Erin Warner / October 2016 / Review

You’re About to Fall in Love with ‘Joe Splosion’

Joe Splosion is the cinematic experience you never knew you needed.

Ranging from 25-45 minutes per episode, this three-part YouTube series comically depicts the thrilling adventures of an overweight action hero constantly tormented by the shenanigans of his nemesis: the evil gay dads. Joe Splosion has everything the easily stimulated teenager is looking for: choppy, improvisational dialogue comparable to an episode of Rick and Morty, nonsensical plot twists, car chases, fight scenes, romance, Hitler, a pool time machine, random camera zooms that focus on Joe Splosion’s butt crack, and the special effects of a low-budget Michael Bay movie. Another notable feature of this series is the ever-changing theme song. The pilot episode opens with an original and catchy melody overlaying a 5-minute credit scene while Joe Splosion 2: World War Joe commences with an electric scooter chase to Stan Bush’s “The Touch.”

YouTube has been a game changer for young film directors looking to expose their work—and butt cracks—to the world at large. Traditional movie making is incredibly expensive, but the online community is bursting with the new, the weird, and delightfully arcane—and Joe Splosion is no exception. Similar to YouTube sensation Miranda Sings, Joe Splosion has the ability to achieve virality that could lead to movies, high production videos, celebrity cameos, or a Netflix series—maybe even a budget. 

The idea of Joe Splosion was developed by three longtime friends—Joe Healy, Lucky Marvel (his actual name, believe it or not), and Chris Felizzi of Wilmington, Delaware—during their sophomore year of high school. Joe Healy appears in the film as Joe Splosion, with Lucky Marvel and Chris Felizzi playing The Evil Gay Dads. 

“The inspiration of the evil gay dads stemmed from the super close relationship of Chris and I,” states Lucky Marvel. “We would meet people all the time who thought we were in a relationship with one another.”

The decision to cast Lucky and Chris as the antagonists originated from the playful teasing that is continuously directed toward Joe Healy. Evidence to rationalize the endless provocation of Joe Healy can be displayed in the conception of Joe Splosion. Producer and cast member, Lucky Marvel, noted that the inception of the film was far from auspicious: “Joey would constantly come up with really outlandish ideas for stuff to film that rarely made sense and always centered around him getting to do cool ‘action movie’ shit.”

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These weed-induced ramblings later became the inspiration for the production of Joe Splosion. The production of the film occurred after school over the course of a few days in prime locations such as the trio’s high school loading dock, football bleachers, and the driveway of Chris Felizzi’s home. The compilation of zany characters and easily accessed filming locals is on par with SNL digital short Laser Cats with Andy Samberg and Bill Hader.

Both Joe Splosion 2: World War Joe and Joe Splosion 3: The Fall of Joe Splosion were filmed during the summer of the trio’s sophomore year. Lucky claims, “The plot lines for the two sequels were conceived the same way as the pilot: What’s the stupidest thing we can come up with and have the ability to with a budget of zero?” The sequels were placed on the back burner until finals week, where editing was used as a tool for procrastinating on studying. Though these edits were long overdue, they were worth the wait with more explosions, sounds effects, and music montages than ever before.

One of the most impressive ways the film draws in the audience in the series is not through comedy, but through the friendship and amusement the actors convey within their roles. Lucky articulates, “We’re enjoying ourselves, and I’d like to think that’s an energy translated to the audience.”  Not only is that energy beneficial to the audience, but it improves the production process and overall content of the video series. “Acting with your friends means everyone feels comfortable to speak up and suggest things,” Lucky noted.

This sense of trust within the trio allowed for the brainstorming period to get to the optimum point of quirkiness and absurdity that the group originally anticipated. Lucky best summarizes by stating, “It’s really fun to screw around with my best friends and have the incentive of someone possibly enjoying it.”

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Though Joe Splosion is Lucky Marvel’s most recent foray into the tangled world of YouTube stardom, his most prized work is the creation of the 3-season YouTube series, Knight Time. Knight Time is a pseudo school news show where protagonist, Lucky Marvel, attempts to take down a drug ring that has corrupted the school while battling internal turmoil and mental illness. Knight Time was in production for three years, allowing Luck to grow as a producer, filmmaker, and actor. Lucky claims, “The audio, the imagery, the editing, and the overall quality of the first episode of Knight Time is very different from the finale. If you take a look at just 2 minutes of both of those episodes you can see the improvement. If you watch all 15 you’ll see an evolution.”

Marvel currently takes courses at the Delaware Technical Institute and plans on transferring to a film school within the next two years. He has been entering his work into film festivals across the U.S. and hopes to be recognized for his series, Knight Time. Currently, film auteur Marvel is working on a skit series titled DelaHERE. DelaHERE takes the format of a public broadcasting channel and delivers a multitude a short, yet comical non-sequiturs. Marvel states, “from the crafty and sometimes purposely jagged editing, you’ll be able to pick up traces of amusement from something like the Eric Andre Show.”  

Lucky believes he draws inspiration every day from his father, friends, and favorite TV shows, which allows him to pursue his passion for filmmaking. Currently, Lucky Marvel’s films average from 50 to 100 views on YouTube. Though undiscovered, Joe Splosion, Knight Time, and DelaHERE embody the essence of YouTube: innovative, quirky, and captivating. Lucky Marvel’s creations provide a window into the edgy weirdness that encapsulates the goal of YouTube’s establishment.

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