<center><p> <b><u>REVIEW OF THE WEEK</u><p> by<p> BAO DAI OF HOLLYWOOD</b><p> </center> <left> DATELINE: HOLLYWOOD 15 JULY 2000<p> </left> <center> <b><u><i>ROAD WARRIOR</i></b></u><p> </center>

Yeah, that's right, one of the films, perhaps the film, which put a heavily Aussie accented Mel Gibson, most recently starring in the American Revolutionary War epic Patriot as a farmer cum founding father type, on the map... the one that led him to purchase that ticket to Hollywood, to the homogenization of his accent and utter corruption of fame and fortune that goes with the metamorphosis from B Cult Movie Hero to Movie Star. Shit, he's probably slept in the Lincoln Bedroom, and didn't have to pay or fuck anyone to to it.

In case you missed it, Road Warrior was actually the sequel to Mad Max, the hard to follow (or maybe I wasn't feeling myself when I tried) story of a post nuclear apocalyptic cop trying to find some sort of law, order and justice in bitchin' old American Cars on long deserted stretches of Aussie Highway governed by anarchy and the lust for gasoline. It was also the prequel to Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome an incredibly long and often silly movie which Tina Turner used to jump start a then waning, or possible washed up, carreer.

The truth is Road Warrior is on right now and as I tend to do with all movies I like so much that I actually own on the tape, I could be in watching it interrupted by commercials (how many Neighbors must I watch to prove to myself that $19.99 was poorly spent?). I am not... and not just because I woke up in a fog and cold sweat realizing this column had to get written and that I had no clue about what I'd write (in case you hadn't guessed already), but because, after the first few minutes of the show, I simply couldn't identify with it.

As the movie has stayed the same, forever frozen in time on celluloid or Beta or VHS or DVD, this fact can only be a commentary on my own sad state of affairs vis a vis my relation with the road.

See, due to lack of big buck sponsors or lottery winnings, I've found myself driving exactly 24 miles to work each morning, and returning in the evening. "Twenty-four miles in the Land of Freeways?" you say? "Why that's hardly a 20 minute drive... hardly enough to hear an entire commercial segment for Howard Stern. What's he griping about the little whining snot? Why he should hardly have time to fantasize about roaring around in a gerry rigged muscle car being chased by a band of rag tag gay road pirates like Max, our hero."

Yeah... I wish I'd never looked at the odometer too, because what gets me is that I've realized I'm doing this 24 miles on some of the sweetest freeways this side of the Autobahn at an amazing 20 miles an hour on average -- enough to hear enough of Howard Stern to make one alternate between seeing why people hate his guts to wanting to watch his show on E but realizing it means getting only 5 hours sleep and that REM (the sleep, not the band) is already popping up while I'm wide awake and causing really bizarre and embarrassing flights of truly bizarre thought.

Traffic (the thing, not the old band) might be tolerable if one could ascertain what the hell was holding things up. I've seen such things as a man eating a sandwich by the side of the road cause minor snarls, and last Friday a single overheated car backed up traffic like some giant bowel obstruction, from the beach to Downtown LA. The decision by Cal Trans to work on Freeways in the middle of rush hour also can play a part... but 9 times out of 10 you reach the place where traffic (usually temporarily) unsnarls from a stop and go "glad I got rid of the manual transmission" and you can instantly be back up to 65+ and never see what the fuck the big hold up was all about.

Which gives rebirth, much like an old junky whore turned Jesus Freak, to my long dormant theory that the oil companies, in their insane quest for power and greed actually hire four old ladies in beat up cars with speed governors on them and set them out for all popular destinations at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. (or perhaps random intervals) to drive slowly abreast like deaf and dumb turtleish pace cars. See, this is the only way to explain why 30,000 cars are, at any moment, on any freeway in Southern California, stopped dead in traffic... the motorists roar forth from home/work until they begin backing up behind the old ladies.

It's enough to make one long to be Max... low on fuel with gangs of gay banditos chasing down your Aussie butt for sport along endless, desolate miles. Hey, at least he's moving....