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Love crappy movies but are too ashamed to admit it? Are you a big Rob Schneider fan but you're tired of being burned? Not sure if you want to waste your money on the same old movie? That's why you have Joe.

Joe Loves Crappy Movies is by Joseph Dunn. Joe willingly goes to see the very worst that Hollywood has to offer. Whenever a crappy movie comes out Joe will be there to see it, make fun of it, and actually review it. Nothing is safe, and nothing is sacred. From the big budget action disasters to the low brow fart based comedies, to anything starring Martin Lawrence? Joe will tear it apart.

With each entry you'll get not only a comic poking fun at the movie, but also a detailed review. Joe's not educated in film or cinematography or acting, he's just a guy that draws comics and likes movies. So if you're looking for the everyman perspective and a little joke in comic form... you're in the right place.

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A Scanner Darkly

Released: 07/7/06

Viewed: 1:35pm 07/11/06

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, Rory Cochrane

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Warner Brothers Official Site of the movie

Some of our most talented older and wiser bad boys combine with Sci-Fi’s most prolific mastermind and a new spin on a classic animation technique to make an exciting and slick cautionary tale. A Scanner Darkly, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick is a story about drugs, paranoia, and deception. We follow an undercover cop who has gotten way to deep into the scene, and as cliché as that may sound the story presents enough ideas and originality to keep you on board.

This undercover narc, Bob Arctor, has anonymity within the drug world and the police force, creating sort of a schizophrenic dual life that sets up a whole new series of problems. When your boss doesn’t know who you really are, how much can you get away with? Then the drugs start messing with his head, he loses his grip on reality and all hell breaks loose.

Its message is deep and clever but may not be for the casual viewer. Just know what you’re getting into with this film. It’s not a safe acid trip. Their constant and endless paranoid discussion is funny to a point but not everyone will be up for three stoners talking for five-minutes about the inner workings of an eighteen speed bicycle.

The film was adapted to the screen and directed by Richard Linklater, probably best known for the classic coming of age film Dazed and Confused and his commercial “sell-out” School of Rock. It gets the sell-out label often enough but I like it well enough. It’s great to see how well Linklater has matured over the years. I think his instincts for story and pacing have really come into their own and his sophistication as a storyteller are getting the treatment they deserve on this larger scale.

My one true criticism is that I would have liked the ending to be sharper. The big reveals are handled with no drama. They’re simply laid out to the audience. I think the finale would have had a lot more power had they combined the last two scenes with a monologue montage set to some ironic Pixies tune or something. The ending works but it could have been the sort of closing that affected its viewers and stayed with them for quite some time. That’s partially true because of the power of the story, but it could have been reinforced.

With drugs as its theme and the presentation being a very adult yet child tempting “cartoon”, A Scanner Darkly will certainly raise a few eyebrows and ruffle a few feathers. I wonder how many finger-pointers will be able to look beyond the novelty of it all to see the true message. It’s certainly, but not aggressively, an anti drug film even though its most interesting and engaging characters are all madly addicted low-life scum. All of them are either funny or cool but not to a point where I could see them being idolized or glorified. Certainly not for their drug use or reaction to drugs. I thought Keanu had cool hair, but that was the end of it.

For the record though his patchwork beard, even in animation form, is hysterical. But they are still great characters. The standouts are the sidekicks. I love Reeves but he blends into the background whenever his cohorts come on screen.

Robert Downey Jr. has the best dialogue. He’s given the best lines and as the disturbingly paranoid, pseudo intellectual Barris he delivers these lines with a true, unwarranted sincerity and passion. It’s amazing to watch. I’ve always liked Downey and have enjoyed his recent comeback after his own personal battle with drugs, but I forgot how talented he really is. He steals the show.

Rory Cochrane has the best reactions. As Freck, the most far-gone into the drugs of the group, Cochrane gives an inspired performance filled with jitters and twitches galore. He makes the most of the animated world with his exaggerated jerky movement and wide-eyed breakdowns. So much fun to watch.

The animation over all was a lot of fun. I was worried it would overshadow the story and become more of a distraction than anything else, but was pleased how easy it meshed together. Rotoscoping is a method where the film is shot normally and the animators work their magic over the existing film. It’s a method that was used early on by Disney and the animators of the Superman movie shorts. It’s nothing new, but process used here has a very unique look and feel to it.

