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.
A Good Year
Viewed: 7:35 pm 11/10/06
Starring: Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Albert Finney, Freddie Highmore, Archie Panjabi, Tom Hollander, Abbie Cornish, Didier Bourdon
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Twentieth Century Fox - Official Site of the Movie
When Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott, two of the toughest, no-nonsense characters in cinema today, join forces to make a movie, the last thing you expect is the wistful journey of a man rediscovering himself in a French vineyard. You’re thinking the same thing I did - Crowe shoots the groundskeeper because he’s skimming off the top or smuggling narcotics in the wine, right!? Wrong. The groundskeeper is a hell of a guy and the only thing shot in A Good Year are longing looks between exotic women and Australia’s favorite bad boy.
As painful as it is to say, A Good Year is a really well made film. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for me to say that. As a red-blooded American male between the ages of 18 and 45 I have a natural want for my action heroes to blow things up and my action directors to hand them the explosives. Crowe has a badass reputation in real life and on screen so to see him sap it up was something that I didn’t expect to sit well. It’s not as if Crowe hasn’t branched away in the past from films like the high impact Oscar winner Gladiator, to denser dramas like The Insider or L.A. Confidential. But as toned down as those films are he was still rebellious and unpredictable. His Good Year character Max Skinner, a ruthless stock trader turned reluctant vineyard owner, is a lot more of a prick than a noble rebel.
But that’s what acting is all about. We should applaud both Crowe and Scott for attempting to tell a story like nothing either has done before. It’s the true sign of an artist. As long as they get back to the big boom eventually. (Both are teaming up in Scott’s next film American Gangster which promises some random gun play.)
The title, A Good Year, refers to wine as in, “That was ‘a good year’ for that particular wine.” I had no idea that’s what it meant when I was going in. Not for ignorance of the saying but for ignorance of the movie. The promotion for A Good Year is a mess, most of it featuring just a smiling picture of Crowe and the title, which one would think implies that the movie is about Crowe having a good year. He’s not. But I guess “A week at Uncle Henry’s vineyard” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
The campaign is done specifically to attract a certain crowd, most likely old and romantic, but if you have an established star like Crowe, why throw away the built in audience? The movie came out this week barley cracking the top 10 earning 3.7 million. A huge disappointment from the heavyweights that earned some nice gold statues for their shelves in 2000 with Gladiator.
Connecting the title with the setting helped ease me in to the rest of the story, and as hard as I’m being with my expectations of the film, the finish piece is fantastic. No matter who made it, what I expect out of them, mature set ad campaign or what vague title they chose for it, A Good Year is flat out good.
Max Skinner is a complete ass. Chauvinistic, greedy, unforgiving but also successful and seemingly happy. Upon finding out about the death of his uncle, Max heads to France to prepare the old chateau for it’s inevitable resale. With his time spent fixing the place up and going through all of his uncle’s old belongings we’re treated to flashbacks of Max and his uncle spending their summers together at the estate long ago. Albert Finney and Freddie Highmore (Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) play the pair and have great chemistry. Weather it’s a father son or teacher student scenario, the two play off each other so well, showing us that this monster of a man Max has grown up to become, actually has the capability of being a decent human being. It’s a brilliant character progression and regression at the same time as Max remembers what was once so magical to him and compares it with what he’s since worked so hard to attain.
What I liked was that the transformation was neither dragged out nor abrupt. With the flash backs it’s like we’re remembering the great summers right along with Max, so as something occurs to him, we see that memory, and we begin to fall in love with the old chateau ourselves. A wonderful bit of storytelling by Scott. I’m not saying a shotgun blast wouldn’t have rounded it out but… you know… whatever.
As light of a set-up as this is, there’s a remarkable amount of tension as Max falls for a local girl, the workers of the estate try to persuade him not to sell, and an unknown relative appears and threatens the sale completely. Not to mention the career he left at home which is disintegrating in his absence. Max’s poise and confidence keeps the tone eased enough where the audience can still believe his love affair and transformation amidst the chaos.
The dialogue crackles with wit and playfulness, but not so much so that I didn’t find myself searching for these moments in the film just so I could point them out. The scenes between Crowe and his “could be” cousin/potential threat to selling the chateau are the ones that slide into the realm of “playful wit” the easiest. Abbie Cornish who plays the unexpected American relative, has a real grace on screen. It’s unfortunate that her introduction to America has been as the woman Ryan Phillipe supposedly cheated on Reese Witherspoon with. She’s a real talent and she’s already been blacklisted in the red states. At least to the ones that watch Access Hollywood.
