Film Review: Casino (1995)

Release Date: April 3rd, 1995 (New York City premiere)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese
Based on: Casino: Love and Honor In Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi
Music by: various
Cast: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Kevin Pollak, James Woods, Alan King, L. Q. Jones, Dick Smothers, Frank Vincent, John Bloom (Joe Bob Briggs), Richard Riehle, Frankie Avalon

Syalis DA, Legende Enterprises, Universal Pictures, 178 Minutes

Review:

“Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way, and the way that I do it. You understand?” – Ace Rothstein

Casino was the longest of Martin Scorsese’s films until The Wolf of Wall Street came out nearly two decades later. More recently, The Irishman came out and took the title. Truthfully, this picture could’ve actually been shorter by about a half hour but it’s still pretty damn good.

I do like this movie but my review may still come off as overly critical or as if I don’t like it. Reason being, it’s far from my favorite Scorsese flick and I feel like it’s trying to be too much like the far superior Goodfellas and because of that, it’s hard not to compare it to its superior, more interesting and energetic, predecessor.

To start, the acting in this is superb from top-to-bottom. I’d say that this also features Sharon Stone’s greatest performance even if her character was completely unlikable. By the end of the film, however, you actually feel for her character and her dark fate. That’s honestly got to be a testament to how great she was in this and how Scorsese really maximized her talent in a way that few directors have.

Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were also fabulous but this is also really familiar territory for them and they already had tremendous chemistry, by this point, as they had starred alongside each other in several films before this one.

Other standouts were Frank Vincent and John Bloom, who is known by most people as the legendary and charismatic Joe Bob Briggs. Both these guys shined in this and in regards to Bloom, I had always wished he’d been in more films, as he proves in this that he can act pretty well in the right situation.

The narrative structure is almost too much like Goodfellas, though, and I find it kind of distracting, as it continually makes me think of that film and if Scorsese is just relying on what seems to be a trope that worked exceptionally well for him half a decade earlier. At the same time, I’ve never been a fan of multiple narrators, specifically when some of the characters are dead. That’s my problem, though, and I know that it doesn’t bother most people.

Back to one of my earlier points, this could’ve been better overall with about a half hour edited out. There are sometimes too many details and side plots, as this wedges in several characters that kind of don’t matter when you boil this story down to its core elements.

Also, the film does drag on in some parts and I feel like it would’ve been a much stiffer punch in less time with just the truly important parts left in. This also would’ve given the film more energy.

Casino is still a film Scorsese should definitely be proud of, as well as all the actors featured in it. I like the story, most of the characters and thought that it was a worthwhile way to spend three hours.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other Martin Scorsese crime films, as well as those by Brian De Palma and Michael Mann’s Heat, also from 1995.

Documentary Review: In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic ’80s Horror (2019)

Release Date: October 6th, 2019 (Beyond Fest premiere)
Directed by: David A. Weiner
Written by: David A. Weiner
Music by: Weary Pines
Cast: Tom Atkins, Doug Bradley, Joe Bob Briggs, Diana Prince, John Carpenter, Larry Cohen, Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Sean S. Cunningham, Joe Dante, Keith David, Stuart Gordon, Kane Hodder, Tom Holland, Lloyd Kaufman, Heather Langenkamp, Kelli Maroney, Bill Moseley, Greg Nicotero, Cassandra Peterson, Caroline Williams, Alex Winter, Brian Yuzna, various

CreatorVC, 264 Minutes

Review:

I was anticipating this documentary for a long time. So once it ended up on Shudder, I had to check it out. But holy shit!… I wasn’t expecting this thing to be four and a half f’n hours! Not that I’m complaining but I had to make an entire night out of this thing.

Realistically, this probably would’ve worked better as a documentary television series with an episode focused on each year in the decade. They could’ve expanded even further in that format but then this was crowdfunded and not a traditional production.

Still, this was a cool documentary and while it does jump from film-to-film too fast, it covers a lot of ground. Obviously, it can’t feature every horror film from the ’80s, as there were hundreds (if not thousands) but it does hit on most of the important ones.

This goes through the films in order of their release but it also has a few breaks between each year that focuses on other aspects of ’80s horror.

This is mostly talking head interviews with a few dozen different people, spliced together with footage from all the films they’re talking about. It kind of plays like one of those VH1 I Love the ’80s shows but it is a lot less smarmy. Well, for the most part. There is one guy that kept popping up that I wanted to punch because he was oozing with failed comedian smarm.

