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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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Bee Movie

Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Chris Rock

Directed by: Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith

Dreamworks

The Official Site of Bee Movie

Is there any bug that you don’t swat at? At least when you were little right? I mean, you’re old enough now to know that you shouldn’t be stomping spiders or taking a rolled up newspaper to a fly, or a magnifying glass to an ant hill (psychoooo), but when you were a kid the gut reaction was to strike first and ask questions later. So are there any you wouldn’t swat?

Fireflies, of course, but only because you’d trap them in an under-ventilated jar that would be filled with dead fireflies come morning. (I just pretended they fought to the death.) But aside from bugs that light up it was pretty standard to slap them and scrape them out of your life.

Except for bees. Because you didn’t want anything to do with bees. Growing up you’re taught, “Leave the bees alone or they will sting you.” Which somehow evolved into bees intentionally wanting to sting you, like they’re the evil jerks of the bug world. The truth is, they’re just like us. They work hard all day and just want to come home to a little honey. Jerry Seinfeld’s latest project, Bee Movie takes a look at the a bug we’re all afraid of.

We hook up with the story as a bee named Barry (Seinfeld) is graduating college and off to join the working week. He realizes quickly that a monotonous life of doing the same thing everyday is not for him. He longs for new experiences and the unknown, setting his sites outside the hive! Thank God, because the hive stuff is boring. Standard “bugs are just like people” stuff that you’d find in any animated movie featuring things that shouldn’t be talking… somehow talking. Some of it is clever, some of it is fun, but all of it slows down the story.

Things don’t really pick up until it’s revealed that bees can talk to humans. Not just buzz in their direction, but actually communicate with them. This opens the door for a whole new world of complications that the movie takes advantage of. Perhaps too much. When Barry realizes humans are harvesting and selling the precious honey that he and his people work so hard to create, he does what anyone would do. He sues the human race.

Try to shake the “Do bees even have rights?” question out of your head long enough to realize your watching a talking bug cartoon and just go with it. Because it gets us out of the animated routine of the hive. It takes us into the big bad city where Barry meets new friends, has conversations about things besides honey and zips in and out of traffic like a name-appropriate-sized Spider-Man. Those scenes are actually stunningly animated and so much fun on the big screen

Of those friends, first contact is made with Vanessa Bloome, a flower shop owner played by Renée Zellweger who’s squeaking voice brings an alluring innocence to the character. But it doesn’t hurt that Vanessa is very well drawn… if you know what I mean. Fine - She’s hot. Inappropriately enough for an animated film anyways. I’m mean she’s not Jessica Rabbit or anything, and it’s not like Ariel and those crazy seashells, but in a dream sequence Barry has, her skirt was “a little too short” and other things were “a little too perky”. I found it distracting, but not nearly as much as Barry’s crush on her. Though I shouldn’t be complaining. It leads into today’s comic strip quite nicely. (WINK!)

As random and strange as the plot may sound with its unfounded lawsuits and girl-on-bee fantasy sequences, the movie works fine. It takes a lot of bizarre turns but none so sharp that the story suddenly doesn’t make sense. The story moves along quickly remaining upbeat and very sweet, and that’s great - It’s enormously important for an animated movie to have heart - but for a film so prominently promoted as “Jerry Seinfeld’s next big project”, it’s a little light on the laughs. I found that the humor throughout has the feel of Seinfeld’s observational style, but rarely reaches for a joke that goes beyond its kiddie target audience.

Not that they didn’t try to wrangle a few adults in with the marketing. Remember all those writer’s room commercials in NBC prime time, the special appearances on shows like 30 Rock and Oprah, and commercials late at night where the Bee Movie crew so kindly reminded us that McDonalds is a great place to have breakfast. Even in a Bee Hive apparently. None of that is for kids. It was almost as if this was being market just as much as a Seinfeld movie as it was an animated children’s movie. That’s kind of odd, I mean, Toy Story was never promoted as a Tom Hanks vehicle, even if we all knew he was in it. But maybe it should have.

By pushing Jerry as the figurehead of the film they broadened their audience to everyone that watched and loved his sitcom. That’s a lot of people (I’d wager something like 85% of the people that are reading this right now were/are fans) and they’d be foolish not to take advantage of that. Not that it worked necessarily.

