When are screenwriters going to realize we don't CARE about cartoonists? No one gives a lick about some geekazoid holed up in a dirty apartment scribbling snarky comics that no one would EVER read. (Snarky DVD reviews, maybe.) Yet these fellas keep bobbing to the surface and spouting Gen-X friendly witticisms to the extent you'd think "comic-book dweeb" was now a default character on Crap-A-Script v2.0! Isn't there SOME way we can blame this trend on Kevin Smith? Probably, but it still wouldn't make it any easier to suffer through the less-than-heroic more-like-annoying musings of Pizza Man in Delivered (1998, 93 minutes).
The movie: Pizza delivery guy Will Sherman (David Strickland) buzzes around the rain-slicked streets of Seattle, slinging pies and chirping into his micro-cassette recorder. He says, on tape, things he would never dare say to his customers' faces. Words he plans to use to fill the bubbles of his underground comic, but instead they summon a golem-like killer who acts them out in bloody detail. The pepperoni first hits the fan when Will unknowingly interrupts a murder in progress -- the victim of which didn't get his last intended meal. Realizing he could be identified, the cross-dressing homicidal maniac (Ron Eldard) then stalks Will, but is distracted when he somehow becomes obsessed with the pizza guy's recorded rants. Soon bodies start to fall, and the long finger of Johnny Law points to a bewildered pizza boy, who seems just as desperate to clear his name as he is to win back his ex-girlfriend (Leslie Stefanson). But tragically, in real life, the pressures of dating Hollywood hottie Tiffani-Amber Thiessen were more than Mr. Strickland could bare, and the young actor checked out of this life in a Vegas motel room at the end of a bed-sheet noose. On a lighter note, Norm Macdonald fans know the comedian is far more adept at tape-recorded "Note to self" quips, as he proved in the revenge comedy Dirty Work.
Notables: No breasts. Five corpses. Advanced parallel parking. Boozing. Phony mustache. Gratuitous rave footage. Knife twisting. Throat slashing. Excessive use of rain machines. Trash can to the cranium. Gratuitous Guy-Hanging-From-Ledge scene.
Quotables: Slow-witted pizza guy contemplates his death, "Boy, murder. That'd be the worst." Will sticks it to his former philosophy professor, "With all do respect, sir. Why don't you take your categorical imperative and shove it up your ass!" And later waxes philosophic himself, "You know why people love to see the pizza man? Because no matter how pathetic their feeble lives might be, they can always say, 'At least I don't do THAT for a living!' " While his girlfriend throws the relationship kill switch, "I just need a little space."
Time codes: Proof that cats are evil -- a feline Adolf Hitler look-alike (12:12). The killer indulges in some "me" time (26:16).
Audio/Video: Presented in its original widescreen (2.35:1) format. The print is clean, but lacks sharpness during the films' many dark scenes. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track pipes a steady stream of bland garage-band tunes through the room. But the orchestral themes actually make this seem like a REAL movie.
Extras: Fullframe trailer. Motion-video menus with audio. Cast bios.
Final thought: The best thing about this flick is its wacky cover featuring a wide-eyed Strickland with a slice of pizza crammed into his mouth and the words: "Pizza in 30 minutes or DEATH!" The second best is Eldard's gleeful spin on serial murder, unfortunately the rest of the movie is as flimsy as his fake beard. Rent It.
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.