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.
The Grudge 2
Viewed: 1:50 pm 10/16/06
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amber Tamblyn, Edison Chen, Arielle Kebbel, Jennifer Beals
Directed by: Takashi Shimizu
Sony Pictures Official Site of the Movie
Amber Tamblyn is a young unsure girl who has to travel to Japan to bring her sister (Sarah Michelle Gellar) home, 3 years after the events that changed her life in The Grudge. In the horrid trailer of its sequel, The Grudge 2, the ad department make the mistake of telling you that Gellar dies, something that would have been effective on so many levels had the audience not been expecting it going in. From here the movie follows three different stories on three different timelines that weave together and take this freaky Asian ghost story franchise to a new level. Forget locking the attic door, because the Grudge is loose.
At first I had no faith in the layered and haphazard storytelling of this film that switched timelines as often as it switched leading casts, but ultimately I was completely smitten with how well it was done. The three stories of Tamblyn’s quest, a group of cursed school girls, and a mysterious apartment building at first have little in common besides the random appearance of the eye-lined ghost kids, but through slow reveals and a tiptoe pacing the filmmakers told a really nice story of mystery and terror.
The crawl of a pace is something that regular readers will note is a technique that normally does not agree with me. There are of course some cases where it works extremely well, and in a movie like this it can do a lot for the overall mood and tone. The waiting sets the stage fore some really frightening stuff to happen. They milk that to death and I fell for it every time.
I’m not the right person to judge The Grudge 2 when it comes to frights though. Reason being because I’m a total punk when it comes to the loud nose/jumping cat scar tactic. I fall for it every time and if I were watching this movie at home I’d be cowering behind a giant pillow with the volume as low as it could go without being completely off. The Grudge 2 had me bugging out the entire time, effectively creating massive amounts of tension and expectation that had me terrified but engaged.
The kicker is that – nothing happens. Nothing CAN happen. Because of its PG-13 rating The Grudge 2 has nothing but limitations when it comes to the big scary pay-off. No blood, no dismemberment, nothing that makes the R rating worth its limited accessibility. I know this in my mind, that there’s nothing truly terrifying that they can do with the movie, but I still shake, and I still squirm, because the atmosphere they’re able to create with those limitations is pretty convincing and scary as balls.
If you really think about it, little Asian kids aren’t that creepy. Of course I say that now but lord knows what my little Asian babies will be like. But this movement of longhaired Asian girls, stumbling towards you in the darkness has got to come to an end. Yeo makes at least one trip to the bathroom every night and when she stumbles back to bed I rarely scream out loud. Rarely. Like once a week, maybe.
Between the non-graphic horror, and the less than frightening featured ghost, The Grudge 2 is not a horror movie for the ages. After suffering trough the scares one time I have every confidence that I could watch this movie again without flinching once. It will lose most of it’s fun once you know what to expect. What might make it worth a repeat viewing is the mystery and additions they add on to the Grudge legacy.
Now, I’ve never seen The Grudge and part of my plan here was to see how well the sequel played to people that were going in blind. The good news is that everything is explained very naturally, and not overdone in anyway. There’s actually a nice montage during the title sequence that efficiently explains the back-story of the ghost’s brutal murder. I felt comfortable not knowing the full details of the first movie but could tell that there were some areas of the movie where having seen the original would have made it a more rewarding experience.
Even though I don’t know for sure what was revealed in The Grudge I can say with some certainty that a great deal is added on to the history of the franchise in the sequel. A more detailed back-story is given on the woman murdered in the house and information gathered by a cursed Gellar is used by her little sister to investigate things further, thus taking the story and the franchise to a deeper level. I wish they had been able to end the movie with the same standard of excellence.
The three storylines, which are blended well throughout the movie, come to two dueling reveals that unravel simultaneously in a giant climax of doom. One of the big reveals is frustratingly obvious but kind of a nice idea if you didn’t see it coming a mile away. The other ending is less obvious, not because it’s so fiendishly clever that you could never guess, but more likely because they weren’t sure how to end it at all. So they just end it. It’s shocking and will have you asking a few questions, but what could have been the big reveal at the end of a nice little ghost mystery, ends up being a forced conclusion that’s good for little beyond its unexpectedness. Even if it had me shaking in my boots, a half done ending is still a cop out.
Rating: 6 out of 10
I liked the scares and where they decided to take the story, no surprise from writer/director Takashi Shimizu who also created the characters. But I would have expected more form the ending. A non-ending isn’t an ending. Still, the movie overall was enough fun for me to recommend it. The high-tension vibe and anticipation of the big scare had me freaking out and checking over my shoulder all the way through.
Not for me, but the ghost child movie isn’t really my thing. The cheap thrills are hard earned though, and it’s definitely not the nothing of a sequel people were expecting.
Recommendation: The Ring
As much as this movie made me want to see the original to compare how well the two are connected, The Grudge 2 reminded me mostly of The Ring. There are obvious similarities. Both films are inspired directly from an Asian horror background. Both feature the same villain, more or less, but both also had a strong sense of mystery and a cast of cursed characters desperate to solve it. At the bottom of a well or at the top of a house, a little girl who’d let her hair go was waiting to kill them, and the efforts to let these souls rest in peace is the common thread that binds the two films. The Ring manages a stronger ending, and is a better movie in the long run, but The Grudge 2 manages to keep the bar at a respectable level.
Outside the Theater:
It’s been a crazy week of guest comics and comic conventions that has set me a little behind on things. I was at SPX over the weekend where Phil and I checked out a ton of cool indie stuff. We even had a chance to hang out with Clay and Hampton from Rob and Elliot, as well as Brandon, not to mention Fred from Hate Song. I’ve got to say it was one of the most fun afternoons I’ve had at a con in a long time. It was just nice and relaxed with no pressure to perform on the convention floor. And Hampton is funny as hell, like a living cartoon. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. It was a great day.
The guest comic I had to do was for Rob and Elliot, and written by Mitch Clem, so you know it’s epic. It was the epicness that took forever to color and kind of kicked me in the ass at the end of last week. Everyone involved seemed pleased with the finished product so I can’t complain. The strip most likely won’t go up for a few days, but I’ll give you all a heads up when it does.
In less hopeful news, Yeo and I lost one of our cats on Monday evening. Q-tip was 3 years old and had been with us for nearly his entire life. He had a heart seizure. As far as I could tell he was dead before the operator could connect me with the animal hospital.
He was a happy cat, active and healthy, except for the hereditary heart problem that we’re told is hard to spot. He was acting normal right up until the end. The death was quick and sudden so I’d imagine he was just as surprised by it as we were. That’s good. I wouldn’t have wanted him to suffer. I know losing a pet is not a huge deal in the long run. When a child dies – that’s tragic, but it’s amazing how connected you can get to the little guys in such a short period of time. I miss him to pieces already.
Sorry to end on a down note. I’ll get the next strip up as soon as I can. See ya then.
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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