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.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Ed Harris, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Greenwood
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Walt Disney Pictures
The Official Site of National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Discuss National Treasure: Book of Secrets on the boards!
National Treasure: Book of Secrets is this holiday’s big sequel. More action, more treasure, more Nicolas Cage! (Seriously, the guy does like 5 movies a year. I acknowledge that he’s a legitimate movie star but he’s really just playing the percentages.) I’m all for more National Treasure though. The original, a surprise hit for Disney that took in a 35 million dollar opening weekend (round two up that to 45) gave the world a modern day Indian Jones with an American History theme and high-tech Short Round. In the long run, Cage’s character Benjamin Franklin Gates is no Dr. Jones, but when it comes to guys finding stuff, the fast-paced, smart adventure was some welcome filler.
Along with more action, adventure, and questions about Cage’s hairline we’re given some not-so-welcome additions to the franchise. Big name stars collecting paychecks, bad guys that we’re not sure if we should like or not and so many clues that we forget what our heroes were supposed to be looking for in the first place. You know… the standard sequel pitfalls that make you wish you’d just rented Temple of Doom in the first place. But even with its faults, National Treasure is hard to hate.
Book of Secrets picks up a couple years after the events of the first movie where the windfall of their first big treasure hunt has come back to haunt our three stars. Lovebirds Ben (Cage) and Abigail (Diane Kruger) are on the rocks and bickering over historically significant end tables in a very “like they’re not going to kiss and make up eventually” kind of way. Meanwhile, tech-wizard Riley (Justin Bartha) is coping with being the second banana of the world’s greatest treasure hunter, as the IRS cracks down on him for problems with that first big score. Mo money Mo problems.
After a quick introduction that rips away the high point of the original films ending, the new hunt is introduced. In comes Ed Harris accusing a Gates ancestor of being a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination. Well, obviously this doesn’t sit well with the Gates family, proud American’s that will now hunt down the truth to clear the family name!
This is a fantastic premise that launches the team into puzzle solving mode right off the bat, but things quickly go off track. The movie loses focus as clue after clue leads to bigger, potentially unrelated mysteries. Suddenly our characters are looking for Native American Cities of Gold and Presidential Books of Secrets and no one seems to be concerned at all with the movies original motivation of clearing the family name. In fact, even as the team rushes through said Golden Cities and thumbs through said Secret Books, I can’t say for sure how anything that happens in the last 15 minutes of the film accurately offers proof that Ben’s relative wasn’t involved in Lincoln’s death. I mean, I get what happen (spoiler free!) but the incentive that began the treasure hunt seemed to be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind when the credits rolled.
The addition of Harris and, the Queen herself Helen Mirren, is great even if the two characters teeter between being underused and misused all the way through the film. Mirren plays Ben’s mother and her relationship with Ben’s father (a returning Jon Voight) wonderfully echoes the same problems that Ben and Abigail are now having in their low key, post treasure hunting lives. Both couples suffer the Speed factor. A relationship built on adrenaline can’t last forever. If anything, this comparison reminds us that the National Treasure films are ones built around family and how the same passions and faults can be passed down from generation to generation.
As for Harris’ character I have only one problem – he’s all over the place! He’s essentially a more aggressive version of Ben with the same end goal of discovering the undiscovered and honoring his family’s name, and that’s fine, but are we supposed to hate him or admire him? It may not seem necessary to break it down to two extremes, but for a character that in one second will have a knife at your throat and in the next will be imploring you to (…trying to figure out a way to say this without spoiling the movie…) honor his discoveries, it’s easy to hate him and hard to feel sorry for him. Especially when Ben, the superior treasure hunter, tops him at every turn.
In the third act there are moments where it’s clear that you’re supposed to loath him. This is a lying manipulator that will do whatever he needs to reach his goal but for some reason, at movie’s end, we’re meant to revere him. At least a little anyway... I don’t buy it.
