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.
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard, Lena Olin, Christopher McDonald
Directed by: Joby Harold
The Official Site of Awake
Discuss Awake on the boards!
The big draw, or deterrent depending on how strong your stomach is, for the new thriller Awake is centered around a condition called Anesthesia Awareness. Something the affects 30,000 of the 21,000,000 that undergo general aesthetic each year. This leaves the patient completely paralyzed but awake. Able to feel the surgery but not able to warn anyone around them.
Hayden Christensen’s character, a young, successful business man with a secret girlfriend and a clingy mother, has a sick ticker and because he’s awake for it… you feel every second of his heart transplant. The scenes where they're cutting into him, buzz-sawing through his rib cage and cranking him open as he screams and tries to focus on pleasant thoughts were almost unbearable. I found myself clutching my chest and gritting my teeth assuring myself right on along aside his shrieking inner monologue that it would “almost be over”. It's a very effective sequence.
To me this was something I had to see. I’d never heard anything about Anesthesia Awareness and wanted to learn what kind of risks our average Joes are under every time we get something removed or tuned up. As appealing it was to me, it seems to have been equally disconcerting to the majority of moviegoers that have expressed no interest in sitting through another torture porn movie in disguise.
To that I would say that the scene is hard to watch but not exploitive. It’s about coping not pain. They show you what the inside of a human being looks like but at no point does squirting blood hit the camera or a skulking figure swat at an unsuspecting damsel. This isn’t a horror movie.
While frozen by the anaesthetic, but still aware, Christensen finds out the first of three big surprises in the movie. The trailers feature one pretty prominently so I'm going to share it with you. The doctors performing the surgery are plotting to kill him. Why you ask? It has nothing to do with Attack of the Clones, but if I told you why I'd be spoiling surprise number two.
Looking back, surprise two is the most obvious of the three, but in the context of the movie it hit me like a freight train. Credit to the performers that act convincingly enough to distract you from what’s really going on. Unlike with Surprise three, which as the story develops you'll see coming a mile away. (Later tomorrow I’ll create a spoiler post on the board for anyone interested enough to know about the surprises, but not motivated enough to actually sit through a Hayden Christensen movie. Check here later.)
Christensen’s character begins to take a journey through his memory. It’s actually a great way to do the conventional flashback reveal of all the little clues in the beginning of the movie that we should have seen coming a mile away. While he can’t really do anything to save himself in dreamland, the flashbacks round out the characters. Falling in love with Jessica Alba’s character but having to keep it secret from his Oedipal mother, the death of his father and the reason he’s blocked it out for years. It’s all good stuff.
With Christensen and Alba in the leads, this isn't exactly a meeting of the minds on the acting front. No one's comparing Awake to De Niro and Pacino getting a very intense cup of coffee in Heat, but I feel like each holds their own. Alba in particularly who really shocked me in comparing the first half of the movie when she's the secret girlfriend to the second half of the movie where the relationship is out in the open. She could use a few more juicy roles like this to prove to the world that she's more than pouty lips and a little side boob.
Christensen gets such a bad rep these days. So he ruined the best Sci-Fi franchise of all time... big whoop. Rent Shattered Glass, the kid knows what he's doing. Though that might not be clear as he sort of sleepwalks through Awake. In all fairness, he spends most of the movie either drugged or dying.
Even with a somewhat conclusion that takes an unexpected (unrealistic?) turn, I think it’s safe to say that there probably aren’t too many critics out there taking advantage of the easy dig on Awake. There won’t be any gags about falling a sleep in the theater or the movie being a “nightmare”, because it’s a pretty good movie. At the same time there will be no praise. Awake wants wants to be the 6th Sense, it wants to leave you stumbling from the theater dizzy with excitement. You’ll walk out entertained but in a perfectly straight line.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10 - Last Friday I felt like I had a good grasp on Awake. I felt that I was very realistic about it. It was good, I was impressed and entertained by the ins and outs of the story, the build of suspense and unique approach, but I still knew that it was hardly the best 2007 had to offer. A week later, after a screening of Juno and practically living with Superbad on in the background, it’s hard for me to muster up much enthusiasm at all about a movie like Awake. As jazzed as I was leaving the theater, little of that excitement stuck with me through the weekend. Nothing on par with movies like No Country for Old Men or Southland Tales, two films I’ve had virtually an impossible time keeping out of my head. The more I think about them, the more they resonate with me and the more I enjoy them for what they are. You could hardly say the same about Awake.
Perhaps if audiences had embraced it at all my initial reaction would have had time to linger, but a 4th place 6 million dollar opening shut the door on that pretty quickly. And with no one to talk about it with, I was happy to let it go. With the big holiday releases firing up Awake will be a distant dream before we know it. By the time we figure out exactly what Will Smith is hiding from in I Am Legend you won’t even be able to sneak into this well-done but forgettable thriller.
Nah, and it’s not likely it’ll make its way to our Netflix cue considering I spelled out the complete story to Yeo earlier this week. She agreed that it sounded interesting but was glad I didn’t drag her along to it. Like most folks she seemed to find the concept intriguing but ultimately remained put off by the looming threat of the surgery scene. Something that potentially borders on slasher film gore, even if that’s not quite the case.
I would recommend a rental to others though. I even implored a friend of mine to download it because I respect his opinion and was curious what he though. Alas, the allure of Jessica Alba scantily clad wasn’t enough to push him over the edge and I’m stuck comparing my thoughts of the film to strangers on Facebook. It’s just as well I suppose.
In Bruges - In Bruges, the first feature film from Oscar winner (Best Short Film, Live Action for 2005’s Six Shooter) Martin McDonagh, unfortunately focuses on the lamest part of any hitman’s job. Laying low. This is an important part of any big plan but also one so boring that no one ever dared actually make a movie about it. It would be like, on the police end of things, making a movie about a stakeout. (Yeah, I know they made two of those, but do you know anyone that actually saw AND enjoyed them?) How much fun can it be to watch somebody wait for it to be ok to walk around in public? I’m sure they have a few aces up their sleeve but the trailer dovetails after its opening where Colin Ferrell is taking out his target. If the movie does the same we’ll be in for a long night.
Still, the movie seems to have its own style, a great cast and a fun upbeat approach. At the very least it’s nice to see Ferrell back on screen. I am a fan, and after a couple of years of chasing Oscar, and a couple more years making Miami Vice, it’s really great to see him come back with something that has this kind of style, humor and violence. It’s so well suited to him and looking over his resume it’s hard to believe that the closest he’s come to this in the past is the part of Bulleseye in Daredevil. If Bruges does well we could see a completely new resume build out of it.
I think though that the movies title will be its downfall. It’s too odd. Most people won’t even be able to pronounce it and of those that all ready know how, I bet that half would spell it wrong anyway. I feel like they’ll lose a good portion of their target audience to people that write it off as a prestige foreign film from its title alone. Personally I feel like the movies tag line, “Shoot First, Sightsee Later” would have made a more interesting title, but what do I know? This movie is probably going to be huge.
Thanks for reading guys, and a special thanks to all those that offered well wishes on the 300th strip. I’ve been down playing it, but part of me is still very pleased and proud and hearing from you guys always brightens my day. Next up is Golden Compass! See you 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