Do you think we like the taste of kale? Come on! We’re fucking dead inside.
As always, Joe Bob is right on time.
Just when I thought I’d explode from a week of power facilitating in corporate America. Just when I hit my Eleventeenth week of Work at Home and became disgruntled – with myself. And just when I too was forced to sign a piece of paper I didn’t want to sign (letting a flaky Buyer out of the contract on my home), The Last Drive-In provided the perfect outlet: the Serbian-made Mayhem and a faux Twitter food fight complete with cinematic Salisbury Steak flingin between Joe Bob and director Joe Lynch that everyone really should have seen comin.
Friday night, Joe Bob revisited three of his favorite topics — the Emmanuelle movies (single L and double L), whether Gabbana left Dolce or Dolce left Gabbana, and psychosexual fever dreams — while dispatching invaluable life advice including:
- Tax tips from Jack Kerouc (take note you COVID-extension filers; you may yet be able to cheat the government for tax year 2019)
- Why generous lesbians make the world a better place
- Why workin the 9-9-6 can kill ya
It all sets up the first drive-in flick of the night, filled with ball bustin, id indulgin and fully clothed aardvarking.
That’s right, we’re talkin about Mayhem, which goes deep, deep, deep into the heart of the office worker. Sure Mike Judge did it in Office Space but did he do it with a virus raging through a 30-story office building causing everyone to lose their inhibitions and start stapling the eyeballs of their coworkers? Joe Bob thinks not.
Let’s roll those totals…
- 24 Dead Bodies
- 4 Breasts
- Face Punching
- Face Stabbing
- Neck Stabbing
- Multiple Lethal Body-Stabbing
- Scissors Through the Hand
- Buzz Saw Through the Stomach
- 1 Heavy Metal Brawl
- 1 Brutal Catfight
- Video Blackmail
- Public Aardvarking
- Multiple Fistfights
- 1 Spitting Match
- Dead Body-Pissing
- Mace to the Mouth
- Broken Bottle to the Neck
- 1 Two-by-Four Beatdown
- 1 Multi-Story Death Plunge
- 1 Two-on-One Torture Session
- Two-by-Four Nailed to the Back of a Skull
- Bonsai-Tree Consumption
- Hard-Drive Hammer Destruction
- Fully-Clothed Aardvarking
- Voiceover Fu
- Security Guard Fu
- SWAT Team Fu
- Golf Club Fu
- Cocaine Fu
- Taser Fu
- Scissors Fu
- Gratuitous Dave Matthews Band Discussion
- Gratuitous SWAT Team Psychologist Negotiator
Mayhem nails the office culture and its passive-aggressive glory for all time. The film’s consistently hilarious script ranges from in your face to subtle to downright goofy, much of it thanks to Samara Weaving, whose comic timing is everything and proves those Weaving genes produced some damn-fine acting chops. (Uncle Hugo was everyone’s favorite Matrix agent and everyone’s favorite drag queen in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
Mayhem’s surreal combination of office cubicles and pornographic violence reminded me of 2008’s Severance Package, the pulpy best-seller whose tagline reads: “Ever want to kill your boss? Well guess what…the feeling is mutual.” When I wasn’t thinking of Duane Swierczynski’s novel, I was thinking of Kill Bill, prompted in no small part by all of those yellow and black visuals. The face-off scene across the cubicle walls was a personal favorite, as was Derek’s artfully blood-soaked face near film’s end that looked like Kabuki makeup.
Mayhem features some of the greatest quips and double entendres in drive-in history:
- Your passcode is 9245 fuckhead.
- You’re too much of a pussy which is why I’m up here and you’re “down there” (ahem)
- Do you think I like the taste of kale? I’m fucking dead inside.
This last line confirms what we’ve all long suspected: the most zen person you know is probably a closet rageaholic.
After a while though, Mayhem’s comedy feels a bit tedious and you can see the undercurrent of wink wink nudge nudge aren’t we making a clever movie. But the third-act entrance of Joe Lynch himself as Ray the IT guy and Derek’s fake-out betrayal of Melanie got me over the finish line. Plus there’s a lesson in the film that has also arrived right on time: Sometimes it takes a deadly virus to set us on the right path again.