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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.

The Longest Yard 1974

Release Date: 8/21/1074

Reviewed on: 2/10/06

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Later, Micahel Conrad

Directed by: Robert Aldrich

I'm not going to lie. I wanted Smokey and the Bandit. I only heard about the glory that is Burt Reynolds Day a couple of days ago, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a DVD review on one of the Reynolds classics. I wanted Smokey and the Bandit because it's fun, and light, and would be easy to review in a short period of time without the other strips I work on taking a hit. But you can't rent Smokey and the Bandit. At least not in Queens.

I went to three Blockbusters yesterday and could not for the life of me find a copy of the movie and was actually laughed out of the stores. I thought it was ridiculous that this movie would not be on DVD so I hoofed it up to Best Buy where I learned the gruesome truth.

It's only available in a three pack. Smokey and the Bandit: The Franchise Collection. If it was 9 dollars I would own it now, but it was 15, and I just couldn't justify making that purchase. The original I would watch a lot. The second, I would watch once for posterity. The third would never see the light of day. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I went back to Blockbuster and settled on The Longest Yard (from 1974) and Deliverance. I knew I wouldn't be doing Deliverance just because it's too heavy. Hillbilly man on man action is not something to analyzing at 2 in the morning. It's part of the reason I wanted Smokey - Less baggage. So I was forced into doing Yard.

I'm not disappointed it was just very much my third choice. It's still a great man's man sports movie with a lot of brutal action, big laughs, attitude and a pretty damn good car chase for a football movie in 1974. Surprisingly enough, beneath all that machismo is a well developed story about redemption, power, and manipulation. It's not all sunshine and lolly pops but if you're looking for a good movie to watch with your boys you could do a lot worse.

Gotta start with Reynolds because it's his day, and he's the man. I've made it clear that this isn't my favorite of his movies but it's in no way a dig on him. He's actually the best part of the movie. We forget sometimes how big of a star he was and the reasons why. He was cool as hell! Funny, likeable, charming and suave. Do you know how hard it is to be charming and suave in a movie with only two female characters in it, who are in it for no more than 5 minutes combined? And he nails them both! That's why Burt rules.

In the bonus features they say how bringing Burt on board was part of the reason the movie evolved into a comedy. It was originally intended to be a straight drama. I think it still would have worked because sports movies where the underdog triumphs are always crowd pleasers, but it would have been a very different movie. A lot less fun to watch I'd imagine. There is a good balance though, it's not like they went out and made it funny in a whacky way. Most of the comedy is Burt improvising these throw away lines that you get half a second after he's out the door. But it still works. It's still laugh out loud funny, and even funnier the more you watch it. I got through this beast twice last night and was laughing harder the second time around. Might have had something to do with it being 4 in the morning and me being delirious.

I know some of you are still having trouble getting over the notion, but I really do think The Longest Yard has a good story. On the surface it has that instant guy appeal of prisoners playing hard-nosed football with the guards in a game where each side plays dirtier than the other. One guy actually gets clothes lined. I'm still looking for the flag on that one. But the story, specifically the character of Paul Crewe is far from a simple one.

Throughout the movie they slowly establish Crewe's checkered past. How he sold out his teammates in the pros and shaved points off a game for the money. When getting to prison he just wants to do his time and leave, but he's manipulated into contributing by the very creepy Warden played by Eddie Albert. This theme of manipulation would end up playing a huge role in the rest of the movie. This man basically controls Crewe's life. He could keep him in prisons for basically as long as he wants.

While working and training with these prisoners he develops a relationship of trust and genuine friendship that he would eventually abandon over another control issue with the warden. Then it all becomes about power and about how much this man is willing to give up for his friends. There's always the tease that he'll throw the big game and the movie is set up so well that if he does or doesn't throw the game there are going to be huge consequences.

I realize now that this character development and seemingly unnecessary drama was just set up for the big game! When they get to that game half of the suspense is created by those issues of control and manipulation. When Albert confronts Reynolds during halftime it's a real moment of tension and dilemma. That's one of the best scenes in the movie not just because each are showing real acting skill in a comedy, but more because of the ramifications it has on the game (which at that point is all you care about).

The game is a thing of beauty. It's long. Like an hour, which is ridiculous because I've been to high school games that barely last that long. And it's real, those guys are just pounding on each other and that's what makes it so good. The realism of seeing them slam into each other made it like a real game with real consequences. I thought that was awesome.

I will admit though that I did miss some of the flashier things modern sports movies have developed in the 30 years since. The action is good and more importantly, the suspense is good, but that could have been intensified with something as simple as more dynamic camera angles. The pacing could have been more accelerated, and I would have loved a soundtrack.

