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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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The Prestige

Released: 10/20/06

Viewed: 10:05 pm 10/21/06

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, David Freakin’ Bowie, Andy Serkis

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Tuchstone Pictures Official Site of the Movie

About the Comic:

Ok, I hate to explain jokes but I think this one may be too comic-book-nerdy for the average person. You see “SNIKT”, the noise that the “geek boner” makes, is actually the same noise that Wolverine’s claws make when they pop out in the comics. So that fact that his junk makes the same noise makes it extra nerdy. Savvy? Am I wrong in assuming people won’t get this? Is “SNIKT” common knowledge? Either way, this is one of those jokes that I knew might not connect with everybody, but would get a real reaction from people that do know. Sort of a broad inside joke.

The Review

How am I supposed to talk to about The Prestige without going into spoilers? A movie like this is all about the big reveal and the twists and turns that lead up to it. If I have to spend this review tip-toeing around the sensitive plot points then I’m going to spend all my time talking about the expectations this cast and director bring to the table. Lets face it, the Internet has been buzzing for the last 2 weeks about Wolverine and Batman doing magic. It was even the top of the comic. This is a movie to be discussed, and a movie to be seen, so even though I’ll rattle on for another ten paragraphs (at least), take my word for it – This fanboy dream team have put together one of the most interesting stories of the year with an ending that will catch you off guard at least four or five times.

In a rival born from tragedy, two magicians set out to outdo and undo each other with the ultimate trick. The story is told in three timelines, broken up and distinct. Phil pointed out to me that the Nolan Brother’s have an excellent grasp of differentiating time periods in this film, just as they did in Memento. That’s true. It’s always clear when it’s going on, but rarely is it clear what is going on. The story jumps throughout time via the two magician’s reading each other’s journals. A brilliant way to give the audience a peek at the present while slowly unraveling the past, but to have someone reading a journal about someone reading a journal is like having a flashback within a flashback. That’s just bad storytelling, but when Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman are doing the reading, I’m willing to let a little time paradox slide.

Bale and Jackman play the competing magicians and do so with a lot of charisma and strength. We’ve seen Bale act before but rarely has Jackman had a real chance to show what he’s capable of without at some point having to unsheathe claws or punch a werewolf. I’ve always been a fan of the guy, and with a performance like this, now there’s no good reason not to be. He’s the ultimate showman and nails the desperation and obsession that the part demands. I was looking forward to his next film The Fountain, but now my expectations are through the roof.

These characters are the same. They share the passion and fixation both for love and for magic. It takes over and ruins them, and I thought this reoccurring theme of dueling characters fighting the duality of love and magic really drove the movie and was one of the plot points that messed with your head the most when the final curtain falls. If you had to choose would you choose the love of your life or your life’s work? The Prestige dares to do the impossible by answering yes to both, but of course they’re going to try to have it all. It’s magic.

Our favorite super heroes have an excellent support system with standouts like Andy Serkis and David Bowie who absolutely kill their bit parts. I love that Michael Caine came in to play the wise old trick inventor to mentor the up and coming magicians. As a teacher and a father figure he’s fine, but he gets to narrate the two most crucial moments of the film, and with his full blown British accent I could listen to him read the screenplay of The Adventures of Pluto Nash and still get chills.

Be prepared to see Scarlet Johansson as you’ve seen her before… she turns in another performance as the sexpot seductress with ample cleavage that the boys all fight over. For the third time in less than a year (Match Point, The Black Dahlia) Johansson plays the object of affection that divides two men, and she does so with great appeal. She’s beautiful, that’s for sure, but she brings little more to the role beyond her filled out corset and powers of persuasion. For a person that’s demonstrated skill in the past it’s a little upsetting to see her do nothing with a role and essentially take a back seat to her own chest. She doesn’t elevate the movie, but at least she looks good doing it.

I could go on and on about the performances but a movie like this always comes back to the spoilers. In such a great, layered story I can find little to discuss in depth without giving too much away. It didn’t take long for the spoiler thread in the Pimp forums to balloon up to three pages, and I enjoy this sort of inspired debate/conversation, but there becomes a point where it’s almost futile. We could speculate all day about who did what and what happened when, but without researching the original story or watching the film a second time to pick up more clues, we would never know the truth for sure. To that, I say, “Is it better to have a movie that inspires this kind of discussion, or are we better off with a clear answer?”

