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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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Vacancy

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry

Directed by: Nimród Antal

Sony Pictures - Visit the Official Site of the Movie

Discuss Vacancy on the boards!

We didn’t really need a cautionary tale about the dangers of weird, out-of-the-way hotels did we? Most people with common sense know to avoid these places, not so much because of a fear of physical danger, but more because… well, you just know those sheets haven’t been washed in a few weeks. With Vacancy, the new film from Hungarian director Nimród Anta (“Nimrod”? Seriously?), the characters barely have time to realize the bugs on the floor before snuff films are found and the walls are shaking. They may have noticed the filth as they were locking doors and looking for hiding places in the small, (but remarkably well used) hotel grounds, but I’m sure a grimy tile and a couple of mystery stains were the least of their worries.

Vacancy focuses on a feuding couple, Amy and David Fox, that get stranded on an empty back road when their car breaks down. With no mechanic open within walking distance at two in the morning, the pair decides to spend the night at the less-than-appealing but readily available hotel. After discovering a couple of video tapes featuring people being brutally murdered it’s not long before they realize the room in the video is the hotel room they’ve rented for the night, and that they may soon be the star of their very own video tape.

The killers toy with them, and they panic when they learn just how serious the situation is, but eventually Amy and David figure out how to fight back. Where as on the tapes, the victims freeze in fear, the Fox’s continue to watch in hopes of picking up on any of the killers’ mistakes that they can use it against them. “They’re powerful, but they’re dumb.” and that’s one of the things that keeps Vacancy on target.

You see, they’re not just victims. There’s a definite air of danger that either could die at any time, but because the couple is thinking quickly and acting faster, they’re able to outwit the killers and get the upper hand. That is until the next big problem presents itself. It’s a small hotel. There’s only so much running they can do.

It’s crucial that the arguing couple here is played by actors as convincing as Luke Wilson and Kate Bekinsale. Having performers that can bring depth and realism to the finer details of their character’s back-story brought so much credibility and realism to the overall film. In most horror movies it doesn’t matter if the victim’s lives are falling apart over a broken marriage or a lost child. Most of the audience is there for the chase or the big kill. But having the subtle and sincere performances established in these characters really holds weight in the latter part of the film and makes the chasing and killing mean something.

There’s a moment where Wilson has hidden his wife and is about to face their attackers and he turns to her and utters probably one of the most common phrases in the English language, and you really feel it. In any other movie it would have been just that phrase with nothing behind it, but because of what these characters have gone through and where they’re coming from, it’s the kind of line and performance that stands out and will really grab you.

Also, Bekinsale is totally hot.

I’m glad both these pros were there to keep things on track, but the real star of this movie is Frank Whaley who is an actor you’ll recognize, even if you’re not sure from where. He’s probably best known for playing the lead in Swimming with Sharks where he played the assistant of an abusive but about to be huge Kevin Spacey. He’s good in that movie but looses the battle against Spacey who had the golden touch back then. Now, with Vacancy, it’s Whaley’s turn to steal every scene and be the character everyone’s talking about on the way out.

As the hotel manager that baits the Fox’s into the trap (I’m not really giving to much away. Once they get there, things escalate fairly quickly) Whaley displays a level of creepiness and evil that you don’t see too often in modern horror movies. He’s the kind of villain that repulses you but that you can’t help but appreciate a little. Just because he’s so bad. I wish the film had done a little better so that it would gain Whaley a little attention. If he’s stepped up his game this much he needs to get into Scorsese or Spielberg’s next project and show the masses what kind of character actor he’s really capable of being.

Sadly, Vacancy got lost in the spring shuffle and will be more than wiped out this coming weekend as everyone prepares to see Spider-man 5 times each. And it’s a shame because there have been a lot of thrillers and horror offerings this year, but few that have reached the clever writing and sharp storytelling of Vacancy. I took a cheap shot at the director’s name but apparently Nimrod is Hungarian for “awesome”. In that case Vacancy is “Nimrod” and you’re all Nim-… dipshits… if you let this one slip by.

Rating: 9 out of 10 - I was really pleased with this one and found myself thinking of classic Hitchcock films that used small casts in limited spaces (Dial M for Murder, Rear Window) with such success. It makes the film more intimate. It’s like you’re watching a play with a really good special effects budget.

One thing I didn’t really touch on but that stood out was the score. There are times where it’s noticeable. Noticeable because it feels wrong. Specifically at the ending. Without getting into spoilers… the movie ends thematically with a feeling of calm, but the music implies that danger is still to come. I found that jarring and felt that the conflicting moods hurt the ending. The more time I spent away form it, the more I realized that we were only seeing one part of the story. There might have been more danger. Who knows what comes next? It was a resolution, that’s for sure, but in a movie where we’re taught to expect the unexpected, why should we expect to feel safe just before the credits roll?

Anyway, it was a great film and a great afternoon at the movies. Really smart and brisk. I won’t tell you not to see Spiderman this weekend, but add this one to your Netflix list now so that you don’t have to wait too long when it comes out on DVD.

