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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.

Catch and Release

Released: 01/26/07

Viewed: am 01/26/07

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Timothy Olyphant, Sam Jaeger, Kevin Smith, Juliette Lewis

Directed by: Susannah Grant

Sony Pictures Official Site of the Movie

The real world counterpart to my cartoon wife is just as violently befuddled by Kevin Smith’s appearance in Catch and Release as the comic implies. In fact that first panel is word for word a conversation we had earlier this week. I don’t think she has anything against Smith or his films personally, I think that she just doesn’t understand why or how he’s making the leap to acting. I was sceptical going in as to how he would be. Is this really just going to be Silent Bob with dialogue? But because I’ve enjoyed his work so much in the past I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It turns out that he can read a line almost as well as he can write one.

We first see his character Sam at a friend’s funeral where he does little beyond be polite and suck down hors d'oeuvres, but the next time he pops up on screen, he shows us the quick witted charm and intelligence a lot of us geeks have come to love from Smith’s work. Though admittedly, we’ve rarely heard it so directly from Smith himself. He’s natural, comfortable and funny on screen to the point where, if he wanted to, he could be making a healthy living as the quirky best friend. I’d hate to see him abandon his own storytelling, but I’d watch his scenes in Catch and Release 10 times over before I voluntarily put Jersey Girl on. Sorry, Kevin.

So, yes, his leap to acting is easy pickin’s for the comic, but if he can keep backing it up with a quality performances like this one, then I might be out of a potential running gag. Everyone’s favorite geek director from Jersey is as good in front of the camera as he is behind it, even when he’s given things to say. But the pressures on now, because we’ll be expecting more from him, and he better not screw up Die Hard 4.

I feel guilty about liking Catch and Release as much as I do. Not that I love it to the point where I was drowning in tears or rolling with laughter, but to the point where I read some of the awful things more noteworthy critics have said about the film and wondered if I was even watching the same thing. Maybe I stumbled into The Queen by mistake, and was surprised but pleased with Kevin Smith’s stern and inspiring turn as the Prime Minister of England. I suppose I’ve been less confused at better movies, but the truth is I knew exactly where I was and what I was watching, and I loved it.

Those noteworthy, educated and experienced others I mentioned above have been slamming Catch and Release with such problems as forced romance, undefined characterization, and a sloppy wrap-up. These are things that won’t easily go unnoticed, but aren’t so glaring that it destroys the film. I don’t know, sometimes it’s so easy to pick on something’s flaws that you get wrapped up in it and don’t bother to notice what they’re doing right. Catch and Release is a long and somewhat predictable journey, but if you’re not so hung up on looking for what’s not working, you might actually have a good time.

During his bachelor party, Grady Douglas dies. No, it wasn’t under the sequinned boobs of a stripper, or in at a smoke-filled poker table in Nevada, in fact it’s not important at all how he died. The only thing that matters in this story is THAT he died. We don’t even get a good look at him in the movie but we do see how his life and death affect those around him. And even though the trailer teases at a sappy romance, Catch and Release is so much more about how friends, family and loved ones deal with loss.

At this point the film is nothing but obvious. Grady’s fiancé, Gray (Jennifer Garner) starts picking up the pieces of her life, visiting friends and family, and grieving Grady’s passing. This thing writes itself! And barely keeps the audience involved with easily relatable empathetic mourning and the introduction of interesting (albeit undefined) characters. The story takes a nice unexpected turn when Gray comes upon some of Grady’s dirty little secrets. And I’m not talking about a box of porn or a little black book. These are big, life-changing, unexpected secrets that came in fast and left me floored. One after another you find out more about his secret life and begin to see how lies can throw a wrench into how you’re remembered.

I won’t tell you the secrets but if you watch the trailer carefully you’ll probably pick up on a big one, but like Grady’s death, the specifics are a lot less interesting that the reactions. You’ve got a woman whose in love and views her husband in one light, then all of the sudden he’s gone, new questions arise and no one is there to answer them. With that the audience begins to place themselves in her position asking, “What would I do if my spouse died? What would I do if I learned that they were hiding these things from me?” And that’s where Catch and Release avoids being a carbon copy romantic comedy. It presents these very relatable questions from a few different perspectives and lingers on them allowing the audience to simmer in their own solutions to these problems.

