Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

New Jack City (1991)

They either become customers, or they become live-in hostages

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 5/3/91
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

Me and Ice-T were hanging out in Cleveland a few months ago . . .
Wait a minute! Do I detect titters in the audience? Are there scoffers here? Do you think I would LIE about something like my personal friendship with such a righteous rapper?
Like I say, me and Ice-T were hanging out in Cleveland, discussing our mutual appreciation of the three B's--Blood, Breasts and Beasts--and then the talk turned to Rap Censorship (they're ROASTING this man), and, to make a long story short, I ended up getting inducted into something called The Syndicate. Actually, it was Ice-T's personal assistant, Sean P. Sean, who inducted me into The Syndicate, because I asked him what I had to do to get a pair of these mean black shades and hats that Ice-T and his people were wearing. So Sean P. Sean invited me to be in The Syndicate, and after I joined--and thereby became eligible to wear the shades--my first question was:
"Okay, what's The Syndicate?"
"It's the L.A. version of Zulu Nation."
"Great. What's Zulu Nation?"
"Zulu Nation was the first organization of rappers who got together to agree to work TOGETHER instead of AGAINST one another."
"By the way, have you noticed I'm white?"
Sean P. Sean thought this was funny and explained to me that, even though I might be the only white guy in The Syndicate, it was not because of discrimination. It was just because it was hard to find qualified white applicants.
"So what do I have to do now that I'm IN The Syndicate?"
"You agree that you'll never turn against another member of The Syndicate."
"This is very heavy."
"No, it just means that if the MEDIA calls you up, and they want you to say something about the PROBLEMS of one of the rappers in The Syndicate, that you'll just say 'I don't know NOTHING.' And they'll do the same for you."
"So like, if some reporter asked Ice-T to talk about one of my ex-wives, Ice-T would say, 'Don't mess with my brother'?"
"You got it. Cause we got too much going against us to be fighting amongst ourselves. Ever since last year."
"Last year?"
"2 Live Crew."
And then we started talking about 2 Live Crew, and some more about Rap Censorship, and how Vanilla Ice blew it, and then I talked to Ice-T some more about this hot new movie he stars in called "New Jack City" (this was before it came out) and how it's the first movie to show what it's really like on the streets, but he was worried about whether his fans would accept him portraying a cop. And then we talked about how great it would be if everybody found out how talented Mario Van Peebles is and a few white people besides me got to see something decent that he made.
And then that was it. A few days later I got my Syndicate baseball cap, my Syndicate shirt, my Syndicate black shades, my secret Syndicate Fax number (in case of emergency), and a list of the Syndicate musical acts that I'll be loyal to for the rest of my life (sorry, the names are a secret).
The last thing Ice-T said to me was, "Joe Bob, you probably wonder sometimes who your audience is."
"It's occurred to me, yes."
"It is US."
And then I went to the movie. Of course, before I could get in to see the movie, I had to go through a metal detector and leave my rosewood-handled nunchucks with stainless-steel chain at the box office. I was a little concerned that they'd get stolen, then I noticed the other 400 weapons that had been checked at the door.
You see, this shakedown thing was a complete overreaction to the fact that, on opening night of "New Jack City," 137 people were killed by sub-machine-gun fire while buying popcorn.
I used my secret Fax number to send Ice-T a message: "Dear Ice, I think we're gonna need some help getting that WHITE audience out for this one."
But then the Warner Brothers publicity department decided they would try to help the movie out, and so they had a press conference to announce they would PAY for any "extra security" that any theater owner requested.
Now THAT's gonna bring the crowds out in droves.
Naw, the whole thing was a joke. What really happened was that the gangs thought "New Jack City" was a gang picture. Listen to Joe Bob on this one:

