400 Screens, 400 Blows is a weekly column that takes an in-depth look at the films playing below the radar, beneath the top ten, and on 400 screens or less.
Lately I've been dreaming of a TV show I'd like to see. Ever since Roger Ebert hired Richard Roeper to be the permanent replacement on his review show, I've dreamed of something a bit edgier and funnier -- you know, like when Ebert used to fight with Gene Siskel. Now the network suits have made things even worse with the two idiots they have on now (I mean, really! Could they be any worse?). Here's my idea: Joe Bob Briggs and John Waters. That's a show I would pay to see each week!
For the uninitiated, Joe Bob Briggs was the world's first and only "drive-in movie critic." He was nationally syndicated from the early 1980s to the late 1990s and he reviewed horror and trash movies, rating them based on gallons of blood, number of "nekkid breasts" and so forth. (His favorite movie is the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.) John Waters, of course, is the director of such films as Pink Flamingos (1971), Hairspray (1988) and Cry-Baby (1990), but he is a big movie fan and occasionally writes about movies for magazines like ArtForum. (His favorite movie is Joseph Losey's Boom!) To put it mildly, they each have a slightly off-kilter view of movies that generally has nothing to do with hype; they tend to see through the B.S.