The game rages on with only the sounds of the crowd and the marching band. Now, that's fine. It's real. But a few properly placed songs would have really brought it to life. I mean, if the sight of James Van Der Beek coming out of a huddle in slow motion while the drums of My Hero by the Foo Fighters pound away in the background, can get you pumped ? then a little CCR is going to do a world of good for Burt Reynolds throwing a pass.

I don't know. I guess I'm spoiled by the crappy movies of the last 10 years. It's not like the game isn't cool. Reynolds scrambling in slow motion with his torn jersey and helmet full of dirt was a thing of beauty.

So even though it has a lot going for it I did have some major problems with the movie. It's far from flawless in fact right off the bat there was a real surprise. In the opening scene Reynolds beats a woman. Was that even cool in the 70's? On the commentary Burt explains how uncomfortable he was with it, and how concerned he was that the audience would turn on him, but director Robert Aldrich convinced him it would work. Apparently moviegoers ate it up understanding that he was supposed to be a lowlife and that the movie was supposed to be funny.

The pacing in the beginning is killer. I was thinking it might be instantly DVD worthy, but as soon as he enters the prison work force it slows to a crawl. Way too much time is used setting up the other players, and the negative relationship between Crewe and a dozen different people. Some of it is very much needed but it was dragged out far too long.

Caretaker dying... I'll never get used to that. If you go back to my review of the 2005 update of The Longest Yard you'll see me cryptically hinting at the event in a non-spoiler review basically saying that it was such a shock and so jarring that it ripped me right out of the movie. It's done to give the prison team one more motivating force to fight for, but it's the sort of thing where you're never really ready for it. This is a Burt Reynolds sports comedy movie for the love of God!

The movie is a lot of fun to watch (most parts of it anyway) and while it's not the best sports movie (not even the best Football movie) of all time, it certainly has its place among the classics. Movie: 5 out of 10 I'm giving it an average rating because I was really taken out of this version with the slowed pacing. The game is great, the story I love, and Burt is the king, but I wasn't as into it as I was hoping to be. I wasn't routing for the guys to win as hard as I could of. I guess because it's pretty obvious they're going to win.

DVD features

Not a bad disk actually. It has the original trailer, which was sort of awkwardly long, and way too revealing plot wise. Seems that was even a problem back then. It also has two short featurettes where producers, stars (Reynolds included), professional football players, and sports writers talk about the making of the film and the significance it's had on sports culture and sports filmmaking. It was actually kind of cool to see modern pro football players admit that some of the dirty fighting seen in The Longest Yard isn't so far off base. I know my balls are glad I decided to take that drawing class instead of joining the football team.

Stand outs There's a commentary with Burt Reynolds and producer Albert Ruddy who was fresh off The Godfather. It was a good commentary, mainly because Reynolds is such a good storyteller and he's got a memory like no ones business. He's remembering peoples names, events that happen in between takes or at night after the shoots were done form a movie shot 340 years ago! I'm not even 30 and I can't remember stuff from 2 years ago. Either he had a really great time making this movie or he was making it up. Either way it's fun to listen to him spin a few tales.

What's missing?

It's hard to tell what could be missing from a film that came out so long before DVD's existed. I mean, there's got to be some deleted scenes out there somewhere right? All that I can think of is that it would've been cool to learn more about the development of the story. Ruddy talks briefly about meeting a washed up pro that was about to hit rock bottom which inspired the movie, but the process of moving from a drama to a comedy must have been an interesting one.

DVD: 5 out of 10

Nothing special but far from being bare bones. It'll be enough for real fans

DVD Worthy: Not for me but there's a lot of love out there for this movie so I would fault no one that has it in their collection. 15 minutes shaved off the movie and it would be in mine!

Today's incentive I'm tying into my month long incentive event Joe Loses an Eye. It's a very special Burt Reynolds edition of Joe Loses an Eye! Enjoy

Non movie related news Thanks for reading folks. I hope you liked this little diversion into the world of DVD's. If you did, be sure to head back into the archives and check out the DVD reviews I did for the Harry Potter franchise back when Goblet of Fire came out.

A special shout out to our newest sponsor Drastic Comics! Head on over and check it out. They've got a solid strip with sharp writing and an art style I'm in love with. I think it's all digital, but who can tell these days. Who cares, look at the size of that guys sideburns. You have to respect that! Seriously, it's a great strip that is definitely worth checking out. More On Drastic Comics and the Sideburn later this week.

Thanks again guys. See you tomorrow for the Pink Panther!

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

pimptour
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