"New Jack City" is an ANTI-gang picture. And it's an ANTI-drughead picture. Marion Van Peebles can't help it if the gang members are dyslexic and they think it's about what THEY believe in.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Oh, he's just saying that cause he HAS to say it. He's a member of The Syndicate."
Well, yes I am, but I'm also saying it because it's true.
Right after they had the violent stuff around the theaters, the media started tap-dancing on this movie, too, saying, "Well, what do you expect? You put all that VIOLENCE in the movie, and then you expect people to UNDERSTAND that it's anti-violence."
You know the first time this stupid argument was made?
The movie was "Little Caesar," starring Edward G. Robinson. It was the first gangster picture. Even though Little Caesar dies at the end, totally destroyed, his life wasted, there were a bunch of ignorami who said this type of movie shouldn't be made, because of the effect it would have on the unstable criminal element.
In other words, PEOPLE LIKE ME.
And so they're doing that number on this picture, even though it's a more REALISTIC gangster picture than "Scarface" (the Al Pacino version), which didn't get any flack at all.
Ice-T is an undercover New York drug cop trying to bust Wesley Snipes, a two-bit basehead who becomes king of Crack Street and takes over entire apartment buildings with his operation. Ice-T works with Judd Nelson, an Eyetalian cop wearing Syndicate shades, and these two guys locate the scum, spy on the scum, make friends with the scum, double-cross the scum, and try to EXTERMINATE the scum. I say "try to," because it's not like Death Wish. These guys actually try to use the justice system.
And it's not like "Scarface" either. "Scarface" was bloody, but you never really believed that plot could happen. All this stuff is believable.
I'm not kidding. Everybody should see this baby. They even break the modern record for number of gold neck chains in one movie:

Six breasts.
Thirty-eight dead bodies.
Three gun battles.
Knife through the hand.
Brain blasting.
Cold-turkey crack withdrawal.
East River bridge-dangling, with deadly results.
Gratuitous street-corner four-part harmony.
Gratuitous hip hop.
Gratuitous "Say No to Drugs" lecture.
Kung Fu.
Rap Fu.
Plea-bargain Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for
Wesley Snipes, as the whacked-out basehead drug king, for saying "You gotta rob to get rich in the Reagan era"
and, after he gets rich, "Sit your five-dollar ass down before I make change";
Chris Rock, as Pookie the freebasing narc, for saying "They call it the Enterprise Room, man, because it's for people who wanna be beamed up to Scotty";
Judd Nelson (Cabin By The Lake), as the Eyetalian buddy cop, for saying "Is this one of those black things?";
and Mario Van Peebles, for directing this sucker, for doing the street life like it really is, and for coming up with lines like "They either become customers, or they become live-in hostages" and "Yeah, he gonna be hangin with Elvis."
Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.


Communist Alert! Just as soon as we reported the resurrection of the East Drive-In in Aurora, Colo., a neighborhood group attacked the drive-in and got city ordinances passed that may make it hard for Philip Simms and Steve Vannoy to stay in business. Plans to hold dances, concerts, and a weekend antiques market at the drive-in were shelved when Aurora Mayor Paul Tauer told Vannoy, "You could go ahead and move in [with concerts], but you'll wish you hadn't. I can do a lot of things to make it miserable for you. I'll make you wish you never came to Aurora." And so far the mayor and his wife, Kate, are winning. Eric Sonderman of Denver reminds us that, without eternal vigilance, it can 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 "We Are the Weird" newsletter, write P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax line is 214-368-2310.

Hi, Joe,
We are an Italian group of movie aficionados.
So now we send you a movie plot we'd like to develop: this is only the beginning and we'd like suggestions to continue and finish it by your readers.
And now, the movie plot:
The beginning sees a thunder breaking the black sky and silence. At once the scene becomes all red and a rabbit-dressed man appears singing:
I want blood,
I want a sink,
I want just a little
girl to drink
Soon, a ball with 15 eyes shoots the rabbit. This one, shooted, jumps back and stops singing with these words:
I want a grave,
just give me a knife,
that I want to cut it
into little pieces.
The sky opens and the biggest knife in the universe gets down to the rabbit. Although he's hurt he takes suddenly the knife and catches the ball which explodes. Then a group of many little white-painted bouncing men come through this explosion and clean all the scene and go away, showing a country scenario in which we can see a little farm, many green trees, some cow and a big black hole in the center of the scene. All the scene is slowly sucked from the black hole . . .
What will happen now?
Stefano Bonacina & Davide Negrini
Calolziocorte, Italy

Dear Stefano and Davide:
A giant Bunny Man from Neptune appears out of the black hole and spits up midget pigs, whose heads explode.
What else COULD happen?

