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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.

Codename: Curse of the Golden Flower

Released: Wide -01/12/07

Viewed: 11:15 am 01/12/07

Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Jay Chou, Jin Chen, Ye Liu, Man Li

Directed by: Yimou Zhang

In the first hour of the new Chinese import The Curse of the Golden Flower you can count the action sequences on four fingers. One two three four. And while I expected the movie to be action heavy, I was pleasantly surprised with how engaging the actual story was. Normally I won’t get out of bed for anything under 5 fights, but with the amount of secrets, lies, and deceit Golden Flower boasts, it plays like a Chinese soap opera. A classy one.

“Soap opera” is such a loaded term. The plot of Golden Flower feels more like a Shakespearian play, as if it were a classic tale of tragedy told over and over for ages. The kind of tale of woe that would be cherished for generations until it was inevitably remade in a modern setting featuring Scarlet Johansson, Josh Hartnett and a Good Charlotte song. According to wiki the plot is based on a 1934 Chinese drama called Thunderstorm as well the infamous Huang Chao rebellion of the late 800’s. So the story may need a few hundred more years to reach Shakespearian proportions of retelling, but at least that’s enough time for Good Charlotte to officially become irrelevant.

People probably aren’t going to be expecting bad pop but I feel safe assuming that the majority of people lining up for Golden Flower are anticipating a lot more action then the film delivers. Past achievements from director Yimou Zhang like Hero and House of Flying Daggers certainly promised some level of violence to returning fans. Even if you’re going by the commercials alone, Golden Flower looks like Braveheart in a palace. The previews tease us with armies of men running at each other and colliding in a cloud of metal and blood. It eventually does happen but you have to wait for it, and for true action junkies, or people that are going in expecting a fight, those four encounters may not hold them over.

What’s most disappointing in terms of action is that Chow Yun-Fat, a man known in Chinese cinema for hurting people, barely gets his hands dirty. There’s some sparing with his son, which was cool, but almost meaningless in terms of danger or plot, and then there’s a scene towards the end where he takes his belt off and beats the ponytail out of this one guy. It was pretty funny, but I promise you it’s not the big action encounter you’re waiting for from this ledged.

The movie instead showcases his acting abilities, something we all knew he had, but that doesn’t mean we want to see him kick some guy in the face any less. But acting takes the spotlight over kicking and if you’re going to shine that light on anyone in this great cast it has to be on Gong Li. Li plays the emperor’s wife who is at the center of all the chaos. If something bad is going on in this movie it’s either instructed by her or inflicted upon her. She’s wicked and deceitful in many ways but you still feel for her struggle to regain her life from a husband that is slowly taking it away. I won’t spoil the details of the mess she’s gotten herself into, because part of the fun of this movie is how the truth is unravelled, but suffice it to say there’s enough tragedy, betrayal and incest to leave you shocked and a little creeped out.

So much of the movie is in its look, and you can tell a lot of care was taken when it came to the specifics of costuming and sets. I was afraid the brightly colored walls and elaborate set design, as historically accurate as they may be, would be overwhelming on the big screen. Sensory overload. But it was all so well staged and beautifully shot. I also appreciated all the attention taken with customs, ceremonies and daily behavior in ancient China. It was an interesting look at a society we’re rarely exposed to, and I was glad to see some old world tradition in a very glamorous setting. Plus old Chinese royalty are into finger sucking! Who would have guessed!?

Finger sucking has got to take a backseat to the cleavage plastered all over this film. There are mountains of it. Every woman in this movie wears a corset that just lifts and separates in all the right ways. A 9th Century Wonder Bra. I knew Eastern societies were much further advanced, but God bless them for starting with the basics. My question is this – If this is in fact traditional Chinese clothing of the period then why isn’t it featured in all the other historical films from that era? Are those films from other eras? To that I ask, why did this way of dress go out of style at all? Did Asian boobs become passé in the middle ages? Ok, that’s enough of that.

Golden Flower’s story comes to an end before any of the larger than life action sequences even begin. All the dirty laundry comes out and key players are eliminated as if the movie would resolve without this promised, ultimate battle. It was very odd, almost as if the writer said, “Ok, that’s all wrapped up. Let’s kill some people.” But it works. I think in part because you’re waiting for this moment from the beginning, so even though it’s not exactly weaved into the story as well as it could be, you’re still glad it finally decided to show up.

That battle is good but not great. Lots of slow motion blind swinging that takes out way more people then it should. As with the history and culture of the ancient Chinese world, this final portion offers a fun history lesson on some tactics of war. Looking back the story is clearly the dominant part of the film over the violence. As it should be, but I almost feel tricked into liking something I wasn’t expecting. I’m impressed and satisfied with the finished product, but the karate kid in me can’t help but feel a little dooped.

Rating: 7 out of 10 - Not what I was paying for, but a fantastic experience none the less. Golden Flower will receive less attention than larger, action-heavy, international crossovers like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and will suffer even further with wide spread American audiences for its true to life subtitles. But the core story is so strong and something universally understood, that an American rip-off couldn’t be far off. The sad thing is in the right hands it’ll get the press, reach the audiences, and win the awards that Golden Flower is already worthy of.

It’s not DVD worthy to me, but I could understand how it would be to people that really enjoy the culture or the melodrama or yes even the fields of cleavage. A rental might be worth considering depending on how much content they had comparing what’s depicted in this film to the way and quality of life back then. Is this what it was really like? I know this is adapted from a play, but how else did the story evolve? Can you tell me more about the finger sucking? That sort of thing.

Ok, before anyone gets a bee in their bonnet over the number of words Eskimos have for snow, I’ll freely admit that 700 is a gross exaggeration. I did a little research and the only fact I could find about the actual number of words Eskimos have for snow, is that no one can agree on it.

The wiki entry spends a few paragraphs dancing around the history of the myth but I couldn’t find anything significant on line to suggest a concrete answer. What I did find was that the supposed number got larger and larger the further I looked, so I figured I would continue that tradition and bump it up to an amount that couldn’t possibly be real. Or could it? Who cares? Let’s just try and enjoy the joke for what it’s really about. Giant boobs.

Actually I thought the joke could have ended at “Eskimo boner”, but I couldn’t get the image out of my head of an Eskimo ice fishing between two boobs. I’m still undecided, but there it is.

Dynasty Warriors - For the first time I’m recommending a video game over a movie. Dynasty Warriors tells the story of three kingdoms fighting over China. You choose a character and follow his adventures in his particular dynasty fighting smaller battles slowly winning the war. For game specifics – it’s a 3rd person fighter that often is as much about strategy as it is about pounding guys into the ground. It’s a lot of fun.

The game is based on a book, which is in turn based on actual historical events, which makes it interesting because – there’s a real winner. You can choose them and make sure everything ends as it should, or you could choose another dynasty and change history forever. It’s part ancient battle, part time travel paradox adventure. Ok, it’s not but that would be an interesting twist.

Expect more talk about this later in the week but I want to casually mention a new comic I’m working on with Phil called Turtle vs. Bunny. It’s an interactive comic where reader votes help to determine who wins the race between these two warriors. There are tons of ways to vote which you can explore there on the site, but I’ll point out my favorite now which is pinups. Submitting a drawing of either Turtle or Bunny puts 5 extra votes towards that character winning the race, and so far we’ve gotten some cool stuff. Check it out. Have a look around and be sure to check back every Tuesday and Thursday to see who’s winning.

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