I bought into it. Part of me thought that maybe, because of Seinfeld, Bee Movie would elevate itself over the standard animated fluff. But it doesn’t. The story is sweet, the chuckles are genuine and plentiful but this is just another movie to slap on the pile of fun and entertaining animated kid’s features that you’ll forget about in a month. And it only adds to the shadow of that pile blocking out the small stack of groundbreaking animated features that are actually worth seeing twice.

Rating: 6 out of 10 - The kids will dig it and if parents can get beyond the odd plot line they’ll have a good time too. But it certainly won’t act as a distraction long. BEE prepared to have your kid’s begging for that Shrek The Third DVD next week.

The movie has a nice little message about how important everyone is and how we all have to work together for this world of ours to keep spinning. And there’s a lot of truth there. Specifically with bees as reports indicate that unless we can artificially figure out a way to pollinate the plants of the world, the human race will die off 4 years after the bees do. Scary stuff that the movie points out seriously, but without being too ominous.

Pass. It's fun and light but to be honest - I think I'm over animated movies. It's the same stories, the same standard of animation… There's nothing new anymore. I'll start buying animated DVD's again when something fresh and exciting manages to make its way to theaters. Watch, I'll be eating my words in a week when the big swords and bare breasts of Beowulf kick me in the ass.

Last week I delivered a couple of comics that took a shot a Irv's character. Real life Irv wasn't offended at all but I felt kind of bad for exploiting our real and cartoon friendship. I felt like he deserved some payback, and this lame joke about wordplay was the perfect opportunity.

I don't usually go in for word gags like this, but after watching the parade of puns in Gene Shalit's review (Bee Movie deserves a "hive five"?) I couldn't resist. How awesome would it have been if he'd actually said Bee-astiality? "Back to you, Bryant!"

I was all set to devote this section of the review to a game on Bee Movie's official site called New Hive City. It's a charming little Sim City-esque strategy game where you collect nectar, make it in to honey and use that as money to hire new bees and build up the hive and so forth. It's fun. But while sitting in my car waiting for it to be safe to park (part of the curse of city living is "alternate side of the street parking rules") I was listening to Opie and Anthony rag on Larry King after a somewhat awkward interview with Seinfeld who was there promoting Bee Movie.

That particular clip focuses on King questioning the end of Seinfeld's sitcom, but Opie and Anthony played more of the interview where the out-of-touch newsman challenges Jerry's interpretation of the Bee world in his latest movie. Seinfeld was too quick to let him get the upper hand though and King was too slow to properly respond. It gets weird. Weirder still when it turns out that King is actually in Bee Movie. (!?)

I may be misinterpreting it because while Seinfeld looked a little frustrated by the experience he's smart enough not to burn bridges with the most popular news channel in the world. Still, I don't think we'll be seeing "Bee Larry King" in any sequels.

Kung Fu Panda - When the trailer for Kung Fu Panda started up I admit that I was kind of excited. Sure it's just another pack of talking animals, wearing clothes and pretending they're people but the animation is smooth, the character designs are fun and… well, I'm easy to please.

Things were going great as we're introduced to a group of critters that both fight in and actually are the animals that their styles are named after. Tiger, Crane, Viper, Monkey Mantis - you get the idea. So where's the Panda? Oh, well he's the bumbling oaf that contradicts the perfect fighting force this mini-zoo would be if he weren't around. And his buffoonish innocents is cast perfectly with Jack Black in his first starring animated role. It's a shame he's the least interesting character of the bunch.

I don't know what it is but the trailer just stalls when he shows up. Po the panda just represents the same bumbling, loveable loser character we've seen a thousand times before and I'd much rather see what the rest of the group has to say. Especially when Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen are the ones doing the talking.

Kung Fu Panda doesn't come out until next year, so the fact that we're seeing a teaser trailer for it now means that it's going to be one of the big animated tent poles for 2008. Reaction in the circles I run in has been so enthusiastic (sarcasm!) that they're demanding a return to 2-D movies, but that doesn't mean the hype won't be there when Panda eventually hits screens. It's easy to not be a fan of Black right now as it has been a while since he's really delivered some solid laughs, but with the much anticipated Be Kind Rewind coming out between now and then, I think we'll have a lot of converts anticipating more of his work.

Thanks for reading guys. More soon!

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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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