Dear Joe Bob,
Your caring and sensitive response to Ugly-on-a-Stick's situation is an inspiration to all of us. I would hope you could take Alan Alda to Boulder, Colorado and hang round with him in a Sushi bar and improve his outlook on women's issues. Perhaps he could help carry the message to the limp-wrists who watch him on a regular basis.
Jolen Burton
Golden, Colo.

Dear Jolen:
The last I heard, Alan had gotten so sensitive he was pregnant.

Dear Joe Bob you lyin' dog you,
I'm gettin' pretty darned tired of the locals inferring that you and I are having some sort of affair. I mean, you just pick up the paper or turn on the TV set, and there you are tellin' the world about all this fantasy stuff we've supposedly been doin together. What's the deal?
As far as I recall, we've never been introduced, but I could be wrong. I mean, I have been to Texas once or twice, and I did do a bit of partying there, but--no, I don't think so (were you by any chance in Gilley's in October 1974?).
Anyhow, back to the point. My name is Wanda Bodeen, and I just happen to own a turkey ranch in San Rafael, California, and a friend recently gave me your 900 number, and I just couldn't believe all that stuff you said about me.
And as to you referring to my "winnebagos" and "girlthangs," I just want you to know they ain't no sneezers, bucko. So let's just cut the pie right now. Otherwise, I'll start referring to your "boythang" in some equally endearing terms. Fer instance: apple corer, dangling participle, hungsolo, jingle-jangle, kinky thang, long dong, mammary mesmerizer, na-noo na-noo, oops stick, quick wand, roto rooter, snake in the grass, southside proboscis, tube steak, utility pole, and the infamous wooing wango dango. Fair is fair! So, Joe Bob Briggs, you just "listen up." If you want to make this official, then call me or stop by and introduce yourself like a gentleman. Otherwise, chill out, Hot Stuff, and quit with the fantasies. It's becoming embarrassing when local cab drivers like Cecil Boyd start askin if I'll be busy with you over the weekend (and we're not talkin about meters runnin here either!). Humble up and let me know your reply!
Yours truly,
Wanda Bodeen
San Rafael, Calif.

Dear Wanda:
I'll admit that sometimes I have trouble expressing my true feelings for female turkey farmers. I guess it goes back to that time when I asked Shirley Sturtivant to go out with me, and then I noticed that I was more attracted to her turkeys than to her. You don't forget an experience like that, you know.
You're right, though. I have no reason to expect a woman with her own turkey farm to pay any attention to me.
Can you forgive me?
Do I have any chance to win your affections?
If I made turkey noises, would that help?

Dear Joe Bob,
Below is the advertisement announcing the budding career of a Ms. Mickey Mounds ("Ms. Nude Oklahoma, Cheri Magazine, 55EEE-24-36, 19 Years Old"). Since this ad appears near your column, I was wondering if you were helping promote her career because you had seen her act in some of the first class movies you review. Are you trying to convince her that you are also an agent by giving her free space next to your column in the newspaper?
I think I saw her star in several movies including, "Disneyland Horror," "Godzilla vs. the Amazon Woman" and "Minnie Mounds has Surgery." If you are indeed helping promote her career, maybe you could get her into the finer nightclubs in Dallas and away from the El Paso circuit where it's rumored that donkey shows still draw a crowd. If you could do that much for Ms. Mounds, I am sure that organizations such as NOW and magazines such as Ms. Magazine would give you some kind of award that recognizes your contribution to the advancement of professional women in Texas.
Leanne Billings
El Paso, Tex.

Dear Leanne:
If you are attempting to cast aspersions on Ms. Mickey Mounds' reputation, I'll have you know that she is well known in Oklahoma and considered two of the best things that ever happened to that state.

Dear Joe Bob,
Recently you reviewed Darkman and gave it a four star rating. But when reviewing it you stated that it contained "no naked breasts." About one month ago you stated that no naked breast is an automatic one-star deduction. What gives? We are very confused and we think this deserves your prompt ATTENTION.
Yours truly,
Steve Watson & Garry Berisford
Zanesville, O.

Dear Steve and Garry:
I don't know what got into me.
Frances McDormand never sprang those babies out of the chute, did she?
It's like this. I make a rule that can never be violated, and then I see a movie about the ultimate plastic-surgery horror story, and I just HAVE to make an exception.
Call me unstable, call me unpredictable, call me a guy who sleeps in his underwear--yes, you're right. I lied.

© 1991 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

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