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: Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill, Claudia Karvan, Willem Dafoe, Michael Dorman
Directed by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
The Official Site of Daybreakers
Discuss Daybreakers on the boards!
There’s a scene in Fantastic Mr. Fox where a realtor and a businessman have a heated argument that ends with them hissing and growling at each other. As neat as their little stop-motion suits may be, at the end of the day the realtor and the businessman are still wild animals and a heated discussion between a fox and a badger will often end with a lot of hissing and spitting.
There are moments in the new film Daybreakers that feel very much like this. In this alternate reality where vampires have taken over and rebuilt society in a human-farming, sun-fearing world there is a constant feeling that any business meeting gone wrong could end in the flashing of fangs and some unexpected, over-the-table lunges of death. That level of unpredictability lends itself nicely towards making Daybreakers work successfully as a horror movie but wears out its welcome as quickly as you might expect. Too many cheap scares had me begging for them to follow through on the great concept; to loose the cheap thrills and get smart.
Thankfully it does. Old school loud noises seem to fade away as we explore the world through the eyes of Ethan Hawke’s character, a vampire hematologist looking for a blood substitute to sustain the society of civilized vampires in a world that is dangerously close to running out of food. Vampires have taken to farming humans and while they’re always looking for new cows – the fields are empty. Without a proper substitute the vampires will devolve into feral beasts that attack their own kind.
The film was largely marketed on this idea of human farming and they stress the severity of it in the film. We are treated to images of rows and rows of humans hooked to machines. They take great care in showing us that they’re alive and then take greater care in showing us that the program doesn’t discriminate against the elderly or pregnant. All humans have become fair game.
A chance encounter with a pack of humans identifies the doctor as a human sympathizer. He’s had trouble letting go of his former life to the point where he avoids drinking the blood fresh. He’s recruited by the humans to develop a cure for the disease of vampirism in a twist that would make Dr. Frankenstein proud.
I initially scoffed at the idea of bring a dead vampire back to life but in a cinematic world that has fallen for the idealized, romantic vision of vampires it’s refreshing to find a film willing to remind us that no matter how sparkly they get in the sun, they’re still a pack of wild animals.
Hawke is an easy lead to follow. He is as cowardice and shocked as even the weakest-willed member of the audience so his experiences are ours. Overshadowing him is Willem Defoe kicks all kinds of ass as the world’s first cured vampire, a gruff warrior who Han-Solos his way into our hearts. The entire cast embraces the dark, B-movie vibe of the production but Defoe is definitely having the most fun. I’d imagine there’s something very liberating about being the guy just behind the hero that gets to be crude, crazy and occasionally save the day.
I promise – spoiler wise this is just the tip of the iceberg in a story that has a lot of fun exploring supply and demand and corporate greed within the context of the vampire mythos. Daybreakers has good fun exploring human survival (explosive crossbows? A+), explosive vomiting and a glorious redefinition of the term “food chain” (keep an eye out for the lobby showdown in the third act.) but also takes great care in exploring a world run by the living dead.
But Daybreakers is a movie that succeeds in the details. The kind of details I can’t really talk about without just flat out running the movie for you. Suffice it to say, this high concept horror movie with a twist of action and desperate plea for a sequel knows its audience well and delivers up enough exploding hearts, fiery car accidents and bumps in the night to satiate them.
This was fun but let’s be real. It’s not a great movie. Some of it, including the opening scene where we see a young vampire girl burst into flames in a very crappy display of Scy-Fy Channel like effects, had me wondering how this got a major release. But it preservers and does what it’s supposed to do very well. Not beyond a rating of “6” though.
Vampire fans should be entertained but not blown away.
Daybreakers was completed in 2007 but then shelved until now. This has been a common practice as the politics of Hollywood delay releases for one reason or another. Whatever the strategy it seems to have worked as Daybreakers did a respectable bit of business for a genre film and stands to turn a profit in the weak days of the New Year.
I’m going to say that this is one to pass on when it comes to DVD. I’ve been burned on clever horror movies that replay terribly. As a long shot, if the film actually develops into a franchise and they’re able to take it in a direction worthy of its nifty backbone of ideas, then I could see revisiting this introduction. Otherwise it’s arguably just some forgettable fun.
I don’t mean to discount romance as it pertains to vampires. Lust and murder have made great bedfellows when it comes to the vampire mythos and even the recent obsession with living dead romance (True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries) have made efforts to portray the vampires as both lovers and fighters. The comic ignores that but there’s truth in everything. Daybreakers doesn’t even pretend their lovers. Sure they may have been at some point but it sheds nice light on the ugly side of a mythos that’s been a little too glorified the past few years.
I’m all about spoilers with this movie. Which is why you should keep a closer ear to the new Crappy Movies Podcast where we’ll be getting into all the nitty, gritty and hilarious spoilers involved with Daybreakers. Those that have been reading my work the past few years and that have seen the movie may have noticed a particular spoiler that I’m very anxious to discuss. It’ll have to wait for the show though.
Had a great time putting this image of vampire Frankenstein together for my newspaper syndicates. I was at first going to try and draw this amalgam of Ethan Hawke as the two monsters but using the classic image of the Universal Studios Frank was a better solution. I liked it enough that I’ll be making postcards to pass out at our convention appearances so if you dig the image and run into us at San Diego, New York Comic Con, C2E2 in Chicago or one of our other stops be sure and inquire about getting a copy.
I’ve enjoyed sort of a return to traditional illustration. Finding a way to caricature an actor or actress or sum up a movie in a singular image has been a challenge that I think has helped me to grow. I’ve come to view it as a skill building exercise as much as a source of income. It’s important to keep work fun.
For those of you that live in the Baltimore area I’ll come high five me at Super Art Fight where I’ll be participating in a live art battle with some of the area’s finest. This is an event co-founded and run by Ross from The System (a great comic you should seriously be reading already). It combines art with improve. I took part at Connecticon last year where the lovely and talented Yuko Ota slaughtered me in front of a packed room. The adrenaline is infectious. It offers a unique opportunity to feed of the crowd and create something beautiful at the same time. It’s as close as any of us will get to being rock stars. A great line up of talent will be on hand to kick my ass so be sure to come by and witness it first hand.
Thanks so much for swinging by.
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