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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.

Evan Almighty

Starring: Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, John Michael Higgins Jonah Hill, Molly Shannon

Directed by: Tom Shadyac

Universal Pictures - Official Site of the Movie

Discuss Evan Almighty on the boards!

As we left for the theater on Friday night to see Evan Almighty, the sequel to the wildly successful Bruce Almighty, I turned to my wife and asked, “Are we even excited about this?” I wasn’t. At least not as much as I should have been. Evan has been touted for months as one of the projected comedy cornerstones of 2007. There’s no reason not to expect it to be with the return of Bruce’s director Tom Shadyac who’s work is polished like plastic but generally worth a few solid laughs, as well as an impressive comedic cast led by Steve Carell who’s streak is hotter than any comedian in Hollywood right now.

But as a shuffled my feet the 8 blocks from my house to the theater, wondering more about what I would eat for dinner than what I would have to look forward to in the film, I couldn’t manage to muster the slightest bit of excitement for Evan. I think in part because of how luke-warm Bruce Almighty left me. That movie is funny as hell but dreadfully long and overly preachy. Evan would more than likely be more of the same. Except with the edition of children and animals, which of course means an influx of dumbed-down family humor. Sure enough, before the opening credits are over the entire family has prayed together, and Evan has had a dog’s snout in his crotch. I settled on the chicken.

In the film, Carell as Evan is approached by God and put with the challenge of building an ark. A task that has animals flocking to him and his hair growing endlessly. Something that obviously disrupts every aspect of his life from his brand new Congressional career to his fragile but loving family life, but in the long run makes him (and the audience!) a better person (people!). God is played again by Morgan Freeman who is just perfect in the part. It’s like God is your Grandpa, even if he is telling you that he’s going to obliterate everything you know with water. Thanks for the heads up Grandpa. Seriously, Freeman brings such a great quality to the role. I thought to myself during his performance that if God were to ask me to build a boat - I would probably do it. But if Morgan Freeman asked me to build a boat I would say, “how big and what should I wear.”

Though Evan speaks to God directly on numerous occasions, the screenwriter’s wisely avoided too many direct connections to spirituality. Evan’s motivation to build the ark is about faith, but it’s just as much about being a good person and not stressing out about what you think is important. Those are universal themes that even non-Christians can relate too. Bruce Almighty was overrun with direct references not just to faith in general but Christianity specifically, and it came off judgmental at the same time as it ostracized anyone with a conflicting faith. Probably not such a big deal considering Bruce broke the 200 million dollar mark after a 60 million dollar opening (Evan barely cracked half of that in the past weekend), but even as someone who believes what they’re preaching, I appreciated Evan’s more universal approach.

Unfortunately, while they were trimming out the direct references to Christianity they also managed to crop out the big laughs we were expecting. Don’t get me wrong… there are plenty of funny, subtle moments in the film that will have you laughing out loud, but not nearly on the scale as the films predecessor. Off the top of my head I could name for you five scenes in Bruce Almighty that are classic comedy moments, but to do the same for Evan is a bit of stretch. Obviously the stars have a very different approach to the way they work but I’m talking about big classic moments that Steve has showed us before like the wax removal in The 40-Year Old-Virgin and the possession scene in Bruce Almighty. Those are classic moments in modern comedy. But with Evan all we get is beard gags and bird poop. It’s cute, I giggled, I’m not complaining, but who does Jesus have to raise from the dead for us to get a really well scripted scene of situational comedy?

The scripts lackluster broad comedy is saved by a great cast (Carell included) who prove that a well delivered line can make up for the lack of a humorously scripted scenario any day of the week. Wanda Sykes (who I like but have never loved as much as everyone else in the world seems to) plays Evan’s assistant and lays out one zinger after another with the majority of them hitting their mark. The rest of his congressional team including two improve super studs in Jonah Hill and John Michael Higgens round out a deadly foursome who will have you hooting every time they're together. As much as I missed some larger, crowd roaring jokes, it was really cool to see dialogue and performance get spotlighted in a film like this. Even if I was the only one laughing.

But laughs are to be expected. What’s less expected is how seriously this movie treats its conflicts. When Evan is forced to admit to the world that he’s building an ark he’s dubbed as crazy, mocked openly, suspended from his job, and abandoned by his family in a heartbreaking scene where no one wins. Had they not made the consequences so severe, Evan’s decision to build the ark would have been less significant. With everything on the line the strength of the story and the character all jump up a notch. A lot of credit to Carell who was able to carry both ends of the character as well as John Goodman as Evan’s adversary and Graham as Evan’s wife, who have to switch from clever quips to serious life lessons at the drop of a hat. Or the growth of a beard, as it were. Graham pleading for the return of her husband will tear you up inside and it’s important that it does, because we need that to care about what happens to Evan. Other wise he really is just some crazy guy building a boat.

A lot has been made about the movies inflated production and excessive costs. I don’t really want to get into it other than saying, there’s a lot of money on the screen. The flood sequence is beautiful. Very impressive, even by today’s standards. Plus there’s a lot of animal work, which is notoriously difficult and expensive. Do you think it’s cheap to get a lama to hold a hammer in his mouth or spit on cue?

