A couple of years ago I began to consider getting a Shudder account. Shudder is a streaming service whose primary focus is the horror genre providing countless iconic flicks as well as original content. Several of my friends made the recommendation for Shudder as they all said the same thing, “You’re going to love Joe Bob!” They were right. My favorite show on Shudder is called The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. The Last Drive-In shows a double feature of B-Movies like The Re-animator, Frankenhooker, and even Mandy. In lieu of a commercial break, we are graced by our lovable redneck host, Joe Bob as he provides hilarious and informative commentary about these films. Joe Bob is joined by his lovely cos-playing co-host Darcy the Mail Girl whose passion for horror movies matches Joe Bob’s. The show airs on Friday nights and my wife and I rarely missed an episode during the height of the pandemic as we would sip beers, eat popcorn and laugh ourselves into tears at Joe Bob and Darcy’s banter. I even found myself texting with friends across the country who were doing the same thing. The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs is a national treasure and his in-person one-man show, “How the Rednecks saved Hollywood” is an ecstatically funny and inspiring presentation on the presence and relevance of rednecks in film.
How the Rednecks saved Hollywood found its home in Nashville at the Full Moon Cineplex which is a unique theater that shows the type of movies that I show at my movie nights while offering dinner options and a bar. This is a place that I’ve wanted to check out for a long time and now that I’ve made the trek for Joe Bob I plan on going back as I’m seeing the lineup for the next month includes Big Trouble in Little China, Blade Runner and Friday the 13th pt. 5. I’m hoping they do a Texas Chainsaw Massacre pt. 2 showing with a chili cookoff for a dinner option at some point. The pre-show vibe is set as a series of music videos play on the big screen including a live performance from Silver Dollar City and a bluegrass cover of ACDC’s Thunderstruck which kind of sounded like the Kentucky version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As I looked around the room I saw a lot of dudes that looked like they could be related to me. This is definitely a place where I belong.
It seems like I can’t get enough of ole Joe Bob as I have found myself in a rabbit hole of curiosities concerning his body of work over the last 4 decades. Joe Bob Briggs is a persona invented by John Bloom who is a notable film critic, satirist and writer whose works have appeared in National Lampoon, Playboy, The Village Voice and Interview. He’s also written several books including one that was co-written with Jim Alkinson titled “Evidence of Love: The Candy Montgomery Story” which was adapted into the television film, “A killing in a small town” as well as an upcoming HBO MAX miniseries titled “Love and Death.”
Joe Bob opens the show with a trigger warning as he explains that he’s spent years getting in trouble for offending older people and yet now that he’s an older gentleman he’s catching trouble for offending the younger people. He goes on to explain the origin of rednecks and their Scots Irish heritage and beginnings in the Cumberland Presbetarian Church. I’ve always made a conscious effort to forge my identity as far from that of a redneck as possible but I could almost hear my father’s voice explaining my family’s Scots Irish roots to me as the speech went on. Joe Bob talks about the ancient city of rednecks being Carlisle in Cumbria, England. I was quite horrified as my Mom and Dad’s hometown is Carlyle, Illinois. Less than 5 minutes later in this lecture he goes on to reference a movie titled “The Duke of Paducah” (I was born in Paducah, KY) and this horrific revelation hit me that I just might be a redneck. My eyes scanned the room to see more chubby dudes with red beards and black t-shirts, each one of them drinking tall cans of session IPA as they listened intently to the secular evangelism of Joe Bob. Joe Bob preached a message of hope for a better film industry presence in Nashville and disgust for the Corsair distillery’s use of quinoa in their whiskey. “He’s right!” echoed through my mind with each antidote the man delivered.
This one man show is the type of entertainment that leaves you thinking about things and I’ve been on a bit of a high from it all week. There were points in the show where I almost had to put my head down from laughing so hard as to not disturb the folks around me. Joe Bob covers it all when it comes to redneck films. We are made aware of movies like Lil Abner which is the first movie based on a comic strip which led to the super hero movie. There’s talk about David Carradine and Chuck Norris who are rednecks who know Kung Fu. We are given a detailed journey of “Hixploitation” flicks like Country Cuzzins and Nashville Girl. Joe Bob covers it all from Redneck heros like Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood to redneck villains like Leatherface and the infinity of rednecks looking to harm unfortunate travelers from out of state. One of my favorite moments of the night was when Joe Bob points out that there are 2 types of movies before showing a clip from Forrest Gump and expresses his distaste for that movie while following it with a clip that he prefers from Sling Blade where Billy Bob Thorton explains his violent actions. I find myself once again on team Joe Bob.
Regardless of your opinions on rednecks, you have probably been entertained by them in one facet or another. It’s hard to believe that a bunch of them saved Hollywood but it’s also hard to believe that they could fix your car if you really think about it. I know who my mechanic is. The new season of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs premieres on April 29th on Shudder.