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.
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac, Sharon Leal, Adam Herschman, Sean Hayes, Mike Epps
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
The Official Site of Soul Men
Discuss Soul Men on the boards!
Sam Jackson and Bernie Mac were a team just waiting to come together. Casting them as over the hill, disgruntled back-up singers with dreams of a comeback and a strong distaste for each other seemed like a less obvious way to go, but with an R-rating giving them free reign to destroy each other with F-words and sexual shortcomings, I knew that Soul Men would do just fine.
Sure enough, Soul Men manages to be a surprisingly strong film from start to finish. A road trip where, you might not necessarily learn anything along the ride (other than 8 or 10 new ways to insult someone) but it’s certainly an enjoyable trip. It does the rare job of combining an aggressive foul mouth with some old school charm, plus some smooth stage moves to boot!
Mac and Jackson play Henderson and Hinds, back-up singers that fell out of fame in the late 70’s when their lead singer took off for a solo career. This is kind of a long shot but... are there any John Legend fans out there? If so, Soul Men is a must see for his brief appearance as The Real Deal's lead singer. In a Behind the Music-esque intro to the film we see Legend go from 50's doo-wop to aging legend with odes to George Clinton and Prince along the way. The guy has no spoken lines but it was great to see someone so familiar, step outside how we see him and really have some fun. It was a great way to break the ice and set the tone for the film.
30 years later after the two went their separate ways, we meet up with Henderson and Hinds who have taken different paths in life. Mac finds a lot of humor in the boredom of retirement and Jackson manages to make even slum living look kind of badass. When the pair learn of the death of Legend’s character they accept an invitation to perform at a ceremony in his honor at the Apollo Theater. This launches the cross-country road trip that will of course bring the old partners back together, patch their broken friendship and help them get their soul back. “Soul” like rhythm not life force. Though, that probably would have made a cool sci-fi twist.
Mac and Jackson indeed make a good pair, playing off one another brilliantly. They make a very routine story come to life. In lesser hands I may not have trusted their bitter arguing over tired movie clichés like “the woman that came between them” or “how to handle meeting said woman’s daughter whom they’ve never met but is oddly enough age appropriate to the time period when both men last boogied on down with Ms. Right”. Okay, that last one may not be a true “cliché” but it’s not like we haven’t seen it before.
The younger of the two ladies is played by Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls, This Christmas) who brings some genuine Broadway style to the production. As welcome as it was, the boys were doing just fine without her as some of the strongest moments of the film are in the spotlight and up on stage.
Soul Men features only 4 musical numbers, and aside from the first show Henderson and Hinds do on the road (the definition of a performance from hell where the guys are trying to get their musical chops back) the on stage numbers are outstanding. Even as they show a country-western, line dancing crowd "how to boogie" you can't help but smile at these perfectly filmed and performed shows. The true shame is that we only get a chance to see them 4 times on stage. The real laughs in the film come from their foul-mouthed feuds but it’s when these two characters are in their natural element that the movie really sings.
Rating: 7 out of 10 -
The film ends with a tribute to Bernie Mac offering outtakes, interviews, and behind-the-scenes clips from his time making Soul Men. Seeing him work the crowd at the Apollo with a quick joke in-between takes reminds you of how natural and good of an entertainer he really was.
What really stood out the most though was his dedication to being as good as he could possibly be. His dedication to giving 150% every single time he was on stage or in front of a camera. It's the mark of a true entertainer, something both Mac and this film honor.
This is a bit of a departure but it’s a story I was reminded of while watching Mac talk about professionalism. A few months ago while watching a late night talk show it was announced that the musical act at the end of the show would be Morris Day and the Time. I was like, "Hells yes! You have my full attention… Proceed." It ended up being a brutal reminder of the lack of entertainment value in modern live music. I love watching live performances of the Foo Fighters or Weezer thrashing through a set list but Morris Day and the Time - they're putting on a fucking show. It's not just about replicating the music, which they do perfectly fine, it's about entertaining the crowd and making sure they get every ounce of fun from their hard-earned money that is humanly possible. This is something missing from live performances these days, with some exceptions of course, but it reminded me that I’ve gotten comfortable with artists just playing the songs and headed home. There was a time when that was the bare minimum. The music in Soul Men reminds me of that level of pure, unadulterated entertainment, and I wanted more of it.
Soul Men is a lot of fun, but to be honest I’m not sure that it has much more to offer. Much more beyond what we’ve already seen. A really great movie will give something else to you with each viewing. Soul Men was a full and rewarding film, but I think it’s reached the end of its usefulness. Wow, that is a really cruel way of putting it. You guys know what I mean though.
Cadillac Records - “Cadillac Records. If you stick around long enough, they’ll give you one.” By “one”, they mean a Cadillac car and by “sticking around long enough” they mean dedicating your heart, soul and artistic integrity into making whitey rich. Of course I could be reading too much into it, but that’s what I took away from the trailer of Cadillac Records, the real life account of the rise of Chess records and its soon to be famous recording artists.
As interesting as it would be to see the men and women like Chuck Berry, Muddy Walters and Etta James in their early days in the business, especially when they’re being played by people like Mos Def, Beyoncé Knowles and Jeffery Wright, the real star of the film is going to be the music. Classic tunes, so old that our parents were listening to them in grade school, but so good that 50 years later they’re still as recognizable and powerful as the day they were released.
I hate to say it but part of me is afraid this ambitious music industry drama will just get lost in the busy schedule of the holiday season not registering as much as movies like Dreamgirls or Walk the Line which share similarities but chose a more specific path. You never know though. Music touches everybody.
God Bless Sam Jackson for doing so many damn movies this year. He’s reignited my passion for the “Many faces of Sam Jackson Project” I started way back in 2006 with the film Freedomland and then updated with Jackson’s last film, Lakeview Terrace. With Lakeview Terrace I updated the whole look of it and will eventually go back to redraw the first four. One day I’ll have a giant mosaic of Sam Jackson heads honoring him, his career, and the “mother fuckers” everywhere!
Today I wanted to give a shout out to Gordon and his readers over at Multiplex. Gordon recently celebrated his 34th birthday and his readers decided to surprise him with a series of birthday wishes. They contacted me about a month ago to see if I’d be interested in joining in on the fun. It was such a genuine and sweet effort and Gordon has become such a good friend over the years – there’s no way I could say no. You can see all the images, comics and well wishes in this thread here. Head on over to check out all the goodies and add to the list!
It’s been a busy week but I did manage to catch a couple of the other releases so far including Role Models (read my very positive first reactions here) as well as JCVD and Synecdoche, New York. Between these four movies this is shaping up to be one of the strongest weeks of the year. Expect another comic and review by Monday morning. Thanks so much for reading!
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