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.
Viewed: 7:30 pm 10/08/06
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sam Shepard, Kate Beahan, Peter O’Brien, J.C. MacKenzie
Directed by: Asif Kapadia
Rogue Pictures - Official Site of the Movie
Sarah Michelle Gellar isn’t happy unless she’s acting unhappy while being haunted by a ghost. Even when the movie is geared at kids and features a talking dog (Scooby Doo 1 and 2) some sort of ghost or ghoul is still after her. The Return suits her typecasting just fine and you have to wonder if she keeps fighting evil monsters because she misses her days on Buffy, or because it’s the only thing people are offering her.
The thing is, she’s had some success with her horror offerings. Enough so where you’d think she’d have the clout to leverage herself into a new genre. So if she’s doing ANOTHER horror movie, there’s got to be a reason.
It’s not the director, though Asif Kapadia has some skill behind the camera. I was impressed with The Returns pacing and story development, but Kapadia hasn’t built up the kind of credibility that draws in a celebrity cast, or an audience for that matter. And it’s not a celebrity cast that drew Gellar to the movie either. Sam Shepard plays her father, but the one scene they share is brief and not the sort of clip you would classify as “the meeting of two greats”. Of the rest of the primary cast, the closest they get to “famous” is that the rugged stranger with a mysterious past kind of looks like Richie Sambora. Even if it was him would that be enough of a celebrity presence to attract a marquee star like Gellar?
My guess in her attraction to the project would probably be the quality of the story. On the surface it’s a one dimensional murder mystery, but has enough little nuances, and is told in such a way that kept me guessing and entertained. They slowly unravel this back-story, careful to give you just enough to keep you interested but not quite enough where you can jump too far ahead. And it worked. I was constantly analyzing every little thing to try and piece it all together. Even when I came close there were always uncertainties and more questions looming. In the end it wasn't a terribly complicated puzzle but a really well told one. I was invested throughout.
It's being billed as this straight up sci-fi horror movie in the same vein as the majority of Gellar’s catalog, complete with creepy ambiguous movie poster to keep your assumptions headed in that same general direction. I can understand the ambiguousness of the entire ad campaign because it’s very difficult to talk about this movie without giving too much away. I would love to get into the significance of mirrors or the powerful connections between trauma and memories, but the wrong slip could ruin this movie’s beautiful set-up. So what appears to be another Americanized bastardization of a Japanese classic is really less cheap scares and more mystical mystery.
Those going in expecting the cheap thrills are going to be disappointed though as the scares are a little light. There were a few moments were I was really freaked out but with a good horror movie my uneasiness is normally present from start to finish. I found plenty of time to relax during The Return. They really want you to be terrified by this greasy hick calling girls, "sunshine" and they return to that phrase several times, but it never had the impact it was intended to.
That’s not to say it didn’t have me going. In yesterdays review of Flushed Away I talked about something that was in the trailers but didn't make it to the final cut. “False trailer information”. The Return may or may not have that. There's a scene where Gellar reaches towards a mirror and ends up clasping hands with the reflection. That’s definitely in the trailer and MIGHT be in the film as well, but the truth is I was hiding behind my fingers and missed it completely. I’m such a punk. Why do I keep torturing myself with Pg-13 horror?
I couldn’t say for sure why Gellar is stuck in her own personal horror story about strictly making horror movies, but as long as she’s content with it, that’s fine. The money must be good. And even though her horror offerings of 2006 (which includes in addition to The Return, The Grudge 2) aren’t destine to be horror classics, both were entertaining in their PG-13 bliss. But how long will the ride last? At one point, one of these movies is going to tank and she’ll have to find something else to do besides interact with monsters on the big screen. Is it too soon for a Buffy reunion show?
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
The Return is a nice little film, but its soft and subtle storytelling will get lost in the horror shuffle of the last few months. Movies like The Grudge 2, Saw 3, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginnings are so big and flashy with their horror, that a smaller movie like this will go completely unnoticed. The Return isn’t so great that it being washed over is a tragedy, but I guess that really just means I’m another casualty that’s been hypnotized and desensitized by the gore and vulgarity of the modern horror movie scene.
I can’t imagine this movie being DVD worthy to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it for what it was, but is this movie on anyone’s radar let alone their dream list of DVDs? One time through was a nice trip but I doubt the movie will have that much more to offer with a second viewing or a slew of behind the scenes extras. There’s little to return to? (Puns are fun!)
Trailer Hitch: The Invisible
has me very conflicted. It’s David Goyer’s
first new film since writing Batman Begins
, which normally would be great news. Unfortunately he had nothing to do with the script on this movie. He’s in the director’s seat, and his last time he sat in that chair he managed to derail a franchise. That film was Blade: Trinity
, a flashy film that lacked true substance. It’s fun to watch but hurt the character enough to vanquish everyone’s favorite vampire hunter to basic cable.
Working from someone else’s script could be the key as The Invisible looks to be a slick and thrilling mystery, but only time will tell if the full piece is as compelling as the 30-second trailer.
Outside the Theater:
The theater worker in today’s strip is Sunny from Multiplex. It felt too soon to be using another character so soon after Becky showed up last week in the Hollywoodland strip, but I thought having a theater worker in this joke just fit better, and I refuse to create my own. Why should I when I have a friend that’s created so many good ones!? Multiplex is going through a great guest arc right now, with some of the coolest guest strips I’ve seen in a while. Worth a look for sure.
Yeo and I took in a double feature on Friday of Harsh Times and Stranger Than Fiction. I enjoyed them both but I’m surprised as hell to say that Stranger Than Fiction was the winner of the day (which included me sneaking out during lunch to see The Return). It was of course touching and funny, but surprising smart and clever. I had been worried for a few days of how they could take this great concept and resolve it, but what they came up with completely cured my anxiety. It still might be too early to say this but I really fell like it’s one of the strongest movies of the year. More on that tomorrow.
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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