Overall, though, this was worth the wait. As I’ve said, I wish it could’ve given more on each film but even four and a half hours isn’t enough time to do more than just scratch the surface with the rich history of ’80s horror.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries about ’80s horror and horror franchises.

Film Review: Hogzilla (2014)

Release Date: December 15th, 2014
Directed by: Diane Jacques
Written by: Diane Jacques, Beatrice Moon, Todd M. Webster
Cast: Joe Bob Briggs, William A. Butland, Zachary Dubale, Justin Kane, Joey Malone, Meredith Martin, John Pagnam, Tomey Sellars, Wade White

90 Minutes

Review:

I’ve heard the legend of this film’s existence for far too long. I wasn’t even sure if it was real and if it was, whether or not it was actually completed.

That being said, my only real interest in it was due to the fact that horror host icon Joe Bob Briggs was in it and it was about a giant killer hog. I like giant killer hog movies and there aren’t enough of them and frankly, none of the ones that do exist are all that good.

Well, this one may actually be the worst one I’ve seen. Also, the poster is a lie, as there aren’t a bunch of gun toting hotties in the movie. It’s just a pretty mundane group of normies with no real skills whatsoever. One of them is a Marine, I guess, but you only really know that because he wears camo pants and a very clean t-shirt that says “Marines” on it.

The great Joe Bob is in this and while his scenes are just about the only watchable ones in the film, I guess he’s a ghost or something because he just fades away at the end.

I don’t know, this just sucked. I had hoped it was going to be that type of film that was so shitty it was entertaining and amusing but it was so boring, drab and incompetent that it was a real bore to sit through.

It also sucks as it was filmed in Florida, not too far away from me, and I like killer animal horror from my neck of the woods.

Well, I guess I can claim that I’ve seen it now and that I can verify its existence but it didn’t make me a better person or teach me any worthwhile lessons that I could pass on to someone else’s kids.

Rating: 2.5/10
Pairs well with: other extremely low budget killer animal horror movies.

Ranking All the Movies Shown (Thus Far) on ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’ – UPDATED (After Season 2 & Its Specials)

*Intro originally written after season 1. Total movie count changed though.

Joe Bob Briggs is one of the most important Americans that ever walked God’s green Earth. In fact, he’s probably the greatest Texan that ever lived and that’s a huge state with a lot of history.

So when I heard that Joe Bob was coming back with a new show, I was ecstatic. But if you’re a loyal reader of Talking Pulp (and its original form: Cinespiria) then you already know this.

But it’s already been about a year and Joe Bob, thanks to the wonderful people at Shudder, has provided us with three marathons and a full season of The Last Drive-In.

Also, I have to give a special shout out to Darcy the Mail Girl, who is super fucking cool to the fans and because of this, breaks Twitter every Friday night.

With all that being said, I wanted to rank all 63 films that have been featured on The Last Drive-In (thus far).

These 63 motion pictures are ranked based off of what they were rated in their reviews here on Talking Pulp.

So without further ado, roll that beautiful scream footage!

*Updated on 10/26/2020 after the 2020 Halloween Special.

*Updated again on 12/12/2020 after the 2020 Christmas Special.

*Updated a third time on 2/15/2021 after the 2021 Valentine’s Special.