And of course there is a massive life lesson at the end of the film. A few actually, but even though they’re pretty universally “Be Good” sort of messages, I suspect they won’t hit their mark with everyone. Evan dangerously teeters between corny and credible when it comes to driving the final points home, and unless you have anything invested with the characters, your eyes will roll 4 rows back. The best example I can give you of this is: When asked why God choose him, Evan replies, “He chose all of us.” A little sappy, granted, but I was with them. The story had hooked me. But had I not been invested at all, that line would have been the funniest bit in the whole film.

Evan Almighty won’t change your life, though it will try. It won’t make you pee your pants with laughter, but it will try. But what it will do though is keep you entertained and amused for a couple of hours, and make your have to decide what you want for dinner on the spot.

Rating: 6 out of 10 - Evan Almighty is worth waiting for I think. It’s cute, fun and non-offensive, but 11 bucks times two if you’re on a date might feel like a bit much. Go see Knocked Up again and wait for the beard and birdie show when it’s released on DVD.

Nah, not for me. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie but I can’t figure out if my fondness of the film after the fact has more to do with it being “genuinely good” or it just “not as bad as I expected it to be”. Evan Almighty should be bad, it’s a dangerous formula, and I’m afraid that if I buy it on DVD and watch it a couple of times, I might realize that it is awful after all. How many times can Evan’s warm and fuzzy message play before it starts to feel forced and sugar sweet. For most people I’m sure, the first go ‘round was enough.

Bruce Almighty - In an interview for Evan Almighty with the E Network of all places, I heard director Tom Shadyac say that he likes to find what it is each performer does best and play the movie to those strengths. With Jim Carrey, he’s funniest when he’s doing stuff to other people. That’s part of the reason his “gone mad with power” scenes in Bruce are some of the funniest he’s ever done. With Carell, Shadyac explained that audiences respond better when things are being done to him. The best example of this is the scene in Bruce where Carrey posses Carell live on air. It’s actually the perfect meeting of the two comedians at their best, according to Shadyac.

I’m not sure how much there is to his theory, but he seems to be on to something. I’m not even sure if it’s fair to compare the two movies with each other at all though. Each movie stands on its own even with crossover cast and crew as well as similar themes and target audiences. But they’re very different films. Evan is safe and a little predictable. Bruce is a little riskier and inventive. At the same time Bruce meanders and looses my attention, while Evan’s brisk pace and quite charm keep me engaged. In a lot of ways it’s a toss up, but in the long run I’d rather laugh my ass off, and I would give that prize to Carrey as Bruce.

Ok, this isn’t as random as you might think. Today’s strip features Jesutron, a character that first appeared in the strip for The Da Vinci Code and who later showed up in The Omen. I love the character but it’s very difficult to reintroduce him and not alienate new readers. Honestly, how do you explain that suddenly Jesus is a Transformer?

Many of you may remember that Jesutron was an airplane transformer, in fact even in his robot form I designed a lot of his parts around Starscream, but in this latest incarnation, he’s a boat. I admit that it’s not something I wanted to do. It creates another aspect of an already confusing character that needs to be explained. I almost introduced an all-new Disciplecon called Arkbot. But in the end I didn’t want to get rid of the “But you are a boat!” line. Ask Yeo, I kept saying it over and over again the other night. Besides, he’s the Son of God, is he not allowed to be one of those triple transformer deals?

Yeo has Harry Potter fever. I do as well to an extent, but it’s not nearly as life threatening as Yeo. I was reading through the series, and she decided she would give it a shot to. She read about 20 pages of Chamber of Secrets before she got bored reliving the movie and jumped on to Azkaban. From there she tore on through Goblet of Fire and came to the conclusion that she didn’t care if she hadn’t seen the movie yet – she was going to read Order of the Phoenix. Her exact words were, “I want to be that person that nit picks the movie.” To which I replied, “Oh, you mean ‘A Jerk’?”.

When Goblet of Fire was originally released in theatres I did DVD reviews on the previous three movies, and in one of them, an angry mother tells Dumbledore to kiss her muggle ass . Fan reaction was great and we decided to do a limited T-shirt run.

We had always said that it was a one-time thing, but Phil and I got to talking and realized that with the release of the seventh book and the fifth movie next month, it might be a nice time to do a second run. People have asked me throughout the last year if the shirts would ever be printed again and the answer was always “no.” But the stars have lined up and it feels like a good time to break it out of the vault. I admit – part of the reason to do this is money. These things will sell well at the conventions and it’ll build a nice little nest egg for a JLCM collection, something I would love to see debut next year at New York Comic Con.

But the bottom line is… the Kiss My Muggle Ass shirts are back, and available to order! But like last time this is a limited time offer. After a brief preorder period these babies will be put it back in the Disney vault or whatever our equivalent to that is. So Preorder now, and up until July 13th. Don’t miss this opportunity to offend and confuse old people.

Oh, and don’t forget to tune in tonight and listen to the Triple Feature. We missed last week so there will be plenty to catch up on tonight!

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

@SCORPDLM @joedunn721 Did I say days? I meant weeks (months?). Sorry about that but they're available in the store... https://t.co/yw3fNlT8PK
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When your away from a spot where you built a rapport with the bartender and you're away for three weeks and once yo... https://t.co/VpJqiTWoZV
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@joedunn721 Unbelievable how many steps back we are taking.
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