's where they tie you nekkid to a tree and . . . never MIND what that is. I'm the bumpkin version of Norm McDonald.

MAIL GIRL: Yeah, but I'll bet Norm can't squeal like a pig.

It's a good thing you have professional karate training.

MAIL GIRL: Tae kwon do.

Tae kwon do. Why did you bring me this?

MAIL GIRL: It's my job.

Thank you very much. I've never been so insulted in my life. [puts letter in pocket] I gotta rewatch "Deliverance."

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #5

"Little slow on the uptake puttin that rolling pin down, don't you think? [demonstrates] This WOULD tend to incriminate you, wouldn't it? Especially when you're STARING at the mailman. I think there's probly at least one moment in every movie where the screenwriter goes, "The mailman was supposed to enter without her HEARING him, dang it." I was watching something the other night where the girl says to the guy, "If you don't do what I tell you, I'll nail your scrotum to that beam up there." And then they show the beam, and it's made of steel. And you know the screenwriter is goin, "It was supposed to be a WOOD beam, you morons!"

Okay, speaking of writers, I thought I'd just fill you in on some of the ways they deviated from the Stephen King novel here. I always find that kinda interesting. First of all, the book is in the first person--it's Dolores Claiborne telling the story. For the movie, they added the whole thing where the grown daughter comes to help her. Good idea, though, cause this is one of the few movies where that constant flashback-flashforward thing really works. The daughter only appears as a kid in the book, and there are either one or two other of the little yard monsters, I forget exactly. The only other thing I remember is that Steven King goes on FOREVER about bedpan procedures, and they cut that out. Which is too bad, cause when's the last time you saw a good bedpan scene? It's been a while, right? All right, let's get back to "Dolores Claiborne."

[fading] Kids love bedpans. A lot of kids watch this show. A kid's favorite word is "butt." That's a big laugh in kiddom. The highlight of this movie is when Kathy Bates says, "Now you listen to me, Mr. Grand High Poobah of Upper Butt Crack." Major Academy Award line in elementary school circles everywhere."

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #6

"Another killer scene, the one at the bank. Stephen King, the feminist. How evil can we MAKE this guy? Isn't there a rule in Aristotle's Poetics or something that says you can't make the guy just totally scuzzy and demonic or else it's not believable? He stole all his daughter's money so he could PARTY with her. And that girl playing the young Selena is amazing--she's developing all those Jennifer Jason Leigh quirks. Her name is Ellen Muth; she's only done one movie after this one. She spent time with Jennifer Jason to pick up on mannerisms, even though, obviously, they don't have any scenes together. Jennifer Jason Leigh in real life is the daughter of Vic Morrow, who WAS, in fact, an alcoholic, so isn't that I-ronic? Okay, back to the flick.

[fading] I loved Vic. I wouldn't wanna drink with Vic, though. Vic had that look in his eye. He was one of those "I'll tell ya one goldurn thing" drinkers. You know the guy at the bar who always says "I'll tell ya one goldurn thing"? And then he never tells you one goldurn thing? That's just my impression of the Vickster."

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #7

"That's English character actress Judy Parfitt as Vera Donovan. This was her first American movie. They did a pretty good job aging her, too. Those yellow teeth are nasty.

We haven't really talked much about Jennifer Jason Leigh, but you guys know all about her, right? We mentioned earlier that she's the daughter of Vic Morrow--but she didn't like him. Changed her last name, that's just how MUCH she didn't like him. Her mom was the screenwriter on Cujo, yet ANOTHER Stephen King adaptation. You know what I think of when I think of Jennifer Jason Leigh? Well, I can't say it on TNT, but guys like it. She learned about it from Phoebe Cates in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." She did it to a sailor in an alleyway in "Last Exit to Brooklyn." She satiated Alec Baldwin in "Miami Blues." She performed it over the phone in "Short Cuts." And in "Single White Female" it was so graphic, it never made it out of the editing room. No wonder she had lockjaw by the time she did the Dorothy Parker movie, you know what I'm saying? Critics thought the way she talked was a CHOICE she made. I don't think so. Okay, we got the great eclipse scene coming up here, so back to the flick.

[fading] "Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto." "An accident can be an unhappy woman's best friend." "It's a depressingly masculine world we live in, Dolores." It's interesting to me that Stephen King, who is a male, seems to hate men. What do you think is going on there? I don't understand the Male Feminist. First of all, how could sex possibly be any fun? I'm gonna talk to that boy next time I see him."

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #8

"What was that thing with the back of her head in the mirror? I don't know what that was supposed to be. I guess that's what happens when you remember that your dad made you feel him up on a ferry boat. Anyhow, that eclipse scene was pretty, wasn't it? They recreated the facade of the house and the whole front yard and shot it inside the Acadian University Hockey Arena in Nova Scotia. That's where they were shooting the movie. It's not like they went, "Hey, you know what would be easier than building this on a Hollywood soundstage? Let's go to Nova Scotia and find a hockey rink!" By the way, Acadia is where the Cajuns in Louisiana came from. Their pet alligators kept dying up there, so they moved down to southern Louisiana. Okay, back to the flick.

[fading] It was also impossible to grow okra in Nova Scotia, and instead of crawfish etouffee, they had salmon etouffee and poured a lot of Heinz 57 steak sauce on it. Little Cajun history for ya. I'll be Emeril doesn't even know that. Okay, we're cranking it up a notch! Kathy Bates! Bam! Down the shaft! Bam! Dead husband!"

"Dolores Claiborne" Commercial Break #9

"Brilliant speech by Jennifer Jason Leigh, the magazine reporter who's suddenly a LITIGATOR. And Kathy Bates just kinda has to sit there for twenty minutes while Jennifer Jason saves her butt. It's a rare article of the Maine Constitution that says, if your mother is accused of murder, you can cross-examine all witnesses and totally dominate the weenie judge at the inquest. And then you can just walk out of the courtroom with her, no matter what anybody else says. I think Maine has had that since colonial times. All right, I don't wanna drag this out all night, so let's go to the touching conclusion of "Dolores Claiborne."

[fading] I think women like Kathy Bates more than men. Guys don't sit around going "Man, would I like to GET ME some of THAT! Whoooooeeeee! Hang on tight!" Just doesn't happen. In fact, if your girlfriend says "Hey, let's go to the new Kathy Bates movie!" it's like, "You know what? I forgot, I have to clean my closet. Sorry." Not a real Marquee Babe."

Host segments continue tonight with The Kiss (of a werewolf)

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