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Discuss this week's Joe Loves Crappy Movies here!

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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.

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TMNT

Starring: Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburne, Ziyi Zhang, Kevin Smith, Mitchell Whitfield, James Arnold Taylor, Mikey Kelley, Nolan North

Directed by: Kevin Munroe

Warner Brothers - Official Site of the Movie

Discuss TMNT on the boards!

Look out! There are four monsters in the sewer that eat out of your garbage and fight on your rooftops while you sleep. Sounds like the set-up to good horror movie, but animate it and you’ve got one of the most successful children’s franchises of the last 20 years that, with it’s latest incarnation TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), refuses to die and proves that these forever young, under twenty, mutant, freaks aren’t growing up anytime soon. So why should we?

We shouldn’t! TMNT was incredible. It’s the best film that a Turtles fan, old or new, could ever dream of. It treats the characters with dignity and respect, ushering them into a new generation where they’re as accessible to the adults that grew up on them, as they are to the kids that these grow-up Turtle junkies are dragging along with them. This movie takes the Turtles to the next phase of their lives where the answer to a pause in the script is character development instead of jokes about pizza or someone screaming “Cowabunga”. TMNT was so good that by the time the credits rolled I was asking myself, “Who the hell is (director) Kevin Munroe and which one of my childhood memories can he update for the modern age next?”

TMNT catches up with the Turtles years after the events that took place in the 1990 live action film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Shredder is gone, and the Turtles have grown. In a way they’ve grown apart. Leonardo, who was sent to South America for “leadership” training decided not to return believing that he’s has not yet become the leader the others and Master Splinter (the big Gilmore Girl watching rat) need him to be. In his absence his brothers have taken their own paths. Splinter asked them not to interact with humans until Leo’s return so they have to find things to keep themselves busy.

Donetello is working tech support over the phone (Is outsourcing to a giant monster in the sewer more cost effective than outsourcing to India?), Michelangelo is a kid’s party entertainer, and Raphael, fed up with the dangers in the world above them going untouched, has been fighting crime secretly as the mysterious Nightstalker! And even though the Nightstalker is a giant metal Turtle – no one can seem to figure it out it’s him except Casey Jones (played by the Human Torch himself Chris Evans) who I thought was supposed to be the meathead.

Don and Mike got the short end of the stick in terms of proper development as Leo’s personal struggle and Raphs’s defiance take center stage. In interviews, Munroe has said that he feels bad about pushing two of the four team mates to the background, but that this story was about a rift in the team, a rift in the family, and that could only be between Leo and Raphael. And the finest moment of the film is when this tension comes to a head in a battle between Leo and Nightstalker. That scene spotlights the perfect moment of action, animation and emotion. The movie is worth watching for these 5 minutes alone. Not that there aren’t of plenty other reasons.

Animation has reached a level where it’s almost inconsequential. Animated movies look amazing. Period. It’s not something that’s as difficult to achieve as it once was, and with the exception of the occasional visual dud (Hoodwinked, Happily Never After) modern animated movies all look stunning. TMNT is no different. The movement is clean and smooth with action that is very easy to follow but not slow or boring in any way. The colors and textures on the characters, especially the Turtles themselves, in comparison to the TMNT television cartoons we’re all familiar with, are night and day. It’s like comparing Da Vinci and whoever draws Family Circus. (I don’t even know the guys name and he’s a ledged in the industry I’m perusing.)

The voice acting is above average I’d say, in part due to the non-celebrity casting for the core four characters. It was so important that when we heard Raphael we heard his character’s struggle and weren’t thinking about the star that was doing a good job in the sound booth that day. The name actors they do use, a who’s who of fanboy dream casting, all settle into their supporting roles brilliantly. I especially liked Patrick Stewart who’s deep voice is probably the most recognizable of the bunch, but still hides well behind the first character with hair he’s played in years. Animation does wonders.

So if they’re not fighting Shredder who are they fighting? It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that it isn’t Shredder. When I first heard they were reintroducing the characters to a new generation I thought it would have to cover the basics. Ooze, mutation, Shredder etc… When I would watch the trailers and see this quartet of new stone monsters, I wasn’t sure what to think. But rest assure - They were right. I was wrong.

Moving on was the important thing. Taking things in a new direction before revisiting them (Shredder isn’t there but the Foot Clan is, and the threat of his return is felt) is more important. It lets you focus on the characters. And change in a character is something easier to deal with when you aren’t getting caught up in what you think they should be doing. Fighting Shredder is part of that.

The story they come up with about an ancient, ageless warrior resurrecting his warrior buddies is a good one. People might be itching for Shredder, but this is a fantastic little adventure that allows the characters to grow while they set up the big punch in TMNT2.

