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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.

Hancock

Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Eddie Marsan

Directed by: Peter Berg

Sony Pictures

The Official Site of Hancock

Discuss Hancock on the boards!

When I first heard about the release date of the new movie Hancock, I literally gasped. It wasn’t just the fact that it was being built up as one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters or that its awesome cast and “superhero from a real world perspective” approach spoke to the geekiest side of me - It was because of a very specific star and very specific weekend the film was being released. July 4th weekend. Big Willy Weekend.

Some of you may be too young to remember the informal holiday that is Big Willy Weekend, a glorious time in the late 90’s when Will Smith starred in back-to-back mega hits (Independence Day and Men In Black) over the July 4th holiday. It didn’t matter that he coined the phrase himself or that he pushed his luck by trying to add the inferior Wild Wild West to the list the following year, Big Willy Weekend was something worth getting excited about.

After Wild Wild West the weekend was retired until 2002 when Men In Black 2 made Wild Wild West actually look good, but it’s probably for the best BWW went away for a few years. It gave Smith a chance to really spread his wings in movies like Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness and it let other movies take over America’s birthday. The fireworks looked a little less impressive last year following an afternoon of transforming cars. Still, there I was at work, checking my bookmarks in between e-mails, and I read the news that Smith was reclaiming the weekend with Hancock. That gasp I mentioned above really did happen, along with a quick call to my wife who, “didn’t care” and asked, “not to be bothered at work with crap that won’t even happen 6 months from now.”

I was still pretty excited, perhaps less than I’m implying, but I’d just seen I Am Legend and was eager to see how Smith would follow up this perfect blend of action and character. Hancock isn’t at the same level of achievement as Legend, it’s certainly got a little bit more of the Big Willy stank on it, but it’s a fitting film to bring back a holiday that I’ve sorely missed.

Now, to the untrained eye I’ve gone on for half the review avoiding the actual movie and focusing on a holiday as genuinely relevant as Groundhog’s Day. (The only good thing that day ever gave us was the movie. And an early summer I suppose…) The truth is though, I’ve just been stalling because there’s not too much about Hancock that I can tell you, all because of a big twist that I’ll dance around in a second.

You already know the basics of the story: Smith plays a bum with supernatural powers and a piss poor attitude. He either doesn’t want to be a hero or is just really bad at it. The movie takes a turn when Hancock crosses paths with Jason Bateman’s character, a PR rep set on releasing his potential and turning him into the great super hero he could be. The back-and-forth between these two in the first third of the film is pure crackling buddy comedy goodness at its best. Bateman’s dry humor and passion for saving the world play the perfect opposite to the extreme highs and lows of Smith’s unbalanced super sad sack. All with the backdrop of a character that can fling a whale 400 yards and take a full clip from an uzi to the face and just be upset about his ruined glasses.

Hancock’s past is a mystery. The last thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital 80 years ago with a fractured skull (This isn’t the twist). A little mystery can do wonders for a one-dimensional character but learning that he hasn’t aged a day since waking up 80 years ago explains a lot.

It’s the Superman complex, something a lot of Superman’s writer’s will tackle from time to time but never focus on to the extent that Hancock does. Basically Hancock is a God among men and because of that he is essentially alone. 80 years of being alone can take its toll on the best of us. It’s no wonder he’s a little crabby.

This alone is a great premise for a movie that gets even better with the introduction of a new element that I can’t really talk about. It’s a surprise not on the same scale of Bruce Willis being a ghost or Soylent Green being people but important and entertaining enough that you’d do yourself right to just avoid spoilers. All I can say about it is that, as good as it is, there’s not nearly enough of it. They give us a measly taste of what these characters and this adventure could be.

As well as the film works as a stand-alone origin of a superhero, I wanted more. They only scratch the surface of something that could be as interesting as the concept of a drunken superhero. – a gimmick so good that it got you in there in the first place. Unless of course you’re as big a sucker for Big Willy Weekend as I am.

The door is certainly left open for a sequel and judging by the buzz in the crowd that was leaving the theater, there’s definitely a market for it. I’m just not so sure it would work. I’m not so sure it’s necessary. Hancock is a self-contained story. A new look at something we've gotten familiar with. It doesn't need a sequel. I left the theater entertained and thirsty for more. That’s the first rule of show business after breaking legs and not saying, “MacBeth” out loud. It’s the perfect way to end it. It’s the Big Willy way to end it.