By the end of the movie I had mapped out exactly what I would do if my wife died, and while it’s the horrible plan of a lost and bewildered man who doesn’t know where his wife keeps their insurance papers, I decided to walk away from the movie focusing on its brighter message. Love them while they’re here.

It’s nice to see Garner back on screen. After a little baby hiatus and the end of Alias last year, I’m anxious to see her in some new stuff. She’s good here, beautiful and funny, the type of person you want to root for, but the film is about the ensemble. This unlikely group of people come together over a mutual loss and really shine as a family.

Timmothy Olyphant isn’t an obvious leading man but with his oily hair and perpetual scruff he brings a certain Ethan Hawke quality what could have just been a bland bad boy. While the relationship between Gray and Olyphant’s Fritz isn’t the primary story of Catch and Release, it does happen and I think in a very believable way. People latch on to what they need to in times of grief to get through it, and sometimes that’s another person. It’s not unbelievable, but I’m glad it wasn’t all this movie was about.

Smith, Sam Jaeger, Juliette Lewis, and Fiona Shaw round out the supporting cast. Each is given a stereotypical character to follow but is also given a chance to do something with it. Every scene where they have to reach for laughs or lay out a bit of exposition to move things along is worth it for the one moment where we see grieving from their perspective. Smith’s scene in a hospital couldn’t have been more than 40 seconds long but he, and the rest of this strong supporting cast, really make you feel for them.

First time director Susannah Grant, whose writing credits include In Her Shoes and Erin Brockovich, shows that she still writes a strong story. More impressively she shows me that as a storyteller she can connect with the audience in a way that a lot of films don’t bother to try. This film got me thinking about situations and possibilities that will stay with me long after the projector shuts down. But more importantly it reminded me how much I love my wife, and that even if I say that to her every day, she could still stand to hear it at least once more.

Rating: 7 out of 10 - I was really taken with the film. A nice balance of heart, humor, and drama that should connect on some level with most people. The length was noticeable and I did begin to wonder how and when they were going to finish up, but a situation like this in real life is a very complicated one. So why should it be any easier and quicker in the movies? So it can stay under 90 minutes and turn over the crowd faster? I say let the movie go on half an hour too long. Let things develop naturally.

Nope. I had a really good time with it but this is actually the kind of movie I would enjoy much more if I stumbled upon it on TV. I see a lazy Sunday of take out and snuggling in my future as the wife and I watch this movie together.

The Hoax - Richard Gere doesn’t draw me to the movies. To me, he doesn’t have the star power or appeal that will make a movie worth seeing anymore. But what’s left of the 4-year-old Chicago buzz is apparently still enough to get some good scripts across his desk. The kind of scripts that attract supporting players like Alfred Molina, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, and Stanley Tucci - the kind of star power that will excite me about paying 10 dollars to see a movie.

The Hoax features Gere as a 1970’s author who sells the rights to an autobiography about Howard Hughes, one of the most reclusive and mysterious people of his time. The only problem is, he never bothered to ask Hughes about it. Stories are fabricated, lies are told, checks are cashed and as fast as things build up they seem to fall apart, but it looks like a fun ride.

The Howard Hughes craze and the fabricated stories angle were big a couple of years ago, but perhaps a marriage of the two is the kind of scandal worth getting excited about.

It was a crazy weekend of movies. A couple good ones, a really awful one, and one about werewolves and chocolate that I don’t think anyone bothered to see. It was certainly fourth on my list, but I think I’m more likely to catch Smokin’ Aces a second time before I willingly subject myself to some over done, over-haired soap opera. We’ll see though. The week is young.

Don’t forget to stop by tonight at 9 to listen to the newest instalment of The Triple Feature. Tom , Gordon and I will be chatting about the Oscar nominations and hopefully some of the releases this past weekend. Stop by for a listen and if you feel that strongly about Dremgirls being snub in the Best Picture category, feel free to call in.

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