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 Pursuit of Happyness
Viewed: 7:00 pm 12/02/06
Starring: Will smith, Jaden Smith, Thandie Newton, Brian Howe, James Karen, Dan Castellaneta
Directed by: Gabriele Muccino
Sony Pictures - Official Site of the Movie
Finally, a spelling error in this comic that’s not my fault. The “Y” in The Pursuit of Happyness refers back to a misspelling on the wall of the day care center that Chris Gardner left his son at everyday while he chased the American Dream. A simple mistake that makes this inspirational story about overcoming the odds and doing the best you can, that much more poignant. Because leaving your child to be educated and cared for by a school that can’t spell the simplest of words is a powerful motivator to change your life. Ok - Now I have to get through this review without spelling anything wrong. Damn, I should have saved this paragraph for the end.
When Yeo and I first saw the title in the trailers for Happyness, she picked up on it instantly. I, of course, missed it completely. In my defense, I wasn’t looking for it. I was focused on the story. A powerful and motivating tale about one man doing all he can to create a better life for his family. After hitting rock bottom, Chris Gardner finds himself sleeping in train station bathrooms, working weekends to settle bad investments and make ends meet, all the while interning at a brokerage firm competing for an exclusive and much sought after position. As life keeps taking shots at him, Chris pushes on, unsure if his efforts will result in a job or if, at the end of the 6 month internship, he and his son will still be out on the streets with no home, no money… and for the first time, no prospects.
It’s a story of hope and determination meant to inspire anyone that anything is possible, and in me explaining it now, I know how it comes off. It drips more sap than a tree. And normally I wouldn’t fall for a big can of corn like this, but the movie's heartbreaking journey comes to life under Will Smith.
Smith has earned a lot of praise and a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Happyness, and I think it’s much deserved. He’s got a couple of heart-wrenching scenes that are clearly for the Oscar reel, but throughout the whole thing, Smith is good. I’d even say great, but for me that’s not a stretch. I like Smith. I like him in most of what he does. I own Wild Wild West. I think he’s been this good in a lot of movies but just because of the kind of movie Happyness is, it gets the award attention. To me his character in I, Robot was just as developed, just as detailed in background, and just as well performed by Smith as the Gardner character here. But movies with big explosions only win in the technical categories.
This isn’t a cry for I, Robot’s just deserts but rather a cry for the recognition of Smith as an all-around performer. I’m not saying he’s one of the greatest actors of our time or anything like that, but the guy has a lot of presence and charisma on screen, that he’s used to make some movies worth remembering. Some not, but amongst a bad script, bad director, or bad case of special effects, Smith is rarely the problem with any film and is almost always worth the ticket price.
If Smith weren’t enough, you’ve got little Smith (Will and wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s real life son Jaden) pitching in to play Christopher Gardner Jr. And hold your cries of nepotism until you see the thing. The kid’s not bad. Jaden isn’t given too much heavy acting to do, but he’s very natural next to his father. It feels very much like “Father and son”, but rarely comes across as “Will Smith and son”. Chris Jr.’s main purpose is to offer a real motivation to Chris, because without his son Chris is just a bum with a dream. But a bum with a dream AND a kid is movie gold!
While its stars make Happyness entertaining, the movie, in a way, is ruined before you get to the theater because we all know how it ends. Chris Gardner’s real life struggle has been well documented in the months leading up to Happyness’ release. No matter what he went through in the past we all know where he is today, and like it or not, that effects the film.
During the movie you can’t help but feel for him as his situation gets worse and worse. But in the back of your head you’re just waiting for things to get better. The enjoyment of this movie should be in watching him overcome the struggle, even if we’re certain he will not fail, but I couldn’t let it go. As bad as it got, I was never THAT worried about him. If we didn’t know everything worked out in the end his actions would be that much more heroic, but I saw the present day Chris Gardner on Oprah last week, and he looked fine.
The ending itself is still very rewarding, and difficult to watch without a big smile. By the end of the film you feel very connected to the character, and it’s great to see him succeed.
As much as you think you might know about the hardships Gardner goes through, I’m willing to bet there are one or two things that will surprise you. He doesn’t reach a “man-whore” low, but he does things that no one should have to do just to make it in the world. Some of what’s done really makes you feel sorry for him and it had me questioning how much of this actually happened in real life, and how much of this is just a screenwriter’s imagination and good movie drama? Where does reality stop and Hollywood movie magic take over?
