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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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Rambo

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Reynaldo Gallegos, Jake La Botz, Paul Schulze

Directed by: Sylvester Stallone

The Weinstein Company

The Official Site of Rambo

Discuss Rambo on the boards!

A year after the Rocky Balboa’s swan song writer/director Sylvester Stallone resurrects his second most recognizable character of all time, John Rambo. This negative, world-weary warrior is the polar opposite of the lovable optimist Rocky and it’s been 20 years since Rambo’s been seen on screen gunning down whatever era would-be-world dominator is most popular at the time, but his return is a welcome one.

Sure Rambo reeks of career desperation and the attempt for box office success that comes with grade A familiarity, but the character offers so much more. Rambo marks not just the return of an 80’s action icon but also the return of good old-fashioned 80’s action! In your face, balls to the wall, a third catch phrase… and on and on. At least that’s what it promised.

Stallone drops the possibility of in depth character development pretty early on in the film. I don’t think anyone went in expecting depth of character or complex plot progress, certainly not on par with the first Rambo film First Blood, but I'm not sure I was really impressed with what the movie did promise us. It certainly wasn't the "Super Bowl of action movies" that the TV spots were touting it to be.

Weirdly enough it was some of the bare character stuff I enjoyed the most. It was cool to see where Rambo ended up after 20 years later and see how he's sort of given up on the world. As a snake trapper/tour guide in the jungles of Burma Rambo has withdrawn form a world he can no longer make sense of. A brooding Rambo is a good Rambo but it was refreshing to see that he was realized enough of a character that a hot piece of ass (the lovely but lost with nothing to do Julie Benz) could still shake him out of his funk. Obviously this end of the film isn't built up as well as it should be, despite an attempt to bring the real world troubles of Burma to the forefront, but like everyone's saying and everyone knew going in, “character” wasn’t what we're supposed to expect. And I wasn't disappointed with that. Things like the homemade machete making and the flashback nightmares were brilliant touches on where Rambo has ended up. Just enough where I felt content.

But I can’t say the same for what should come second nature – the gunplay! Now, I’m not saying that the action was awful. Not even close. Some of this stuff is spot on perfection. When it's good, it's REALLY good and very reminiscent of the hard as nails 80’s action that hit 8-year-old me so hard that my balls dropped.

For the most part, every action sequence is shot brilliantly. Really fast but really clear, which is always a plus in my book. And it's brutal. Not just the limbs being lopped off or the buckets of blood painting the jungle setting, but real action you can FEEL. When Rambo grabs someone and shoves him against a wall - you feel it. When the arrows are unleashed and they whip snap guys off their feet - you're right there with 'em. All of that was brilliant. Really well done. Perfect. Action movie 101.

But the action loses me when it becomes too reliant on visual effects. A guys foot being shot clean off his leg during mid sprint requires a little post production work and it looked great, but did they really have to use the fake, digitally-created bursts of blood every single solitary time someone gets hit? Is there a squib shortage in Burma? Actually I'm sure there is but certainly not in Hollywood.

Normally these effects wouldn't be so noticeable and I wouldn't mind nearly as much except that there were some scenes where it just looked fake. The exploding blood was too clean and too perfect especially against a smoky background. It stood out. I think these scenes are a testament to how important practical effects are in filmmaking and how they shouldn’t be abandoned so quickly even if we can reproduce them on a computer.

What’s more, the longer the violence went on the more I began to lose interest. In the final scene it's just one guy after another being bucked down by Rambo’s mighty gun. After a while I tuned it out. Don't get me wrong there are some magnificent action sequences and really cool uses of violence in this film but it's like they ran out of ideas at the end there. Rambo's not an action hero he's just the guy that found the biggest gun.

But I’ve found over the past week or so that I’m kind of the minority here. Sure critics tore Rambo a new one but fans responded with nothing but love. Stallone came out and delivered a bloody, fast-paced adventure that has everyone in the audience stomping their feet and clapping their hands. And nothing could make me happier. I love the character and I’m a big fan of Stallone so for Rambo to come back and find such an out pouring of love really makes me smile, even if I can’t include myself among them.