They use the animation to push certain aspects of the story like the hallucinations a drugged out mind will often conjure, but the technique isn’t over done or abused. It was nice to see a certain level of restraint with something that is so cool but could potentially blow up in your face.

I do believe the story is strong enough with or without animation, but it’s a lot more fun this way. It makes a sober audience connect with what the stoned are going through, and I’m sure for those that show up to the theatre half-baked, it at least enhances the experience a little. Good luck keeping up with the story though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

A great film that I think most people will really enjoy. I’m hesitant to sing its praises though because it’s not for everybody. There are a lot of nice ideas though and if you’re a fan of any of the talent involved then there’s more than enough to take away from the experience.

DVD Worthy?:

I don’t think so. It’s smart, innovative and interesting, but it meanders into nothingness to often. Perhaps multiple viewings would help me to somehow connect an incomplete conversation about an eighteen speed bike as a metaphor for the larger story, but something tells me that the real point is that the conversation is unnecessary. I get that so I’m not sure I need to relive it. It is certainly worth a rental though. If only for the possibility that they’ll show the process of rotoscoping. I’m dying to see some of the original footage.

Trailer Hitch: The Wicker Man

Dear lord in heaven this movie looks ridiculous. Like a collection of disturbing images with no real meaning, just staged oddities quickly cut in order to freak out the audience. Like Blair Witch 2 (shudder). If that weren’t enough we have the return of the freaky ghost child! Between The Wicker Man(another horror remake), The Omen and Silent Hill 2006 is doing to creepy adolescents what 2005 did to theatrical adaptations of TV shows.

As bad as it looks it does star Nick Cage who I like and has as many hits as misses, so I can’t complain. And when the movies good it’s generally extraordinarily good. For every Windtalkers there’s an Adaptation. Even his movies that barely register on the radar like last falls Lord of War and The Weather Man are entertaining and defiantly worth a viewing. I can’t say I’m getting my hopes up for Wicker Man though. I’m banking on Cage’s other upcoming projects World Trade Center and Ghost Rider to be the ones to pay attention to.

If You liked this movie check out: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Darkly is certainly a drug movie but Fear and Loathing defines what drug movies are all about. It’s vividly disturbing and cool in every aspect, but beyond that its brilliant performances, twisted story, and artful grounded presentation make it so much more than a stoner’s trip. It’s not just an exceptional drug movie; it’s an exceptional movie in and of itself.

Vote incentive:

I’ve let voting slip through my fingers. The lists have become competitive and I’ve been busy with the wedding (see bellow for more details) but after things settle down I’ll get back on track with the incentive images. For now though have a look at the notes I took for A Scanner Darkly. I forgot my notepad so I wrote them on the back of the file folder I use to carry art to work in. I jotted them down while I waited for the tires on my car to be rotated and balanced. It took far too long and I had to pee the entire time. How’s that for “behind the scenes”?

I thought a lot of you would enjoy seeing another part of the process. I don’t always take notes or write them out but it’s often a good way to organize my thoughts and get the best review possible. Anyway, I hope you guys get a kick out of it.

Non Movie Related News

No crazy news today, but I did want to apologies for the lack of updates lately. I’m getting married in 12 days and as that boils to a head life has gotten progressively more and more crazy. This past weekend I was surprised with a bachelor party complete with a limo ride to Atlantic City. How bad ass is that? The weekend before Phil and I were putting together finishing touches on a Matriculated comic so we could have it ready in time for Wizard world Chicago. My life has been filled with little moments like that surrounded by planning for the big event itself and keeping up with the comics.

My other Digital Pimp strips Matriculated and Free Lunch are easy because you do them and they’re done. Boom – they’re up and a dozen people have read them before your head hits the pillow. Joe Loves Crappy Movies is slightly more complicated. The comics themselves are time consuming but easy enough to crank out. I’ve got the ones for Click, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Little Man and even the comic that was supposed to update yesterday - 10 on the 10th Joe’s Top 10 Animated Films Featuring: Transformers completed and waiting on deck. There are even another four or so in different stages. But the reviews I never want to rush, and finding time to even watch the movies has become difficult in the past few weeks.