The cast all around is really great and as Oscar buzz begins to get louder and louder I have to point out Crowe and Didier Bourdon as the ones from Year that stood out the most to me.
I’m shocked that a movie targeted at my grandmother could impress me the way this did, and while I’m sure I’ll still have expectations and stereotypes attached to all my favorite actors and directors in the future, A Good Year cements the idea I try to inspire within myself with JLCM – You never know what’s going to be good. Everything deserves a shot.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Light and funny in the sort of way your sophisticated cousin (who’s kind of a dick) would admire, A Good Year will still manage to get a chuckle out of you and entertain throughout. There are no guns and no explosions but there are plenty of great performances and it’s not so much of a sappy romance as you might be expecting, guys. Rest easy that you won’t go crazy or experience transferred castration if you end up treating your girlfriend to this very bearable “chick flick”.
Nah, but I’d love for Yeo to see it. The advertising turned her off to it and she’s not such a Russell Crowe fan, but I think she’d really like it. I’ll add it to the Netflix cue in a couple fo months and hopefully she won’t hate me for it.
Recommendation: Trading Places
The stock trading is only relevant in A Good Year for about 15 or 20 minutes of the completed film, but in that short time I was instantly reminded of Trading Places. One of the funniest comedies of the earl 80’s that featured a great duo in Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd as well as the first appearance of Jamie Lee Curtis’ boobs on screen. I’m not sure why that’s noteworthy, but I’m going to rewatch the movie this weekend, and I’ll let you know.
I love the movie, but can’t believe it’s actually about the stock market. I defy you to watch it with a group of people 4 or more and not have someone during the last scene ask, “Wait… what’s going on?” It’s amazing how quickly something as novel as “buy low, sell high” can get complicated, but it does. That’s the reason I stay away from it. Though I did recently hear a tip about orange juice…
Trailer Hitch: Notes On Scandal
A Good Year was a grown up’s movie so I got a chance to see a lot of grown up movie trailers. A nice break from all the horror and animation previews I’ve been bombarded with this fall, but the more comfortable I get with these trailers, the older I feel. So it wasn’t a completely wonderful experience. Especially when I found myself so impressed with the preview of Notes On Scandal
. The film features a promiscuous Cate Blanchett
and a crotchety Judi Dench
(just the way I like ‘em) in a tale of lust, loneliness and blackmail. Very flawed people doing very dangerous things. It reminded me of a serious version of Desperate Housewives
with less sexual tension.
Outside the Theater:
So, this story is a little weird but I’m curious if anyone else has ever experienced this. This might be a little weird for some of you – you’ve been warned. During Strangers Than Fiction last Friday I had to pee. BAD. Like, before Dustin Hoffman even showed up on screen, I had to go. I was dead center in the theater and was locked in. I like the seats but not if I ever have to get up. Normally I wouldn’t even bother getting up. I’m a purist, I don’t want to miss a thing so I’ll tough it out, but this time was worse than normal. Still, I was completely land locked and I hate to bother people. I ahd to go once during Two Toweres and I must have stepped on 6 people’s feets and belongings. So I try not to get up unless it’s an emergency.
Thankfully there were no unexpected shower scenes or trips to Nigra Falls in Stranger Than Fiction, so the movie wasn’t influencing me one way or the other. Like an idiot I kept drinking my soda trying to convince my bladder to calm down and relax until I was in the appropriate place. It didn’t work. At one point I considered drinking the rest of the soda just so I could piss in the cup, but I promised myself I would never pee in a cup, in a movie theater, more than 4 times in one year. And I’m already at 3! Relax, I’m kidding.
The movie ends and Yeo and I both head to our perspective bathrooms and get to business. I peed… forever. It would not end! Just to give you a time frame, Yeo and I went in at the same time, I got to a urinal right away, Yeo had to wait for 4 people, and I beat her out by about 5 seconds. The damn thing would just not stop. It got to a point where I was just bored with it and wanted to cut the flow off just so I could get on with the rest of my evening. And I did just that. Once it wasn’t painful to hold it in anymore I just shut things down, cleaned up and went on my way. It’s just ridiculous! Who has that kind of time to wait for pee to get out of them? Not me, that’s for sure.
Well there you have it. Movie fun with Joe! See you 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