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.
Be Kind Rewind
Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz, Sigurney Weaver
Directed by: Michel Gondry
The Official Site of Be Kind Rewind
Discuss Be Kind Rewind on the boards!
Usually I save the "About the Comic" section until after the review but I thought today's comic warranted a little clarification in the "spoilers" department. I just wanted to make sure that you guys didn't think I just ruined the movie for you because, the movie doesn't end exactly like I've depicted in panel 2. Or in panel 3 for that matter, but I'm guessing you could've figured that out.
Now, some of you are angry now because by saying that panel 2 isn't true, I'm implying that the opposite is true, that Jerry and Mike in fact do not save the video store. Well that isn't true either, my friends, and the movie is just as clear about it as I am right now. One of the best things about Be Kind Rewind is that its ending isn't definite. It doesn't put a stamp on things that explains if the store was saved, if everything worked out, if… if ANYTHING. Ok, now that was kind of a spoiler, but knowing a movie's conclusion is going to give you an ample amount of information but still allow you to draw your own conclusions from it isn't such a bad thing. The ending is a thinker and that's all you need to know. I promise, I've spoiled very little.
In Passaic, New Jersey, just below the underpass and next to the power plant, lies a small thrift store/video shop called Be Kind Rewind. They specialize in renting outdated VHS tapes for a dollar a day but are slowly dying in the competitive world of franchise stores and DVDs. If its owner (Danny Glover) and clerk Mike (Mos Def) can't figure out a way to turn things around, Be Kind Rewind will be bulldozed and turned into a complex of overpriced condominiums, raising the class but lowering the character of this proud city.
On the other side of the overpass Jerry (Jack Black) has decided to destroy the power plant that towers over his trailer. That doesn't go so well. Not knowing the failed attempt left him magnetized, Jerry unwittingly erases every VHS tape in the store, forcing he and Mike to make their own versions, a technique dubbed Swedeing in a moment of panic. Before long their low budget, 20-minute versions of classics like Ghostbusters, Robocop and Rush hour 2 become cult classics in the neighborhood and the boys are on track to saving the store from being condemned!
I've been to Passaic a couple times before and it's nothing like this. Sure there are power plants and overpasses and a sense of pride but director Michel Gondry presents a Passaic like it's ripped out of someone's dreams. It's surreal and difficult to capture in words other than to say, "something's not quite right" or "well, it's another Michel Gondry film."
He specializes, in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Science of Sleep, in creating a unique perspective and experience. It's not always a pleasant one, but his style and presentation are hard not to appreciate. I just love the way he focuses on the little touches in the way he approaches the film. Really thinking about what it would be like if two schlubs had 2-hours and limited resources to recreate a classic film. Everything from the Christmas streamers shooting from the proton packs to large cheese pizzas stepping in as pools of blood really sells the authenticity of a big budget movie (probably not all that big actually) made in a very low budget way.
The story is sweet but very slow. There's no indication that it takes nearly 40-minutes to get to the first remake in the film and that, as cool as they are, they're not really the focus of the movie. Honestly that concept is probably the reason half of us are going to see it in the first place and, it's not that what replaces it (a heart warming story about bringing a community together) is so bad, it's just not so funny. 15 minutes of Jack Black saying, "I know robot karate" would probably get pretty old but you'd never get the chance to find out from Be Kind Rewind. Ultimately though, this is a movie about people that really love movies, and it's hard to stay mad at that over a silly pacing or expectation issue.
The small cast of characters are fantastically quirky and a perfect fit for Gondry's dreamscape. It was great to see talent like Glover, Mia Farrow and the wonderful Melonie Diaz rounding out the supporting cast and really shining on their own. As for its headliners, Mos Def has got to be the coolest person on the planet, but not in Passaic, New Jersey. As Mike he's nervous, unsure and awkward around women, the exact opposite you'd expect from the man in real life. It's nice to see him build a career that's against type in movies like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and 16 Blocks. Not a lot of rappers turned actors are willing to let go of their on stage persona and become vulnerable. The ones that do like Ice Cube, Queen Latifah and Mos, are the ones that will have just as big an impact on screen as they do on the radio.
