Can it be true? Do we actually get two Larry Cohen flicks in one season? Two dangerous underground substances? Two government cover-ups? Two gratuitous fashion model sub-plots? Two Michael Moriartys (Moriarties?). It’s the double-twist comic strip satirical surrealism we’ve come to love from the man who always does things the drive-in way. Episode 15 of The Last Drive-In was also chock-full of 80s staples – gratuitously sprinkled references to Liberals and Commies, a dollop of misogyny/sexist piglet-ness, and an era-appropriate reference to boinking over aardvarking. Because we all know The Big Man avoids anachronism on n-every show.
“I don’t know anybody who’s favorite movie is The Stuff” – Joe Bob Briggs
Immediately crawling from the woodwork? Tens of people whose favorite movie is The Stuff – which features a plot so messy it’ll take a Kimberly-Clark man-sized Kleenex to clean it up. Speakin of “It’ll take a…” roll that plot summ’ry:
“Michael Moriarty stars as a conniving industrial saboteur in the sensitive story of a gooey white substance that resembles yogurt, ice cream, whipped cream and mayonnaise that gurgles up out of the surface of the earth and gets packed into tanker trucks so it can be distributed around the country to fast-food outlets and marketed through elaborate television commercials as the ultimate addictive dessert. But unfortunately it makes your eyeballs explode and it makes your face fall off. It’ll take a hot babe from the modeling industry and an 11-year old boy to join forces with a chocolate chip tycoon and a rogue militia from Georgia to save mankind? Of course they can, but only if several thousand people get blobbed to death first. And come to think of it, The Stuff is a lot like The Blob except with no Michael Landon.” – Joe Bob Briggs
All this plus even deeper drive-in cuts than usual: Robert Goulet’s film role as a Nazi sympathizer, an impromptu TV theme song karaoke from Larry Cohen’s Chuck Connors’ Western Branded, and the even lesser lesser-known-works of Garrett Morris (a/k/a Chocolate Chip Charlie a/k/a The Stuff’s Chekhov’s gun) – proving once again that only Joe Bob can pull off triple-obscure-multi-generational pop culture references with a twist and still stick the landing.
29 Dead Bodies | 2 Fistfights | 1 Motor Vehicle Crash | 1 Brawl | 1 Rabid Junkie Dog | Ground-Seepage Goo Tasting | Exploding Heads | Exploding Bodies | Exploding Bodies | Multiple Exploding Buildings | Exploding Garrett Morris | Goo Burning | Yellow-Suited Industrial Worker Sliced in Half by an 18-Wheeler | Organized Child Abuse | Bureaucrat Devoured by a Canine | Flaming Motel Room | Food Tossing | 1 Sucker Punch | Infexted Attack Bed | Gratuitous Bikini Models | Kung Fu | Shaving Cream Fu | Michael Moriarty | Andrea Marcovicci | Scott Bloom| Paul Sorvino | Garrett Morris | Larry Cohen | Gratuitous Blogger Faux Fu: Clara Peller and Abe Vigoda
2 1/2 Stars – Joe Bob Says Check It Out
And while we’re at it, how about a Drive-In Academy Award for the ever-transmogrifying Stuff? It’s Blob Stuff, Bubbly Stuff, Pooling Stuff, Kinda-Crunchy Stuff, White Cliffs (of Midland) Stuff. And it can form a beeline straight enough to pass any Georgia State Trooper’s field sobriety test. IMHO, there’s only one misstep in this slice of 2 1/2 star heaven: That one Stuff factory worker with the Canadian accent. C’mon. Canadians are way too nice to get the world addicted to The Stuff.
“You’re not on The Stuff, are ya?”
No, but we are on the Michael Moriarty. Cohen’s philosopher king plays Mo Rutherford, the industrial-spy-turned-hero with the Ross Perot drawl that will help you stay in business. He spends the movie meetin all the sweaty palms and sayin things like “I don’t have to eat The Stuff do I? I’d really like to leave that to The Stuffies.” Sporting enough carb face and barbershop bangs to make you think, “Wow, I never knew Micheal Moriarty looked like Larry Drake,” he’s a broad-shouldered Howdy Doody in a power suit, an outsider and an anti-hero – and according to Joe Bob, the kind of guy you don’t wanna grab a beer with. This Gratuitous Blogger disagrees. If it were up to me, you’d be treated to another Horseback Riding Interlude, this one starring Michael M. instead of George C.
The other stars of this film are the piercing peepers of Scott and Brian Bloom, serving the kind of black-hair/ice-blue-eye combo that says, “If this B-movie thing doesn’t work out, I’m open to erotic thrillers in my later career.” Jokes aside, Scott Bloom is awesome in The Stuff. His character Jason gives zero fucks. In shades of Society, he’s threatened with excommunication for not cleaning his plate, (“You stay in your room until you finish that. And then you can become a part of the family again.”). Jason don’t care. Long before adults were talking back to Prozac and kids were talking back to Ritalin (has that actually happened?), Jason was talking back to The Stuff.
Dialogue Only Cohen Could Deliver, Plot Points Everyone Has
Here’s just a sampling of Stuff quotes before we explain that headline:
- “Soon the hunger of the world will be a thing of the past.” Because we’re not already sustained by food that comes up from the ground.
- “We don’t get tired now that we’ve been eating properly” (followed by two fingers of faux Stuff stuck straight down the Pie Hole)
- “You sold them that white shit. Why can’t you help sell em me?!?!”
- Self-help: “What if what you don’t like is insiiiide you. How you gonna shoot it?”
- And one of Joe Bob’s favorites: “No one is as dumb as ahh appear to be.”
These are our guideposts on the road of commercialism and corruption, and Larry is our favorite soothsayer. Well before products were commonly co-located (those nasty Chi-Chi’s burritos in the restaurant and your grocer’s freezer), Cohen captured it in The Stuff while warning us via an exploding McDonald’s that Pink Slime and The Stuff are more closely related than we might think. Thanks for the warning Larry, but it was the 80s: even if we’d known, we wouldn’t have cared. Despite all this, Joe Bob still considers The Stuff one of the maestro’s missteps – pointing out similarities to A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Blob, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Invaders from Mars, and Soylent Green on his way to asking “What does this movie not borrow from??!?” Perfect segue way…
Halloween III Hijack
If you don’t like what’s next, just remember: Joe Bob started it. While alerting us to Darcy’s inevitable Twitter suspension, Mr. Grapevine said this:
Some of us mutants happen to love Halloween III. In fact, we couldn’t help but notice that The Stuff might just borrow from Tommy Lee Wallace’s oevre too (fancy French talk for work of art). They’ve both got:
- Factory investigatin
- Stay at nearby hotel whilst factory investigatin
- Discovery of shady processing practices during said factory investigatin’ and…
- Use of broadcast media to warn brain-washed unsuspecting public
Because after all, Col. Spears owns not one but two radio stations in Atlanta.
This highly addictive blog was brought to you by The Taste – just like The Stuff but with more calories and twice the existential conundrums.
Last Call: Darcy’s Revenge
You know who else loves Halloween III? DARCY – whose sensual manner of eating could convert just about any carnivore to noodles and broccoli. Besides being just plain distractin on this week’s episode, Darcy delivers perhaps her greatest set and match yet: Letting Joe Bob yammer on with Stuff clinging to his upper lip.
Weekly Mail: James Robert of Riverside, CA and Johnathan O’Donnell of Fort Greely, AK
Next Up: A little Joe Bob Wellness Regimen to counteract the Street Trash…