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: 7:00 pm 12/02/06
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hunsou, Jennifer Connelly, Caruso Kuypers, The Mummy
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Warner Brothers - Official Site of the Movie
Yeo HATES this comic. She doesn’t like when I get too personal in the comic about our lives, even though I would never say to her in real life what I said in the last panel there. Ok, I would say it, but I would totally be joking when I did. The point is I’m not blatantly disrespectful to my wife. The comic allows me to do and say things I wouldn’t normally do in real life. I mean. I like boobs, but not quite as much as comic Joe does.
I think Yeo is afraid people will get the wrong idea, but I like to think that you guys, my faithful readers, understand that some things are done just for the joke. And is this instance I felt like the repeat really worked well, but I could be wrong. Maybe I’m just blinded by her headlights.
Since Titanic made him a movie star, Leonardo DiCaprio has used that celebrity for good. To support noteworthy causes, speak out against injustice and right wrongs on a global scale. He’s like man-gelina Jolie. Even in his earlier movies he’s was clearly a capable actor. Certainly one I would look forward to seeing more of, even after Titanic made him a Teen Beat poster child. Talent crosses over the bitterness that teen heartthrob status brings. While I admired his efforts to make the world a better place I would always wish he could make time to return to the movies because he was such a joy to watch.
10 years after the world took interest in what he was saying, DiCaprio finds a vehicle that supports a cause he believes in as well as offers an emotionally charged thriller to excite the people that could care less about what some Hollywood pretty boy has to say. That movie is The Blood Diamond, a story about three different people whose lives intentionally or forcibly revolve around the diamond trade in South Africa. Specifically around one particular diamond so rare that Liz Taylor herself would bust your kneecap in a dark TV studio just to get her hands on it. (Anyone else watching 30 Rock?)
That stone is a large pink diamond, which quickly becomes an object of desire to anyone willing to hold a gun and look intimidating. People obsesses over it even though only two of the armies worth of men in search of the stone had actually laid eyes on it. I mused at the possibility that neither of the two really got a good look at it before it was hidden in the jungle, and that so many men were fighting and killing over what would turn out to be a giant hunk of a Coke bottle.
Each views the diamond as a ticket out of Africa, with its rolling countryside that looked beautiful and serine amid the dusty explosions. DiCaprio’s character is a diamond smuggler that finds out about the diamond in prison and exploits a vulnerable Djimon Hounsou in to helping him retrieve it. Hounsou’s character, Solomon Vandy, is the one that originally found and buried the stone after being captured by the rebels of South Africa and forced into slave labor. Vandy is the one character in the movie that knows where the diamond is but has something even more valuable at risk. His son’s life.
The film opens in Africa where Vandy, a poor farmer, is capture by rebels and run into slavery. After finding the pink diamond, hiding it, and escaping, the rebels set their sights on his family and recruit his young son Dia into their ranks. As Dia finds comfort in the rebel lifestyle the audience begins to anticipate the inevitable confrontation between father and son. A confrontation that doesn’t disappoint. This story between father and son is the strongest in the film even though they are separate for most of it, and a lot of that stories success has to do with Hounsou’s performance.
As a former model, Hounsou is an actor that gets a lot of work based on his strong features (Constantine, The Island, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, Eragon), but it’s nice to know that should those fluff Hollywood blockbusters ever require him to do anything but look scary, he’s go the skills to back it up. He’s disturbingly good in the Blood Diamond bringing a soft flutter of pain to some scenes and an intimidating explosion of desperation to others. When he gets angry he demands your attention and shows us an actor ready to be challenged and deserving of another run at Oscar.
Of all the performances in the film, Hounsou is the stand out. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2002 for In America, and I’d say his chances for a second nomination are just as good now if it wasn’t such a tough year in that category. To me, his performance is hard to ignore but better turns have been looked over in the past and only time will tell.
With all of this going on the movie doesn’t really pick up its pacing until DiCaprio and Hounsou team up. Almost instantly it becomes a buddy cop picture and I felt so guilty enjoying it. This is supposed to be a poignant film with a important message, but I’m only able to become invested in the it once it becomes Lethal Weapon: South Africa! Because after all, in America we like our explosions big and our characters predictable. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were true?.
DiCaprio plays the smuggler like Han Solo in the jungle, conning his way through impossible situations and blasting his way through the even more difficult ones. All the while wooing and winning the hottest tourist in all of Africa, Jennifer Conelley. Connely is as breathtaking and lovely as ever and commands the screen every time she glides across it, but as an American journalist researching the diamond trade she’s given too little to do beyond spar with DiCaprio, dictate the exposition of the diamond trade on a global scale, and seduce the natives.
She’s very capable and very confident, which is great, but on three separate occasions she uses her feminine wilds to manipulate the situation, sometimes to get her out of trouble. One person would call this a capable woman using everything in her arsenal to accomplish her goals. Another would call it a giant step back for women’s liberation. I couldn’t decide but those moments definitely stood out. Though I couldn’t tell you if it was because her persuasions were out of place with the character, or working on me. Cock-tease or not, the character felt very real to me.