Rating: 6 out of 10 - I wish I could say I had a blast at this film but it only barely scratches the same glory of First Blood or any of the classic 80's action movies I worshipped as a child. Rambo is the most accessible, the most gruesome and the bloodiest of the franchise by far, everything it promised to be, but I just couldn’t make it past the technical hiccups and less than convincing set-up to really fall in love with it.

I hope more than anyone that a second viewing will reveal more appreciation for the movie but I’m sceptical. As much as its passionate audience has embraced Rambo, I can’t say that I would count myself among them. At least not to the point where I’d want to pick up to latest Rambo adventure on DVD. As interesting as a Stallone commentary or a featurette about revisiting the character after so long might be, I just can’t see myself soaking in those buckets of blood on a regular basis. For me, I’d walk away much more satisfied with First Blood in hand. And that things like 4.99 so really – everyone wins.

When first putting this comic together the top half was just meant to be a glory shot of Rambo. The joke works fine on its own but I really wanted to honor the character with an explosive image. You know what I’m talking about - AK-47 blasting an off-panel blood burst in one hand with a knife digging into the side of some henchmen’s back in the other. But while sketching it out I came up with the Black Knight gag which felt too perfect not to use. After that I thought about splitting the two halves of the comic into two separate strips, but the more I thought of it the more I realized they complimented each other. I like to think that there’s a little something in today’s strip for those that loved the movie and those that didn’t care for it. Please enjoy whichever half applies to you.

Back in December I introduced a new feature to the JLCM world – the JLCM Book Club. An on line forum where people can discuss films based on books and how well they’re adapted to the big screen. We tackled I Am Ledged the first time out and had a really strong turn out of fans of the book eager to share there thoughts about the latest big screen adaptation.

There were few books on the horizon to follow up with. I’d like to keep things as current as possible, but the first quarter of the year did not yield much in the way of page-to-screen translations. But I, and many other members in the forums were eager to tackle a new subject so we decided to set our sites on Jumper.

I think I was hesitant at first because the source material itself. Jumper by Steve Gould is supposedly a kid’s book. Or at the very least “young adult”, and I wasn’t sure how well it would hold up. The thing is – the movie looks like a lot of fun! Typical action fare with some hot young talent (Rachel Bilson, Hayden Christensen), a director that has proven he knows where to point a camera (Doug Liman - The Bourne Identity) and a somewhat controversial writer, if you’re asking certain comic book enthusiasts (David Goyer - Batman Begins, Blade Trinity). While that combo might not make for a perfect movie it’ll certainly give us all a lot to talk about. That combined with a few good recommendations from people I trust saying the book wasn’t half bad made Jumper the book to go with.

The movie hits theaters on February 14th which gives you a little over a week to find and devour the book. Of course for those of you that would rather watch the film first and then read the book, the discussion will remain open indefinitely. We’re not trying to ruin the movie experience with the JLCM Book Club. Ultimately we’re just trying to spur interesting discussion.

The official discussion will take place here on the boards and may not really pick up until the movie is released. But if you’ve read the book please feel free to share your thoughts.

On Super Tuesday, amidst the hustle and bustle of the Presidential primaries we began a little election process of our own. Over at TurtlevsBunny.com we announced the potential candidates for the much anticipated second race! One of these three animals will go on to race the winner of last year’s race, Turtle, at the end of February in an all new, all different adventure. One that’s completely reliant on reader votes to push it along and declare a winner.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We have to pick an opponent first and it’s quite a group to choose from. Of the three prospective runners “The Tiger” (featured here on the right) is actually the underdog at this point. Can you believe that? He’s adorable! ADORABLE! There must be something about the other’s that’s even more appealing. Check out the photos and bios for all three and decide for yourself who should movie on!

Putting that new cast of candidates together including concocting their elaborate backgrounds for the bio has been a lot of fun for me. But as a die hard Bunny fan my heart is still very much tied to last years loveable loser. It makes me glad that I decided to start up the Turtle vs. Bunny: Distractions storyline last month. It has me focusing on the two original racers and really exploring how they tick. Which is fairly difficult because they don’t exactly do a lot of talking… Still, it’s a good time.

That’s it for now, folks. Thanks for reading!

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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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