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Discuss this week's Joe Loves Crappy Movies here!

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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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The Ruins

Starring: Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey, Joe Anderson

Directed by: Carter Smith

Universal Pictures

The Official Site of The Ruins

Discuss The Ruins on the boards!

For a movie that should be as predictably boring as its hastily made brother Turistas, The Ruins is remarkably well put together. Director Carter Smith works his bizarre movie monster, limited setting and sparse cast into a consistently creepy and dangerously fun adventure worthy of your time.

The reason The Ruins stinks of predictability is because its premise is one we’ve seen a couple of times before. A young group of good looking kids, old enough to seek out adventure but too young to know better while falling ass backwards into a bad situation, seek adventure in an ancient Mayan ruin so secluded that it’s not even on the maps. When they arrive there a tribe of armed locals hope they enjoy their visit, because they not going to let them leave. A language barrier and a quick kill has the kids camping out at the ruins scared and desperate, completely unaware of the deadly mysteries held within the ruins.

Sounds like fun right? Well the trailers didn’t. I thought the advertisement was a mess and depicted a level of quality not worth wasting 11 bucks on. Even as I was paying that 11 dollars and sitting through the previews I couldn't help but think to myself, "What am I even doing here?"

Well that was a gross miscalculation. Horror fans rejoice at a thriller so sharp that Jerry Bruckheimer will remake it in 15 years. Probably with an extra set of unnecessary booby taps and a cast including Lindsay Lohan's sister and one of Will Smith's kids (or whatever young stud is on the most popular primetime teen drama that year) but also (hopefully) the same level of terror and shock that The Ruins masterfully offers to us now.

The cast in this version is a somewhat less recognizable than the cast of whatever modern primetime teen soap is popular now, but for no fault of their own. Certainly not despite their efforts on screen here. And it's not as if you've never seen them before. Iceman is in this movie for God's sake, as is Jena Malone, who has been fighting off the "former child star blues" by working the indie landscape for years in movies like Saved! Donnie Darko and last years Into the Wild. Both actors are very good here but to me it's the other pair that stands out.

Jonathan Tucker, who takes the lead in The Ruins, reminded me of a young Jack Shepherd (I've been watching entirely too much Lost reruns lately) filling the hero role with a lot of reality and class. This is Tucker’s first real leading part other than the "brilliant but canceled" TV drama The Black Donnellys, and after years of enjoying his work in films like In the Valley of Elah, Hostage and (to a lesser degree) Pulse it's nice to see him flourish so effortlessly in the spotlight.

Laura Ramsey is the poor girl from the trailer with the face worms (one of a few classically disturbing scenes in this movie, including a terrifying bone breaking sequence). Obviously an upsetting situation to find yourself in and one, as a performer, that seems like it might be easy to over do. We get a lot of screaming, crying, trembling and what not that never seems to get old coming from this lovely young lady. She shrieks her way through this like a pro.

Ramsey has been playing support in a lot of teen fluff for the past few years (She's the Man,, Venom, The Covenant), but Ramsey really makes the most of her pivotal part in The Ruins. I hope to see more of her. I hope to see more of all of them because, regardless of their popularity or box office draw, the core four put on an amazing show of fear and frustration amidst the jungle attacks.

I think the fact that the cast made such an impression speaks not just to the strength of the performances but also to the strength of the story. The Ruins is not a busy movie. It’s a simple premise with a simple dilemma that kicks along like a rollercoaster.

There are times where it should stall. For instance, at one point in the movie I thought to myself “Well sure, they’re on top of the ruins but I can’t think of one good reason to go down into them.” And sure enough – the movie presents a really good reason for the characters to take the risk. And they do that like three times! It’s a great example of minimalism with storytelling and (if not for a disappointing box office return) is one of a dozen things that other modern horror movies should take note of.

Rating: 7 out of 10 - The Ruins is based on the novel by Scott B. Smith who also stepped in to handle the screenplay here. That’s always an ideal situation because you’ll get the closest translation of the original material possible, though a few reviews I’ve found from critics that read the book and saw the film were quick to offer a negative comparison. I’m kind of glad I’d never heard of the book and now, after seeing the movie, I’m might be able to enjoy both. As for the movie, a poor performance means a quick death. You’ve got about 3 weeks before it fades away into obscurity so if you like catching a good scare on the big screen – get to it!

To horror fans I would recommend it just because it’s something different. The Ruins offers an alternative to the crazy maniac, crazy monster, crazy natives, crazy fog themes and tells a tight little adventure in a little used setting. Break up the suburban massacres with a little ancient culture!

Sorry. Just having a little fun. I don’t get to do story arcs so I have to get it out of my system when I can. Plus I was totally drawing a blank when it came to an idea for a Ruins comic. It was either going to be this or a comic about other aggressive plant movie characters. “Swampthing vs. Audrey II” (from Little Shop of Horrors) Great visual – no punch line.

The Official Site of The Ruins proudly presents a contest on its main page to win a free trip to Mexico!

…Why would anyone want to go to Mexico after seeing this movie?

Granted, Mexico is a beautiful country and the ruins (the ones on the map anyway) make for a very interesting day in the sun. Just… you know… not so much right after watching a bunch of kids getting butchered trying to escape one. “Oh that movie was a lot of fun. I wish I could be horribly eaten alive in the obscure jungles of Mexico…” Well want no more!

Explore inside the site and you’ll find a nice “Travel Advisory” pointing out exotic locations to avoid and the gory reasons why. It’s a nice 10-minute escape for those of you that enjoy the macabre.

There’s a nice long review for a movie no one saw. I promise to try and target something a little more accessible this coming weekend, though I do recommend giving this movie (and Leatherheads) a chance if you’re into that sort of thing.

This coming weekend we’ve got Street kings and Prom Night which will probably fight it out for the biggest debut, as well as Smart People which people are buzzing about. I have reservations about all of them but I’m looking forward to each in a very weird way. It’ll be interesting to compare Prom Night, a PG-13 remake thriller with something as well put together as The Ruins.

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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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