The movie falters in its pacing. It’s long, and it feels long but has constant bursts of action and excitement to keep you committed to what’s going on. But for every time it heats up, it also cools down, starting and stopping so much that you’ll have potential boredom whiplash.
It’s hard because there’s a lot going on here. There’s a lot of story to tell and to make it realistically believable and it can’t all be told with 20-minute action sequences. A perfect example is a walk that DiCaprio and Hunsou take across the country to the place that the diamond is stashed. It’s a long walk, and along the way they run into trouble, visit villages, and have conversations. And that’s not something you can just bleed together, it needs to be separated by the two traveling. I almost would have welcomed a musical montage with them just skipping across the countryside, but it wouldn’t have had the same effect I suppose. As it is now, they walk a long time. So long that you’d swear the diamond is buried in Mordor.
As troublesome as the pacing is throughout Blood Diamond, the more noticeable flaw is the heavy-handed love story between DiCaprio and Connelly. It’s not that the two coming together is unbelievable - both are ridiculously good looking, and there’s a real chemistry on screen between the actors. Though they are very different, the attraction is clear and it’s specifically noted that Connelly is an action junkie. Love can often develop between two people that share a traumatic experience together so it’s completely understandable that they fall hard and fall fast for one another.
But it’s as if the filmmakers didn’t think that would be enough for us to accept their newly intense relationship, but honestly, if it was a good enough romantic set-up for Speed, then it’s going to work here. Instead we’re given a couple of drawn out personal conversations and a closing scene between the two that had audible eye rolls throughout the theater. I tried to watch objectively and accept it as part of the story but they really took things too far. The playful flirting and vicious arguing between DiCaprio and Connelly is what really shines when they share the screen. But prepare yourself for some unexpected, over-the-top lovey-doveyness.
I liked parts of this movie but found myself too often waiting for those parts to show up. At no point was I ever really bored with what was going on, but I was far from entranced by it either. For a movie with a message they take too long to define it completely. By movies end you’re pretty well versed in how the diamond trade works at every level, and how it’s corruption is costing people their lives, and I’m glad they show the whole picture. They could have easily kept this story contained to the events in Africa and not let us see how this industry directly affects the world the average movie fan is familiar with. By doing this they ground all the chaos and death in the movie and makes it more real. It makes the message clearer. But we shouldn’t have to wait 2 hours to get the point.
Rating: 6 out of 10 - An important movie with a good message, strong performances, and some very powerful moments, but too much padding. At the same time this movie is more accessible than other politically themed movies in recent years like Syriana. It’s easier to follow start to finish, but ultimately a little less fulfilling. Blood Diamond is a nice stone but it doesn’t have a flattering cut.
Blood Diamond is a good movie but it’s not a movie I’m itching to see over and over again. At the same time it’s not traumatic enough to scare me away from renting it in the spring. If only just to remind me pre-Oscars how good Hunsou was.
This past week has been a busy one. Yeo got a bee in her bonnet about fixing up the living room. It’s been a glorified dorm room, with a few nice pieces of furniture, for as long as we’ve been here. I’m all for “growing-up” the apartment a little but it’s a large undertaking and I don’t think she understood that when she began the process. 2 nights of painting and 3 separate 3-hour sessions looking for furniture. Guh! I barely like shopping for comics and DVD’s, imagine how I feel about places like Macy’s. Especially 3 weeks before Christmas. But she’s been in a bit of a funk lately and I love her, so you gotta do what you gotta do.
While we were painting I noticed a tiny smug on the wall. It was the remains of a mosquito my cat and I had killed about a week before. I had intended to show to Yeo as sort of a “proud warrior” moment, but I completely forgot about it.
I say that that “my cat and I” killed the mosquito because we’re a team! I get home most days around 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon and for a couple of hours it’s just me and Faye. She’s a pretty cat. Scared of everything including her shadow, but she’s a hardcore cuddeler, and she’s very sweet. When I come home I usually get right to work on comic stuff, and Faye will go into “hunting” mode. She’ll walk around until she sees a bug, and if she does find one, she’ll start squeaking. (Not meowing. Squeaking. It’s adorable.) When Faye squeaks I stop working, grab a rolled up magazine, and come to kill what she’s found. TEAMWORK!
So I see this dead mosquito, show Yeo, and nod to Faye as we take in our shared proud warrior moment. I think about cleaning it off before I paint further but I’m instantly reminded of Jurassic Park where a mosquito is sealed in (was it sap?) and preserved for hundreds of thousands of years. What if this mosquito is found hundreds of thousands of years from now, and the aliens that took over earth can clone us from the blood in it’s sack!? Do they even have sacks!? How does that work?
More importantly, who would be cloned? Did the mosquito carry my blood? Yeo’s? Faye’s? All three of us!? Is that even possible? Do you see what I have to think about to keep myself entertained during my grueling house chores?
Before I go… be sure to check out my continued guest strips over at Joe and Monkey. It’s starting to get WEEEEEEEEIRD. Also a guest comic over at Rose City, a very cool strip drawn by my good friend Pogues. It’s a young comic but I feel like they’ve already established a great voice. Check it out.
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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