You can’t watch a movie like this with that kind of cynicism because you won’t be able to enjoy it at all. Just take it for what it is, a message that any dream is possible, and try to leave the theater with a little hope of your own. Here’s to all of you achieving your goals without having to sleep in the toilet to do it.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10 - The movie has a great message and a fantastic performance from Smith, but I did have some troubles really getting into it. I never felt the danger or the threat of what might happen if he didn’t achieve his goals. And I wish I had because to those going in blind, this movie could potentially change lives.
Not for me. This is a strong film but I don’t need constant reminders that it is. The same way Seasbiscuit or Invincible are powerful emotional and uplifting experiences, that I can remember without watching frequently. If Happyness pops up on TV though I wouldn’t necessarily change the channel.
Featuring: Lean on Me - Lean On Me is my favorite underdog-fighting-through-adversity-to-make-a-difference movie. As a kid it was the first movie of it’s kind I had seen. This sort of inspirational story with mature themes. I found it shocking and engaging like nothing I had ever seen and I was lucky because I was young, and I didn’t know that everything was going to be ok in the end. Plus it stars Morgan Freeman who just commands the screen whenever he’s on it.
Unlike Happyness, I feel like Lean On Me is a movie I could watch over and over again. Maybe it’s because of all the side stories going on that twist together and revolve around the larger theme. Happyness may be too focused and too desperate. Lean On Me is plenty dark and disturbing but it at least presents more than a few chances of hope.
Featuring: Music and Lyrics
- I’ve seen the trailer for Music and Lyrics
a few times now, and the reason I found it worth mentioning this time around is because this is the first time I’ve had the chance to see the trailer with my lovely wife. Watching Yeo watch any trailer is a unique and wonderful experience. She’s just nestled in, she’s excited about the upcoming movie, she hasn’t had a chance to get bored, she’s got a big bag of pop corn and she’s ready to have some fun. It’s the optimal movie viewing Yeo.
She makes her feelings clear when it comes to trailers. If it really tickles her, she’ll laugh out loud. If it doesn’t fit her fancy she’ll scowl and shake her head mockingly while taking a big sip of soda. It’s adorable.
With Music and Lyrics I got a very rare reaction out of her. At first it was pure excitement. The concept of Huge Grant as an aged pop star thrilled her enough to poke me in the arm until I agreed that it was an inspired idea. Eventually she got bored with the trailers reveal of every little detail of the film, and by previews end she’d had enough. She had gone full circle with it. Given everything she could give to this movie and was ready to dismiss it forever.
I have trouble letting it go before it even has a poster hanging in theaters because it really is a good idea. The kind the Grant makes frequently. The guy makes a lot of chick flicks but at least he’s picking some smart ones. Also it’s incredibly difficult for me to ignore the lovely Drew Barrymore who is just so much fun to watch.
So if you love movie trailers you might get your fill of Music and Lyrics from the preview alone, but I’m convinced that a concept this fun deserves more than 2 minutes of my time.
My friend Beefy just had his new album, Tube Technology come out on line and he was awesome enough to ask me to do the art work for it. It was a really fun project to work on and the album sounds fantastic, very professional. It makes me even more honored to be a part of it. Head on over and download some sample tracks of his stuff, which would best be described as nerd rap or nerd core, and if you’re digging it, pick it up. He’s selling it directly from his site for 5 dollars plus 3 for shipping, and I don’t care where you steal your CD’s from – that’s a deal. Recommended tracks – Buy this CD, Chun-Li, 1-800-Nerdcore
And if you love listening to things on line, then maybe this podcast is up your alley. Tonight will be Tom Brazelton’s third podcast, but his first with me as a co-host. If you’re on line at the time be sure to swing by. It’s at 10:30 PM central. Come ready for some great (hopefully) movie and comic talk! The event is hosted by Talkshoe so to listen you’ll have to have an account. Don’t worry it’s completely free. Stop by about 10 minutes before hand and get ready for the fun!
Last but not least, buddy and fellow comicing person Brandon J. Carr is doing one of my favorite strips, Yirmumah, all week long. Be sure to check out his new style, which is too awesome for words. Say good-bye to the dark lines and hello to the awesome!
Live Journal/Myspace/Rotten Tomatoes/Buzz Comix/Top Web Comics/Comics on the Ipod/The Webcomics List/Online Comics/Wikipedia/Comixpedia/JLCM Map!
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