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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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Dan in Real Life

Starring: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Alison Pill, Brittany Robertson, Marlene Lawston, Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney, Emily Blunt

Directed by: Peter Hedges

Touchstone Pictures

The Official Site of Dan in Real Life

Discuss Dan in Real Life on the boards!

I didn't hate Evan Almighty but it was a stretch to like it. It's ridiculous and disrespectful for me to begin a review for one movie with the jaded memories of the star's last film, but for me, Evan has put Steve Carell's latest ,Dan in Real Life, into an awkward position of needing to be good. Of needing to follow-up strong. Evan was this big Hollywood movie that was the right choice career wise for Steve Carell, but completely stifling comedy wise. Good writing takes a backseat to family-friendly fluff and the overdone "white man dance". Again, I don't hate Evan Almighty, but it's never easy to watch someone you know is funny jumping through these Hollywood hoops.

You want him to be awkward (The Office) or genuine (Little Miss Sunshine) and as highly touted (and then disappointing) as Evan was, Carell had become a marked man. At least in my mind. Dan in Real Life didn't have to be successful, but it better be good. Otherwise I'd be calling for a boycott! At least for Carell's film career.

I'd never really do that. I don't have the energy let alone the mean streak to really commit to something so extensive, but thankfully I don't really have to. Because Dan turned out pretty good. It has its clichéd romantic comedy moments and treads the same family friendly tone that Evan dives into two-by-two, but Dan manages to stay above water with its remarkable buoyant heart.

Carell plays Dan, a widower with three girls that gives out life advice in the daily paper. As the youngest daughter puts it, Dan is "a great father, but not always a good Dad". As the girls are getting older, things like independence and young love threaten to distance them further and further from their lone parent. We've all been stupidly in love and felt like our parents couldn't understand us. It plays for some nice universal laughs here.

When the four head off to a big family retreat in Rhode Island we meet Dan's extended brood consisting of some really charismatic actors (including Dane Cook , John Mahoney and Dianne Wiest) performing just as charismatically together on screen. It instantly feels like a real family, although a very ideal one. The lack of snapping and bickering makes you wish your family were this close and loving. It's a dream family. Credit to the great actors and actresses for making such a warm and inviting environment.

On the first morning Dan heads into town by himself and meets Marie, an exotic stranger played by Juliette Binoche . This is the first time I've seen Binoche on screen and I wasn't sure what to expect from this highly acclaimed actress of foreign film who's dipped her toe into Hollywood's pond only sparingly in the past. But I'm glad this delightful little story could seduce her into the mainstream again because I was completely charmed by her. As was Dan who is quickly won over by the smart and beautiful stranger.

She comes off instantly as "out of Dan's, or anyone else I knows, league". Regardless, sparks fly, connections connect and phone numbers are exchanged even though the mysterious Marie is upfront about an even more mysterious boyfriend. Dan doesn't care. True connections like this in life are rare and it's the first time he's felt this way since he lost his wife.

Of course the boyfriend, Mr. Mystereo, ends up being Dan's brother (Cook). Lucky us because the awkward comedy genius that we've fallen in love with on TV is finally given something to act stupid about. Dan tries desperately to resist his natural attraction to Marie but fails miserably as he makes a fool of himself over and over again.

This could play horribly, but in the right hands I think that Dan and Marie's budding feelings are able to play very sweetly in the less than perfect situation. Even when things inevitably come to a head, no one is ever vilified in the eye of the audience. You root for everyone. You root for love.

Is that too corny? In the eye of some folks, Dan in Real Life will be overall "too corny". It has lots of heart and takes advantage of some tried and true formulas we've seen a dozen times too many on screen, and for some people it'll be too much. But in a season filled with empty comedies, one drama after another, not to mention monsters and madmen ruling the top spots, it's awesome to have something this sweet and this real brighten up the fall. It's not the best romantic movie ever, the best comedy ever or the best anything ever, but it's not trying to be. It's not trying to be When Harry Met Sally or Duck Soup, but most of the movies that try that hard to be that good usually end up like Evan Almighty. Dan in Real Life manages to be really good without trying to be. No boycott.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 - I'm trying desperately not to overrate this movie. As much as I enjoyed it, and as much as I felt like it was just what I needed at that time, it's still just an above average silly romantic comedy. I mean, how is this different than The Family Stone or Rumor Has it…? I'm trying to look at it realistically. 6.5 feels right.

I wanted to take a moment here to talk about the movie's music. Dan in Real Life is scored entirely by Sondre Lerche, which could be a band name or one dude, but I wouldn't begin to try and pronounce it correctly either way. The music is wonderful though. Light, folky, jingle-jangle acoustic stuff that includes a cover of "Let My Love Open the Door" (which Carell and Cook perform in the film) that all sound awesome behind Lerche's whine and strum. While the movie could have used a few more recognizable songs to help the audience transition into the moment, Lerche's tunes are delightfully original and unique.

I'm still a little to young and angry to pay money to own a movie this sweet on DVD, but I suspect it'll be nice to curl up with on a lazy weekend.

I really didn't want to make fun of this movie. It seemed like it would be easy to poke fun at families or Carell and just have this be another strip taking a cheap shot. Sometimes it just feels better to let those jokes go.

Instead I decided to go with a true moment that crumbles into a fart joke. I don't do this often but when I do I tend to enjoy it. The last time was about a year ago with the brilliant comedy Stranger Than Fiction. That's another movie that deserved something better than a cheap shot. Though to be fair it deserved more than a fart joke as well. Still, I'll sleep easier having made fun of my own strip than had I poked fun at a movie that didn't really deserve it.

In today’s comic Irv helped me out by delivering a much-needed punch line. That’s what friends are for, to help each other when they need it the most. And it works both ways, just like last Friday when Irv asked me to fill in for him on his strip Fish Tank Tango. Irv has created a great world with Fish Tank and it was a lot of fun to step in and deliver a nice violent gag. If you’re not familiar with the strip, spend some time catching up.

That’s it for now but I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! If there are any really cool movie-themed costumes out there be sure to e-mail me some pics.

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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