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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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Fracture

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

New Line Cinema - Official Site of the Movie

Discuss Fracture on the boards!

Everybody has a weakness. After watching Fracture, the new film featuring the latest pairing of an old pro and amazing new talent, I would guess that for Hopkins (the old pro) the weakness is a bag full of money. And for Gosling (the amazing new talent) it’s the opportunity to work with Hopkins. Because there’s not much else to this cookie cutter thriller that relies on its twist ending with the same carelessness as it relies on the audience to not be paying attention.

Uggh, I hate starting off so negatively. Especially for a movie that is not as awful as that makes it out to be, but Fracture is certainly not of the quality we’re used to from the people involved. I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said “old pro” and “amazing new talent”. Hopkins and Gosling are some of the best working actors you can find, and the performances are there, I just can’t figure out what in the story attracted the high caliber cast that gives those performance.

The title Fracture relates to Hopkins’ character (Ted Crawford) and his obsessive perfectionism. He analyzes things for every possible flaw or fault and corrects it. This is how he handled his wife’s murder.

Don’t worry, I’m not giving anything way. Hell, even the trailers show Hopkins telling his wife he loves her and then shooting her in the face. It’s what follows that you should pay attention to as we see Hopkins dispose of and plant the evidence that will eventually set him free. Though maybe you shouldn’t pay too close attention because you’ll be waiting a while for the confirmation to that twist, and if you figure it out before our hero does… it’s going to be a long night.

After a strong beginning the script runs out of twists and Willy Beachum (Gosling), the prosecutor assigned to the case, spends the better part of hour making no progress whatsoever. What could have been a fantastic exchange of new evidence from Beachum and excuses why the evidence wasn’t valid from Crawford, ends up being one man looking for a gun for more than half of the movie. That’s it. In desperation, the film becomes not about how one man will out smart another, but rather if one man will break the law to put a guilty man behind bars.

I found that approach a little insulting. It’s a somewhat important character point in establishing Beachum’s moral compass but far too much time was spent on his hemming and hawing over using faulty evidence. What would have been more impressive is if the hotshot attorney actually delivered something.

Even if that something were immediately thrown out of court, it would show that the character was making ground. Fighting back. I was really looking forward to some nice intellectual legal back and forth but Gosling’s prosecutor has nothing to give. He’s too busy looking for clues and being played by Crawford who manhandles him, and the court, like a mad puppeteer. The manipulation would have been a lot cooler if anyone offered him a true challenge but they all roll over like hungry dogs.

When Beachum finally does come up with his series of big revelations it’s too little too late. The audience has turned on the film and all the momentum from the great opening is lost. The reveal itself isn’t a bad one (though Yeo said she saw it coming) it just wasn’t clever enough to cover up the pointless road getting there. I love a big twist as much as the next guy by Fracture is clumsily built around that surprise, with a story that offers too few smaller turns to remain interesting.

If anything, it’s the acting that saves Fracture from being a complete wash. Gosling’s character’s tumble towards rock bottom is brought out well by the smaller character choices he made and a look behind his eyes of a determined but beaten man. I also really enjoy his establishment as a young, determined, and poor government employee with a winning percentage and aspirations for better things. In a film where it’s easy to be distracted by the ins and outs of the story, he’s able to make his character’s growth stand out.

Hopkins is clearly having a ball playing the smartest person in the room and he’s so joyfully smug that his in-and-out Irish accent is forgivable. There were times during the film where he plays the character almost like Matlock. Sort of this old country bumpkin that on the surface has nothing to offer but suddenly throws out a bomb that changes the case completely. It’s impossible not to love that.

What would have been ideal is a couple more scenes with the seasoned pro and amazing new talent facing off against each other. Those sparse one-on-one encounters are easily the most entertaining of the film and the movie would have benefited from a few more.