Jack Black always has a danger of going too big, but it works here despite a few instances where his magnetized body propels him across a cartoon-ish border. Still, his ADD brand of craziness plays flawlessly in this world.
I wish I could say the film was just as flawless but it just goes on forever and never really takes advantage of the amazing concept that got you in there in the first place. It's hard to say if I would be less bothered had they spent a little more time Swedeing, but I think I would have been just as happy had they spent a little less time doing everything else. There's merit to the films message and the journey they take to get there, I think I'd rather see the brisker, 20-minute, homemade version of it though.
Rating: 6 out of 10 - Well I wasn't wow'ed or particularly impressed with Be Kind Rewind, a sweet story that felt like it was begging to cut loose. It didn't exactly kill it at the box office over the weekend either. Even in its limited release it scared up lower numbers than expected from the people involved. I personally think this one is worth waiting to rent. It's not like the low-fi visuals will play so much better on the big screen anyway, and the intimacy of the film may be complimented by the more intimate setting of your living room.
As the credits began to roll and some standard behind-the-scenes footage that’s usually run during the credits ran I started to think about the movies chances on making my DVD collection. Even with its problems I thought to myself, “if they load the DVD up with the Sweded version of the movies they show bits and pieces of in the film, then it would at least be worth a rental.” Sure enough a link popped up on the screen encouraging the audience to check out Mike and Jerry’s movies online. Kick ass.
What’s actually at that link is a bunch of trailers for the movies that they made. 40-second clips barely giving you a taste of what they really could have shot. I was a little disappointed. I don’t know what I expected. There’s no way they’d put up a dozen 20-minute Quicktime movies, but at this point I just want to see one. I want to get the full experience of what all the characters in the movie were so enthusiastic about. Looks like I’ll be renting Be Kind Rewind after all.
Even though I was bummed with what I found on the Sweded Youtube Page, there is one hidden gem that is a must watch. Hands down the best thing you will find there has got to be the one labelled “Gondry Sweded Trailer”, where Gorndry himself Swedes the entire Be Kind Rewind movie trailer. It’s a shot for shot masterpiece almost funnier than anything Mike and Jerry did if only because it was so unexpected! I really love to see this sort of thing from a director. We get to see so much of their spirit on the screen and yet I feel like we rarely get to know them at all. A unique glimpse like this is invaluable to the point where it’ll probably make you enjoy the movie more.
Continuing on to the main page of the official site will reveal more fun. There’s no debating that they really put a lot of thought into it. Different movie themed home pages from all the films they Sweded will have you clicking refresh for at least a minute, but that’s just a cute distraction for what’s waiting on the inside. After accidentally erasing the Internet, the site itself becomes Sweded and they prompt you to pick your favorite sites to Swede. You know, to help rebuild the Internet. It’s a great idea to get people involved working together in a creative way, the two major themes of the movie itself.
I've been working the past week on three JLCM strips that will never run here online. They've been commissioned for Clickwheel.com to run exclusively over there and I'm kind of bummed about it. Only because they're turning out kind of cool!
It's three strips as part of a series I'm calling "Twists of Fate That Would Have Made Star Wars Suck", and after finishing the first two and writing the third, I think it's some of the best stuff I've done. Instinctively I want to share that with you but I won't be able to for at least a couple of weeks. I'll keep you posted though.
In other news… This guy is awesome. Check out this picture of Quin with a very familiar catch phrase on his shirt. His wife knew how much he loved the old Serenity Spoilers strip from back in the day, and she surprised him with his very own "KILL ZOMBIE WASH" shirt. Pretty cool, right? I instantly replied back informing him that his wife was the coolest person on the planet and he agreed. Thanks so much to Quin and his wife for the effort and for sharing the picture.
I've been asked before if I'll ever make and sell a "KILL ZOMBIE WASH" shirt and the answer is yes. The plan is to make them at the same time as the first JLCM collection, that way we can sell them as a bundle, lower the price a little, and save the hard core fans some green on the shipping costs. It's hard to say when that will be, but 2008 feels like a good year. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Thanks for reading, gang!
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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