1. Black Christmas (9.5 out of 10)
2. Phantasm (9 out of 10)
3. Hellraiser (9 out of 10)
4. The Changeling (9 out of 10)
5. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (8.75 out of 10)
6. The Exorcist III (8.75 out of 10)
7. The House of the Devil (8.75 out of 10)
8. Heathers (8.25 out of 10)
9. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (8.25 out of 10)
10. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (8 out of 10)
11. Demons (8 out of 10)
12. Deep Red (8 out of 10)
13. The Love Witch (8 out of 10)
14. Basket Case (8 out of 10)
15. Brain Damage (7.75 out of 10)
16. ReAnimator (7.5 out of 10)
17. Haunt (7.5 out of 10)
18. Chopping Mall (7.5 out of 10)
19. Halloween (7.25 out of 10)
20. Maniac (7.25 out of 10)
21. Society (7.25 out of 10)
22. Sleepaway Camp (7 out of 10)
23. The Stuff (7 out of 10)
24. Blood Rage (7 out of 10)
25. Pieces (7 out of 10)
26. Rabid (7 out of 10)
27. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (6.75 out of 10)
28. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (6.75 out of 10)
29. Silent Night, Deadly Night, Part 2 (6.75 out of 10)
30. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (6.5 out of 10)
31. Tammy & the T-Rex (6.5 out of 10)
32. Dead Heat (6.5 out of 10)
33. The Prowler (6.5 out of 10)
34. Wolf Guy (6.25 out of 10)
35. Q: The Winged Serpent (6.25 out of 10)
36. Victor Crowley (6 out of 10)
37. One Cut of the Dead (6 out of 10)
38. Bloodsucking Freaks (6 out of 10)
39. Deadly Games (6 out of 10)
40. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (6 out of 10)
41. WolfCop (6 out of 10)
42. Deathgasm (5.75 out of 10)
43. Christmas Evil (5.75 out of 10)
44. Sorority Babes In the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (5.75 out of 10)
45. Phantasm IV: Oblivion (5.5 out of 10)
46. Daughters of Darkness (5.5 out of 10)
47. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (5.5 out of 10)
48. Contamination (5.5 out of 10)
49. Slumber Party Massacre II (5.5 out of 10)
50. Troma’s War (5.5 out of 10)
51. Street Trash (5.25 out of 10)
52. The Hills Have Eyes (5.25 out of 10)
53. Phantasm: Ravager (5 out of 10)
54. C.H.U.D. (5 out of 10)
55. Blood Harvest (4.75 out of 10)
56. Hell Comes to Frogtown (4.5 out of 10)
57. The Legend of Boggy Creek (4.5 out of 10)
58. Dead or Alive (4.25 out of 10)
59. Castle Freak (4 out of 10)
60. Demon Wind (4 out of 10)
61. Mayhem (3.5 out of 10)
62. Hack-O-Lantern (3.5 out of 10)
63. Tourist Trap (3 out of 10)
64. Cannibal Holocaust (3 out of 10)
65. Scare Package (3 out of 10)
66. Blood Feast (3 out of 10)
67. Hogzilla (2.5 out of 10)
68. Deadbeat at Dawn (2.5 out of 10)
69. Jack Frost (2.25 out of 10)
70. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (2 out of 10)
71. Madman (2 out of 10)

Ranking All the Movies Shown (Thus Far) on ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’

Joe Bob Briggs is one of the most important Americans that ever walked God’s green Earth. In fact, he’s probably the greatest Texan that ever lived and that’s a huge state with a lot of history.

So when I heard that Joe Bob was coming back with a new show, I was ecstatic. But if you’re a loyal reader of Talking Pulp (and its original form: Cinespiria) then you already know this.

But it’s already been about a year and Joe Bob, thanks to the wonderful people at Shudder, has provided us with three marathons and a full season of The Last Drive-In.

Also, I have to give a special shout out to Darcy the Mail Girl, who is super fucking cool to the fans and because of this, breaks Twitter every Friday night.

With all that being said, I wanted to rank all 39 films that have been featured on The Last Drive-In (thus far).

These 39 motion pictures are ranked based off of what they were rated in their reviews here on Talking Pulp.

So without further ado, roll that beautiful scream footage!

1. Phantasm (9 out of 10)
2. Hellraiser (9 out of 10)
3. The Changeling (9 out of 10)
4. The House of the Devil (8.75 out of 10)
5. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (8.25 out of 10)
6. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (8 out of 10)
7. Demons (8 out of 10)
8. Basket Case (8 out of 10)
9. ReAnimator (7.5 out of 10)
10. Society (7.25 out of 10)
11. Sleepaway Camp (7 out of 10)
12. The Stuff (7 out of 10)
13. Blood Rage (7 out of 10)
14. Pieces (7 out of 10)
15. Rabid (7 out of 10)
16. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (6.75 out of 10)
17. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (6.5 out of 10)
18. The Prowler (6.5 out of 10)
19. Wolf Guy (6.25 out of 10)
20. Q: The Winged Serpent (6.25 out of 10)
21. WolfCop (6 out of 10)
22. Deathgasm (5.75 out of 10)
23. Sorority Babes In the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (5.75 out of 10)
24. Phantasm IV: Oblivion (5.5 out of 10)
25. Daughters of Darkness (5.5 out of 10)
26. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (5.5 out of 10)
27. Contamination (5.5 out of 10)
28. Street Trash (5.25 out of 10)
29. The Hills Have Eyes (5.25 out of 10)
30. Phantasm: Ravager (5 out of 10)
31. C.H.U.D. (5 out of 10)
32. Blood Harvest (4.75 out of 10)
33. The Legend of Boggy Creek (4.5 out of 10)
34. Dead or Alive (4.25 out of 10)
35. Castle Freak (4 out of 10)
36. Demon Wind (4 out of 10)
37. Tourist Trap (3 out of 10)
38. Blood Feast (3 out of 10)
39. Madman (2 out of 10)