As much as the 12-year-old Joe really dug the movies and the cartoons in 1990, and as much as 14-year-old Joe went gaga for the dark 80’s comics that originally inspired the goofy cartoons, I can honestly say that I’ve never been this excited about these characters in my entire life. TMNT presents a unique opportunity for growth and an escape from the familiarity theses characters had become locked into. If this can happen, anything can happen. And even if I have to set my alarm a little early on Saturday’s from now on, I’ll be there to see where things go next.

Rating: 9 out of 10 - I’m at the movies a lot, and I’d say that only 5 percent of the time do I walk out of the theater excited. Really excited and worked up about what I’ve just seen. I think it’s so rare because there’s not that much out these days that really challenges us as an audience. Movies have become a source of distraction instead of entertainment. So when a movie like TMNT comes along I couldn’t be happier. It’s something obviously made for kid’s with its bright colors and flashy tricks, but It’s also a wickedly smart adaptation of characters that have been around nearly as long as I have. To see some old friends come back and prove that they can still be relevant and interesting was a great treat.

Even though I really enjoyed this new stage in the Turtles existence, I wonder how much I would enjoy watching cartoons over and over again. I wonder if this was nice for nostalgia purposes and that for a while it was fun being a kid again, but that it’s now time to grow up. Then I think about the kid’s I one day want to have and that this is a movie I would proudly show them and hopefully have a small connection with them over. Of course by the time my non-existent children are old enough to be able to handle the scary monsters and cartoon violence of the Turtles, this movie will be horribly outdated. But you never know… sometimes it’s nice to plan for the future.

From my movie nerd perspective, it comes down to the extras. Featurettes on the making of and voice recording sessions would be awesome, and I’d eat up a director’s commentary from Munroe. If that’s there and I’ve got the spare cash to spend, I may be pretending I’m a kid again by mid-summer.

This comic came from some back and forth e-mails I had with Adam Murray from Drastic Comics. That lucky duck got to see TMNT about a week before it came out in America, and had e-mailed me to tell me how much he loved it. In the e-mail he referred to Leo as a “jacktard” and it actually made me laugh out loud. There was just something about the way he referenced it. So matter-of-fact like it was who Leo was. In my reply I told him how funny I thought it was and told him I preferred it as Leo’s role in the group instead of what he’s always been – the leader

Adam agreed that it was funny but I felt like the term needed a little road testing. When I final got to see TMNT the Saturday it came out I was hanging out with Phil, Bizarro Joe and Jamie (the three other people in the comic) and while we were talking about the movie and Leo I dropped in “jacktard” line into the conversation. Successes. Laughs all around. So I built the joke around it. In it goes.

Having a great group of friends to use as a sounding board is invaluable. Doing the comic can be like working in a bubble sometimes. There’s so little contact before the strip is released, and there’s so much time spent on it that you begin to fear you’ve lost touch with it. “Is this really funny or is it just funny to me?” So if you’re stuck, call a friend and talk it out. The joke will most likely be stronger for it.

TMNT Prequel Comics - For my recommendation I’m not going to recommend some lame animated ninja movie or even the original live action puppet extravaganza the Turtles were featured in, I’m going to tell you to do some reading. Prior to the release of TMNT, Mirage studios released a 5 part prequel series that caught you up with each of the four Turtles as well as April O’Neil. Those of you flabbergasted by April’s sudden ninja skills and interest in archaeology might find some comfort in her spotlight, but probably not that much.

Because the characters are on such different paths when the movie begins, these books were fantastic way to lay some more detailed groundwork that the movie couldn’t exactly go into. The movie works as is but there are always going to be fans that want to know where Raph got the Nightwatcher uniform and how Mike fell into that awful Ghostbusters 2 party performer job. I for one loved this series and recommend it to anyone that left the theater a little overwhelmed by the drastic change the Turtles took.

Follow this link and scroll down to check out the sample pages from the first issue. Then click “Prequel #2” to start cycling through the other 4 books.

Tonight is a big night for the Triple Feature, where Tom, Gordon and I will be talking with JoBlo form the movie news and community web site JoBlo.com. JoBlo.com is one of my favorite stops for movie news and though I’ve shied away form it in the past because of it’s sheer size, JoBlo has one of the strongest and thriving movie fan communities on line today.

Stop by tonight or download tomorrow the Triple Feature for April 16th going live at 10 pm EST.

That’s it for today, kiddies. Happy Monday and more current movies coming up like Perfect Stranger, Disturbia, ATHF and Pathinder. Did anyone else see Pathfinder? I’m still drowsy from it.

Live Journal/Myspace/Rotten Tomatoes/Buzz Comix/Top Web Comics/Comics on the Ipod/The Webcomics List/Online Comics/Wikipedia/Comixpedia/JLCM Map!

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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

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pimptour
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