When Hopkins wasn’t around for an intimidation contest with Gosling, they had David Strathairn step in as his boss at the prosecutors office. Like either of the leads, he’s just incredible to watch. He brings a lot of dignity and respect to the part just by being himself. We don’t see him enough on the silver screen, in part because of all the talented older character actors we have working today. Between Brian Cox, Albert Finny, James Cromwell, Bill Nighy and a slew of other impossibly gifted, over 50, supporting character geniuses, there’s barely any room on screen these days. Strathairn has landed himself a plum role in the Bourne Ultimatum though. A really great franchise that I think he’ll slip into wonderfully.

Pointless Thrillers and intense courtroom dramas are a dime a dozen these days, and it takes something special to really make a movie set in that environment worth recommending. I had hoped that for Fracture, that speciality would be the mind games from Hopkins or the back and forth from two incredible performers. Fracture has both of those things but in limited doses. Not enough to make it one of the great thrillers of our day or even one of the better movies of either’s career. They relied too much on how intense looking for a gun can be.

Rating: 5 out of 10 - I wish I could recommend this movie but you’re likely to find a more compelling courtroom drama in a rerun of Law and Order. The acting is on a different level but the greatest performance isn’t going to save a story like the one in Fracture. I think what’s even more frustrating is that it could have been something great. This could have been a courtroom dram worth remembering like A Few Good Men, The Rainmaker or A Time To Kill. And we’ve been waiting a long time for another movie of that genre to really connect with audiences. As fine as the cast of Fracture is… the wait continues.

Not for me. I can’t imagine who would really be aching to add this to their shelf. Maybe old people that don’t know better and blindly buy anything the great Anthony Hopkins is in. Or maybe teenage girls that don’t know any better and blindly buy anything that Gosling is in. Both stars deserve rabid fans of all ages but Fracture isn’t going to be the film that reaches through the generations.

This joke is a cute one and something I think some of my friends will get a real kick out of. Especially one or two who have called me on being two cutesy in the comic in the past. This comic is plenty cute, but the punch line of Irv sitting there in uncomfortable silence is my nod that I too know how annoying cutesy jokes can be sometimes. Curse me for wanting to draw a comic I wouldn’t have to worry about my Mother seeing.

TMNT retraction: In the “About the Comic” section of last weeks TMNT comic I touched upon something that need to be readdressed. One of our regular board members, HeirToPendragon, had actually made the connection on the pimp boards that Cyclops and Leo are the same. Imagine how foolish I felt. He had post it in a TMNT thread that I was avoiding because I knew there were a few spoilers hiding in there and I wanted to go into the movie fresh. So, I wasn’t ripping him off, but he definitely beat me to the punch. Still… it was on my boards. That’s embarrassing.

I’ve tried to justify it to myself by saying that the joke is less about the comparison between the two characters and more about the term “Cyclops” being used as an insult. But I should read my own boards more carefully. If I had there would be a completely different comic. Props to H2P.

On tonight’s Triple Feature , Tom, Gordon and I will be discussing Hot Fuzz and the weekend’s big releases. We’ll also talk about Edward Norton being cast as the Hulk, Laurence Fishburn as the voice of the Silver Surfer, and a ton of other recent developments that have made fanboys sit up and take notice. Should be a good show.

This weekend was an interesting one. On Friday afternoon my mother called to tell me that she was in the emergency room after suffering a small stroke. It totally wrecked me and on Saturday Yeo and I drove down to south Jersey to visit her in the hospital. I don’t really want to go into the details of everything right now but it really has me thinking about life and the relationships I have with my family and friends. It’s scary. But what’s most important is that my mom is doing very well, is back at home, and is taking the necessary precautions towards not having another stroke ever again.

After a very long Saturday Yeo and I were looking forward to a lazy Sunday, but I couldn’t say no to Gordon who was in town for the weekend. And it was awesome hanging out with him, just kicking back, having some beers, watching Hot Fuzz, and talking about movies for the afternoon. It made me very excited about the summer comic conventions where I get to see everyone I talk to in the webcomic communities. This coming weekend Phil, Irv and I will be at the Pittsburgh convention, which should be a nice kick-off for the season. If you live in the area, stop by and say hello.

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

pimptour
@pimptour
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