In the end Ben shows him a respect that I’m not so sure he deserved, and leaving the theater, the undefined role of this character left me cold. He’s a lot more complicated than the first movies baddie Sean Bean, and the complexity of the character only… um… complicates (?) the movies big climactic scene. Complexity can work, it doesn’t here. Sometimes a bad guy just needs to be bad.
But that’s nothing. For those of you that enjoyed the cat and mouse play between Cage and Harvey Keitel ‘s Government man hunter in the first film, don’t expect any of that this time around. Keitel sleepwalks through his 6 scenes barely registering any emotion making Cage’s wooden gaze, suddenly the most vibrant and appealing thing on screen. It was a disappointment considering how entertaining both actors can be, but how much can we expect when the pot is this full?
With 8 major players in a movie that’s average scene lasts about 45 seconds, it’s not uncommon that some characters and performances are going to get lost in the shuffle. But even with no spark from Keitel, an undefined villain, and a motivation lost in barrage of clues, the movie is still a blast! The sharp puzzles and character evolution are hopefully two things that will carry over to the inevitable part three. But unless they can think of something interesting for them to do, it may be time to trim the support. Maybe papa Gates gets kidnapped by Nixon’s ghost. That takes at least one talking head out of the equation plus you get… you know… Nixon’s ghost. I’d go see that.
Rating: 7 out of 10 - In comparison to the first film National Treasure 2 feels a little clumsy, a little unfocused. They should never have let Nic Cage pretend to be drunk even if he did win an Oscar for doing it 12 years ago. A handful of jokes fall flat in a silent, unimpressed audience, and the desperate attempt to make an American History movie appeal to a worldwide audience by taking a 15 minute trip to Paris and London feels unnecessary.
The first National Treasure scored huge overseas so they didn’t really need that appeal. But with a second movie the stakes must be raised, and a trip to Europe seems to be the go-to move these days. It’s not awful though, in fact the great escape from Buckingham Palace as well as the bit with the Queens desk is classic treasure hunting adventure, but couldn’t that just as easily been Ben Franklin’s desk?
It doesn’t matter. The movie is a good time either way, and I say that as someone looking past some obvious flaws and embracing the sheer fun and spirit that the movie inspires. I can’t wait for round three!
Absolutely. While the movie doesn’t have quite the same charm or drive as its predecessor it still proves to be a truly entertaining couple of hours. An adventure that I’m sure I’ll appreciate more the more often it spins around my DVD player. Plus, I really enjoy National Treasure as a franchise. I love the puzzles and the characters and I long to see the adventure continue. To ensure that happens the least I can do is shell out a few more dollars.
Tonight He Comes/Hancock - What is this movie even called? I could have sworn it was Hancock but some movie sites are favoring Tonight He Comes. IMDB prefers the former. I guess it doesn’t really matter right now. They’ve got until July 2nd to figure it out.
You heard me right. A big budget, special effects, block busting Will Smith movie is being released on “July 2nd”. It is officially the return of Big Willy Weekend! While there are some us out here that believe Big Willy Weekend never went away, there are others that actually saw Wild Wild West and would beg to differ. But with I Am Legend scoring so big this holiday it doesn’t matter how many weird, technological westerns Smith has ever made – he’s back on top and writing his own ticket. And if Hancock is half as good as the teaser makes it out to be, we might just find ourselves right in the middle of Big Willy Summer.
I’ll spare you the details of the trailer, just follow that link and check out this realistic take on superheroes in Hancock, a movie that should prove to be as laugh-out-loud funny as it is visually superb.
A quick thanks to Gordon for the shout out in last weeks Multiplex where he brought back to life an old JLCM “nerd” joke. And he did it quite well.
And since it’s Christmas and all, why not send your friends and family a JLCM themed Holiday card!? The AvP card that I made, as well as three other cards from other talented creators, are available for download or e-card via the good people at Clickwheel. Spread the cheer and have a great holiday everyone!
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