TV Review: The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs – Original Marathon (2018)

Original Run: July 13th, 2018 – July 14th, 2018
Directed by: Austin Jennings
Written by: Joe Bob Briggs
Cast: Joe Bob Briggs, Diana Prince

Not the Funeral Home, Shudder, 13 Episodes/Segments, 120 Minutes (roughly) (per episode)

Review:

People that have followed this site back when it was still Cinespiria, know that I have a pretty solid love for Joe Bob Briggs. He is the greatest Texan that ever lived and possibly the greatest American as well. I have been watching this guy since I was in grade school because my parents had no idea what I was doing late at night on the weekends. I could’ve been snorting lines off of a dead ferret for all they knew.

Well, I’ve watched Joe Bob my entire life other than a nearly twenty year gap between the cancellation of Monstervision on TNT and then the birth of this awesome show, which just dropped a few days ago.

Anyway, if you too are a hardcore Joe Bob fan or just loved Drive-In Theater or Monstervision than this thirteen film marathon is exactly your cup of Joe Bob!

This was absolute perfection, Joe Bob didn’t miss a damn beat and it felt exactly like those shows did way back in the day. I stayed up for the entirety of this 26-plus hour marathon, other than dozing off a bit during Rabid and Daughters of Darkness but I pushed on through with a big ass mug of dark roast. I didn’t indulge in bottles of bourbon because that shit would’ve knocked me out. I’m much older than I was when Joe Bob used to be on TV and therefore, I am not as resilient. Had I known they would just end up streaming all these movies as episodes after the marathon, I wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard.

Anyway, what made this so f’n great is that it streamed live on Shudder and therefore, it didn’t have to be censored like the movies when Joe Bob was on TNT. We got titties, gore and no commercials! Just Joe Bob and the movie. And man, it was great hearing him add his commentary once again.

Joe Bob presented thirteen films. In order, those films were Tourist TrapSleepaway CampRabidThe ProwlerSorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-RamaDaughters of DarknessBlood FeastBasket CaseRe-AnimatorDemonsThe Legend of Boggy CreekHellraiser and Pieces. I’ve already reviewed most of these films but for the handful I haven’t reviewed, I will have those posted in the next few weeks.

It just felt really good having Joe Bob back on TV. They’ve basically called this his retirement from hosting movies but this was so huge for Shudder that it crashed the website a few times. I only missed out on the first hour and everything ran smooth after that. But the demand is obviously there and really, this should lead to Joe Bob making a come back on a full-time basis.

I don’t want this to be the end. You can’t bring back Joe Bob and then just take him away after a day. It’s cruel, it’s mean and it’s un-f’n-American!

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: Joe Bob Brigg’s other great shows: Drive-In Theater and Monstervision. Good luck tracking down full episodes of those, however.

Book Review: ‘Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In’ by Joe Bob Briggs

After reading Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In I had to get my hands on its sequel Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In.

This book is essentially more of the same. While the first book covers Joe Bob’s tenure as a movie critic for the Dallas Times Herald, this book follows his stint at the Dallas Observer, following his firing from the Herald. It also leads up to when he left the newspapers behind and went on to host The Movie Channel’s popular series Dirve-In Theater.

This book has tons of great reviews of drive-in and grindhouse classics. This volume spans the mid to late 1980s and even gets into VHS reviews, as changing technologies were causing drive-ins to shutdown across the United States.

Joe Bob writes in his gonzo style, as he did with the previous book. However, there are less personal stories about the colorful characters that populated his first volume. Here, we get more into his social and political views. He also experiments with the format a bit more. Honestly though, I liked his more straight up gonzo style that he used at the Dallas Times Herald, which is featured in the first book.

In any event, this is still a hilarious read and Joe Bob covers a lot of films, many I already knew and some I didn’t. The man had a talent for picking out some really obscure yet interesting pictures during his time as a film reviewer.

If you are a fan of Joe Bob Briggs, these books are great to have. The first one is slightly better but this one is still a great piece of work where Joe Bob pulls no punches and goes for the throat with every article featured in the book.

Rating: 9/10