Actually the Big Willy way to end it is to make a crappy sequel in three years that will have us begging for morphing robots to reclaim the weekend.

Rating: 7 out of 10 - I think Hancock works on more levels than it doesn’t. Part of me left a little frustrated that they wouldn’t commit to certain aspects of the character. They wouldn’t explain the past as specifically as I would of liked. Another part of me realizes that it’s not necessary for me to know the gritty details in order to enjoy this specific adventure. I don’t need to know whom Hancock really is to enjoy him flying through a billboard on his latest drunken chase.

It’s worth mentioning that Hancock was directed by Peter Berg who is on fire these days. With each film he does he’s changing themes, diversifying and raising his game. After last falls The Kingdom (Also with Bateman and Oscar winner Jamie Fox) and now Hancock, Berg is poising himself to be a real force in Hollywood. He’s even got a Dune remake lined up for 2010. That’s awesome!

I could go either way with this. It honestly depends on how much they reveal on the DVD. I want more so if they can promise more then chances are my curiosity will get the better of me I’ll be headed to Circuit City. Of course I could probably get those answers by reading the original screenplay, but who’s got that kind of time?

This comic is my homage to Big Willy Weekend. For the record, Irv and I are watching Kate and Leopold in panel 2… just because… and I actually don’t hate Wild Wild West as much as the rest of the world. I even own it because it’s one of those movies so universally hated that the price often drops so low it’s cheaper to buy it than rent it. I don’t love the movie but giant mechanical spiders aside, there’s some cool stuff going on. “Wicky wicky wild wild west!”

Disaster Movie - The teaser trailer for Disaster Movie ran before Hancock in our theater and the audience was freaking out. In a positive way... Well, most of them were anyway.

My wife Yeo wasn't. Sometimes I have doubts about the kind of movies she likes, I mean, she giggled straight through the trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but I couldn't have been happier when she turned to me after the Disaster Movie trailer and said, "What the hell is wrong with these people?"

I'm not sure if she was talking about the lapdog audience that was laughing at every random recognizable character, or the uncreative people that made the movie but I couldn't have loved her more at that moment.

Disaster Movie looks terrible but a lot of these modern spoof movies do, and while there are something like 7 done per year (This is number 3 for 2008 by my count) there is the occasional one that's not half bad. I was really impressed by the non-sucking qualities of Superhero Movie due out on DVD tomorrow. While they definitely played the game by including 30 too many pop culture references than were necessary, they also managed to assemble their own story, characters and (most importantly) jokes.

Disaster's teaser gives me little hope it will be one of the ones that works, and the synopses on the site is even more grim. Instead of telling us what the story is about they just list the movies and celebrities they're lampooning. These things are junked together so fast though that I'm guessing there probably isn't much of a story at all. We'll see.

Hey, I hope everyone had a great Big Willy Weekend, and that your summer is going well so far! I owe a couple of people shout outs for both participating in the “Missing Hat” game and for just shoving some of the JLCM characters into their work. First up is Dennis over at Maskerman who included my missing hat and my not-so-missing glasses into one of his recent strips. Thanks for playing the game Dennis and keep up the great work on the Maskerman!

Bob from Think Tank, who is normally a regular friendly face at Wizard World Chicago, sent me a link to one of his recent strips in which he recounts a real life conversation he had with Irv at last years show. I was there and it was totally as creepy as it sounds. Thanks for the shout out Bob, and make sure you get yourself to Wizard World next year!

Lastly, something non-hat and non-guest comic related, I’ve been quoted in this article about the future of movie theaters, as was Gordon from Multiplex. It raises an interesting question to a problem that’s steadily been getting worse and worse over the last few years. Home theater technology is catching up with the theatrical set-ups faster than you can say microwave popcorn. I for one think that nothing can replace the movie-going experience, but swing by and have your say in the matter.

Speaking of Gordon, don’t forget to stop by tonight at 10pm for the latest edition of The Triple Feature where Gordon, Tom and I will be talking in depth about Hancock as well as some spoiler talk about the amazing offerings from last week, Wanted and Wall-E.

Thanks so much fro reading, guys!

Joe Dunn's Facebook profile

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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

Joe Dunn
@joedunn721
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