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven’t abandoned the strip or anything. Even though I should have after all the crap people have been giving me over giving Superman Returns a “low” rating of 8. 8 is good people! Relax! After the wedding craziness is over I’ll be playing a huge game of catch up but the comics and reviews will come. I just hope you keep coming back. These comics are the second most important thing in the world to me, but right now, the first most important thing needs me to make sure our wedding runs smoothly. I hope you guys can understand.

See you soon.

Live Journal/Myspace/Rotten Tomatoes/Buzz Comix/Top Web Comics/Comics on the Ipod/The Webcomics List/Online Comics/Wikipedia/Comixpedia/JLCM Map!

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Joe – The creator of the strip who has embraced giving crappy movies the chance they deserve. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.

First Appearance - The Introduction

Yeo – Yeo is Joe’s wife and often the voice of reason in the strip. Having her act rational allows the rest of the cast to embrace being in a comic strip which primarily involves randomly punching people, interacting with fictional characters and talking about boobs. Yeo is smart, beautiful and way too good for Joe. Don’t tip her off.

First Appearance - Fever Pitch

Irv – Joe’s movie-going sidekick who’s always down for watching Jason Statham crescent moon kick some thug through a plate glass window and getting some drinks before after and during a Vin Diesel movie. Like the majority of the cast he’s obsessed with boobs.

First Appearance - Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Agent 337 George Jones – A government Agent that took over for Joe after he was bad-mouthing President Bush in the V for Vendetta strip. George ran the show for over a month bring a much needed sense of patriotism and justice to both the strips and reviews. He eventually got too attached to his work, empathizing with Joe’s plight to give crappy movies a fair shake. In a way he came to love crappy movies as well and was pushed out of the position. He spiraled out of control and ended up in prison. His adventures will be told in the limited series JLCM Presents: 337 Locked Up which is set to début Christmas of 09.

First Appearance - V for Vendetta

Other Notable Appearances: Stay Alive, Ice age 2, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Slither, Here Comes Guest week, Let’s Go To Prison

Leonidas – The former king of Sparta who has traveled into the future and is having trouble coping with the modern times. Yelling loudly and kicking people into giant holes doesn’t really work the same way it did in the olden days. As time as gone by he’s adjusted but it’s a safe bet that he’s always one bad message away from throwing a spear through someone.

First Appearance - 300

Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Strip# 300, The Golden Compass, Rambo, Untraceable, The Ladies of Max Paybe

Palpatine – Former Senator, Emperor of the Galactic Empire, Sith Lord... He shows up in the Joe Loves Crappy movies galaxy on occasion to let people know that they’re being stupid. No one’s really sure how he shows up in this universe but chances are it breaks all kinds of copywrite laws.

First Appearance - Episode III: The Dark Side

Other Notable Appearances: Four Brothers, Night Watch, Saw 3, Are We Done Yet

Slow Billy – Billy is a sweet kid but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. If you’re watching him for the day be prepared to explain to him the plot of the movie or how popcorn works or, not so much where babies come from, but what babies are. He’s a complete moron.

First Appearance - Four Brothers

Other Notable Appearances: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Da Vinci Code, Vantage Point, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Kyle the Movie Snob – Be careful what fun facts about movies you tell your friends at a friendly gathering or in line for the latest blockbuster, because if you’re even slightly wrong, Kyle will be more than happy to let you know. He usually gets what’s coming to him though. Poor guy has cracked three ribs since joining the JLCM cast.

First Appearance - Ultraviolet

Other Notable Appearances: 16 Blocks, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers, Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jean-Luc Picard – Another lawsuit waiting to happen is Jean Luc Picard who, towards the end of the strip’s first year, became the go-to background character. If there was ever a seat to fill or a random person to place wandering around in the background, nine times out of ten it was Picard. While Picard has crossed paths with Irv he and Joe have never met. Perhaps they will some day but for now just can an eye on the background.

First Appearance - The Producers

Other Notable Appearances: I’m not telling you, that’s no fun. It’ like Where’s Waldo – go find him!

Ice Cream Sandwich – Delicious and… deadly? Usually when you see someone eating an Ice Cream sandwich, someone else is experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Still, how nice is an ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day?

First Appearance - Saw IV

Other Notable Appearances: Bee Movie, Run Fatboy Run, Saw V

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