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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.

JCVD

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, François Damiens, Zinedine Soualem, Karim Belkhadra, Jean-François Wolff, Anne Paulicevich

Directed by: Mabrouk El Mechri

Peace arch Entertainment

The Official Site of JCVD

Discuss JCVD on the boards!

Regardless of the kind of movie we might think we want to see from Jean-Claude Van Damme, JCVD, a gritty character-based story focusing on the former action hero’s real life woes, is the best thing he could have possibly done for his career. It seems easy to just say, "The right way for Van Damme to rebound is to put him in the same kind of fast-paced, high-kicking adventure that made him famous in the first place." but he's been churning out straight-to-DVD garbage for years that fits that description perfectly and until this weekend he was still nothing but a tremendous joke and the poster boy for how not to structure an action hero's career.

JCVD is not completely without kicks but for the first time ever Van Damme’s abilities as an actor are pushed to the forefront. I know, that sounds like the set-up to an epic joke, but Van Damme pulls off the unbelievable here – a good performance.

JCVD takes place on the worst day of Jean Claude Van Damme’s life. After hitting rock bottom and returning home to Brussels, Van Damme finds himself mixed up in a hostage situation where news of his recent troubles leads local police to believe that the action hero has snapped. The truth of the situation is revealed through flashbacks and the same moment played out from different perspectives. We also get to see Van Damme’s memories of the bitter custody dispute, messy divorce and loss of a role to Steven Segal (who was willing to cut off his ponytail to get the gig), which drove the former action hero to this lowest of lows. It’s a great form of storytelling that works quite well here bringing emotion and humor out of the oddest of places.

The strongest parts of the film were these unexpected moments that had you laughing along with the character and really feeling for him. It’ll take you by surprise and make you appreciate Van Damme in a whole new way. The humor works best when it’s self-referential or self-deprecating. Even though the majority of the world has let Van Damme go, in Brussels he’s still considered a national treasure. This leads to hysterical run-ins with star struck locals that stop him for pictures, make him reenact famous moves or prattle on endlessly comparing classic action films.

The humor was a welcome surprise but nothing could have prepared me for the emotional performance from Van Damme who I don’t think I’ve ever seen deliver anything so well as he does one of the monologues here. There’s one scene where the camera breaks and Van Damme looks straight at us as he at takes a closer look at the path that lead him to where he is today. It’s raw and unexpected and I’ll say no more other than to say it’s powerful enough where you won’t even know how to react to it for a few minutes.

Maybe he’s always been a great actor and it’s just the language barrier that’s been getting in the way all these years. JCVD is shot almost completely in his native language and while most of it translates brilliantly I would have paid an extra 5 bucks to see him shout “I WANT MY MONEY!!” in English.

JCVD shows us a side of Van Damme that we never thought we would see, but it’s not stupid enough to end things without giving us exactly what we expected. And those one or two moments where we get to see Van Damme in his natural element of high kicks and high fives are well worth the wait. It’s nice to see but also nice that they didn’t exploit it. You’ll appreciate that sentence more after watching how the hostage situation concludes.

Even before the movie, I found myself wondering how well JCVD could possibly do financially. The movie will draw in a lot of former fans curious of where the one time megastar wound up. At the very least curious about how wrinkly he looks on the big screen. But aside from that, what other business could they possibly expect other than rubbernecking passer bys looking for a disaster?

The ideal target audience would be young male teenagers, the same demographic that made Van Dame famous in the first place. Unfortunately that demo was 4-years-old the last time Van Damme mad a credible film and they’ve all moved on to the modern action heroes that can kick just as high, make the ladies swoon just as loud, and speak without an accent.

JCVD is not destine to be a box office smash but it’s a huge victory in credibility. If Van Damme can take this fantastic performance as a different kind of hero as well as his willingness to laugh at himself and parlay it into some quality supporting roles in more mainstream films, we may have a legitimate comeback on our hands.

Rating: 7 out of 10 - This is perhaps too generous of a rating because while there was much in JCVD to be impressed by, I found myself overlooking certain things because of the films ambition and the path it chose. Plot holes or what in hindsight turns out to be somewhat of a lackluster hostage situation were secondary concerns to getting a glimpse at the real Van Damme. Looking back the film is far from perfect. At the same time though, JCVD is an experience worth having so take the extra point or so as my over-enthusiastic encouragement for you to seek this one out.

I’d love to see the film again but I couldn’t say for sure if it’s something I’d need to own. I did hear someone in the crowd comment that it was a must buy DVD, though I think it was half part joking and half part intoxication by the films brilliant ending. This movie had a lot more to say than pretty much any other Van Damme movie ever, but I’m still more likely to come home with Street Fighter on DVD.

Slumdog Millionaire - I’d been aware of Slumbdog Millionaire if only for its reputation as one of the more moving films of the season and for its director Danny Boyle. (Trainspotting, Sunshine) It wasn’t until seeing the trailer though that I fully knew what kind of movie to expect. This story of an 18-year-old orphan that makes it to the final round of India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire only to be arrested and forced to prove his knowledge through stories of life and love is such a unique combination of heart and storytelling that its allure is impossible to resist. This week I’ll finally find out if it lives up to the awards and hype it’s been receiving, but watch the trailer to see if it’s the kind of movie you should be hunting down for yourself.

I was tipped off by a friend by a brilliant bit of international marketing for JCVD where Van Damme walks in on the casting session for… himself. It sets the tone perfectly for the film. Much better than the American trailers which promote action over humor.

Last weekend was really strong weekend of films but, even though it’s only Tuesday morning, I’m really started to get excited about this coming weekend’s release of Quantum of Solace. I was never a gigantic Bond fan but like most of the world was utterly charmed by Casino Royale and I’m excited to see this new vision of the character continue. Early word is that the sequel packs more of a punch in the action department, but overall isn’t quite as good. That’s great news to be swirling around the Internet if you asked me. Keeping my expectations in check is key for my enjoyment of this film. If I go in knowing this won’t be as good as I expect it to be then I can only be impressed. That doesn’t make perfect sense but there’s some nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.

Thanks for reading guys. More tomorrow as well as a new Matriculated in the morning.

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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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