It’s always so hard with horror films to decide if they’re DVD worthy or not. For most of these films there’s a certain level of suspense and shock that disappears after the initial viewing. Mainly because you know what’s going on. You know who’s going to live so why worry when their lives are threatened?

Only the best of the best horror movies can still hold their entertainment value after they’ve lost the element of surprise. Honestly, without seeing it again I won’t be able to say if Vacancy is one of those or not, but I was so impressed with the quality of the story and filmmaking that I’d be willing to say it has a better chance than most of the shock-horror we’re subjected to in theatres these days. Based on that I’m already itching to pick up Vacancy when it hits the DVD shelves.

Do you get it? If you don’t I don’t want to tell you because I feel like this is the kind of joke that you’ll appreciate more if you figure it out on your own. But if you were alive in the mid 90’s, then you were definitely exposed to everything you need to understand this gag.

Yeo questioned me doing this joke. She thought it was too risky. A lot of work for a joke that people are likely not to understand. My feeling is that to the people that don’t get it, this will just be another update, but to those that DO get it, it’ll be one of the best JLCM strips ever. Of course I could be over thinking it, and the joke is actually clear as day. You tell me.

There’s a game at Vacancy’s official site calledVacancy: ESCAPE! (Enter the site and click “GAME” to play) The game follows the plot of the movie where you find a snuff film and realize you’re the next potential next victims. You have to collect clues and hide from the killers to progress through the game. It’s done up like The Sims except with the constant threat of stabbing! Does that happen in The Sims? I never really played any of the expansion sets.

It’s a cool idea and worth playing for a little while online but as far as games go, it’s dirt easy. Even if you haven’t seen the movie and already know what to do and where to hide, the clues are all glowing on screen so it becomes a hiding game instead of a mystery solving/hiding game. That’s fine, but it’s not worth a second play. After a few minutes of it I was eager to just get caught and see what it looks like when Sims attack!

Resident Evil: Extinction - The latest and, most likely last (because that’s how trilogies work) movie in the Resident Evil franchise doesn’t hit theatres to this fall but after seeing the teaser trailer a half dozen times now, I’ve decided to get by geek on a little early.

My background with Resident Evil is checkered. I was to frightened to play the games myself but enjoyed watching my friends play through them. I loved the first movie to the point where I refused to buy the initial bare bones DVD release instead waiting nearly a year and a half for a special edition that came with a free ticket to RE: Apocalypse. Now that movie sucked. It was another great concept that failed to really come to life. And just for the record – Yes. I own that on DVD as well. With one hit and one miss I’ve decided that it’s ok to get excited about the third instalment. It couldn’t be worse than the second one right?

A shot of earth from space shows America where you can clearly see that the entire Midwest and eastern seaboard are covered in sand. Is this the effects of the nuclear attack on Racoon City? I hope so because it takes “zombie apocalypse” (or “Zombpocalypse” as it’s been coined in this thread on the Pimp boards) to a level that it’s never been at before. We’ve seen barns, malls and cities overrun by the dead, but nothing as close to a world taken by zombies as this movie. Sure there was Land of the Dead, but that was really a limited view and a lot of word of mouth. I’m sure things were right as rain in Europe. I would love it if RE:3 were to broaden that scope a little, and I think they might. Writer/producer tends to think on a larger scale. Usually larger than his budget, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Spider-Man 3 hits theatres this Friday and I don’t know how I feel about it really. While at the Pittsburgh Comic-con this past weekend, we were talking about us all getting together to see it in a group and I realized I’m not that excited about it anymore. Weird right? Well it doesn’t end there. I thought about it and realized I was actually more excited about the Drew Barrymore Eric Bana romantic comedy Lucky You, a movie that has been Impostered (pushed back) for over a year.

I feel just awful about it but the reason I’m not really looking forward to Spider-Man as much as I should be is because I, we, have been waiting for this thing for nearly 2 years. And in those years we’ve had time to speculate and hypothesize the thing to the point where I feel like I’ve already seen a dozen different versions of it. Now, will the movie surprise and entertain me? Of course, no one doubts that, but I can honestly say that I’m not as excited about this movie as I was 3 months ago. Or 6 months ago. Or even a year ago. Ask me again on Thursday night though and if I can manage to get my Mysterio costume off, I’ll let you know exactly how I’m feeling.

That’s it for today, but be sure to download last nights Triple Feature where we discussed the rotten performance of the major releases of the weekend as Spider-man 3 looms in the distance. I got a chance to see Next and Kickin It Old School and can honestly say neither is horrible, but both are worth waiting to rent. Get the full details tonight by listening to the show.

Last but not least – I was interviewed by Mike Rouse-Deane for Webcomics In Print where I discussed the new Matriculated Collection and some details of Turtle Vs. Bunny including when it will end and how it might continue. Check that out. Mike is a great guy who I’ve traded a few e-mails with over the past month or so. He’s got this big project in the works that I’m contributing to and it should be very cool. More news on that as it gets underway.

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

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