That in and of itself is also up for debate. I mean, ideally every movie should inspire such thought and a piece of art that can be seen differently by different people is the kind of proactive interpretation I can support, but if things are as open ended as The Prestige is, then when will the debate stop? With a movie like Memento you walk out with the same inspiration and thirst for conversation, but at least you know what’s going on. I think The Prestige would have had a stronger long-term impact had they answered a couple more questions and let the great set-up to the twist ending be enough material for the after movie discussions.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh on the unexplained. Not every question needs answering, but in a complicated masterpiece like this I can’t help but want to know the truth. Especially with an ending that has this much going on… some things just went unsaid.

With the ending, I had figured out one of the big twists. I’m not saying that I’m some sort of idiot savant and that the plot was so paper-thin I could read right through it like a greasy bag. I was totally shocked at Bruce Willis was a ghost and that Jack and Tyler were the same person, but there was a big piece to this puzzle that I put together. Sort of. And that’s the best part. You can figure out one part of it but there’s so much going on at the end that you’ll never get it all right.

Even though they were leading towards something I expected, I was still able to enjoy the build up and reveal of the big surprise. I was constantly impressed with the way things unraveled in the final act. This is one of those movies that will haunt your dreams and stay with you for days. Like a trick you’ll forever be trying to figure out, The Prestige will fascinate and amaze you as much as it will perplex and confuse you until you quietly descend into madness.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Very strong story and characterization that will have you questioning the ins and outs and the finer points that really perfected the film. I thought it started off a touch slow and I had a couple of nagging questions that I couldn’t let go, but of all the movies I go to see, few are actually worth the insane prices we’re paying these days. The Prestige is worth every penny.

DVD Worthy?:

Yeo gave a good effort trying to convince me that it’s not DVD worthy saying, it’s not the type of movie that would be as good the second time through. It’s true that it wont have the same impact but like Memento or The 6th Sense the fun of watching through a movie like this a second time is to find all the clues you missed. Knowing how the story ends can put that much more power into the moments that build up to it. The reason I’ll be buying it though, is for answers. If a directors commentary can’t clue me into what the hells going on then nothing can. Well… maybe the book that the movie is based on, but who’s got time to read?

Trailer Hitch: Alpha Dog

Alpha Dog has been teasing us with a potential theatrical release for nearly a year but after getting wrapped up in some legal mumbo jumbo things weren’t looking so good. I couldn’t say exactly why I’m so eager to see this film about a pampered Malibu rich boy’s club kidnapping a rivals kid brother, except that Ben Foster looks like a total bad ass and I secretly want Justin Timberlake to get some acting credibility. I’m not a fan or anything but his last film, Edison Force was ok and it got bounced direct to DVD even though Morgan Freeman was in it. Morgan Freeman! He’s a national freaking treasure. The trailer is slick and cool and promises a pretty tight thriller. I just hope the legal hold up had more to do with the kidnapping being based on a true story, and less to do with poor testing.

Outside the Theater:

What’s this!? Believe it or not, it’s the return of the incentive image over at Buzzcomix! Time will tell if this will become a regular fixture again but I don’t see why not.

Some of you may or may not be familiar with the other comic strips I work on here at Digital Pimp. I do two others, and the very first comic strip I ever did, Free Lunch, just finished up a year long story arc this past Sunday. It’s kind of weird how it all came about, and I had some folks giving me a hard time about this weekly comic stretching out a story for so long, but now that it’s all finished… I’m really happy with the way things concluded. If you have 20 minutes to burn I encourage you to waste it reading Free Lunch: Twin Dragons, which you can read form the beginning here. After the yearlong adventure I’ve decided to take a break on this strip that launched Digital Pimp way back when, but fans can look forward to its triumphant return in January with a new look, a new schedule, and a couple of other surprises.

It’s been a fun week leading up to The Prestige. I had a ton of great conversations with readers that were really excited about the release. A movie like this really brings out the hardcore movie fan in people. I had a blast bouncing around a few ideas with Adam from Drastic Comics about what different ways we could take possible jokes on the movie. I think he did a great job with his but I knew I had to try something a little different. I wonder if I went to obscure with it. Even if you don’t get the joke you should still check out the movie. It’s at the top of a good crop of films in theaters now including The Departed, so quit futzing around and head to the movies!

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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Joe Dunn
@joedunn721
@southworth "I wouldn't see this movie if it were playing in my GLASSES."
12 Dec 2014
Kevin Gleason
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09 Dec 2014