Joe the King

"Terrible"

Joe the King Review


If you go to see this movie because you like Val Kilmer or Ethan Hawke, you're making a mistake. You won't get the typical flamboyance a la Kilmer, nor the masculine ruggedness you've come to expect from Hawke. Both actors put on weight and changed their look in order to portray absolute degenerates in this film, but that old trick doesn't work for these two. No matter how sloppy, drunk, or flabby these two get, they can't hide their Hollywood faces--they're just too pretty. Both are unconvincing, and when the two biggest names fail to produce, you know you've got a lousy product.

Joe the King is the sad story of a young boy trying to cope with his dysfunctional family in a poor, small town in the 1970s. Director and writer Frank Whaley's debut attempts to reveal the loneliness of adolescence by exposing the heart of a boy made tough by the harsh circumstances of his miserable family life. Set in upstate New York, the film follows Joe Henry (Noah Fleiss -- Josh and S.A.M.) as he deals with an abusive father (Kilmer) and a hapless mother (Karen Young). His only salvation is his fifteen-year-old brother, Mike (Max Ligosh). Together they comfort each other as they deal with each violent and horrific episode of family crisis.

The weight of the film relies heavily upon the shoulders of young Joe Henry. Unfortunately the story doesn't allow for his character to develop because he gets no support from any of the other characters. His mother has no time, his father is constantly drunk, his brother hates him throughout most of the film, and his guidance counselor (Hawke) doesn't seem to care. So we're stuck with two hours of one kid's pathetic existence.

The bright spot is that the young cast outshines the adults. Deprived of food for days, the adolescents survive on a diet of Hohos and whipped cream. They'll do anything for a buck from stealing to washing dishes to mopping toilets. Strangely enough, the adults throughout the town fail to notice how desperate the kids actually are, and their indifference is disturbing. To their credit, the kids of the small town are a lot more convincing and resilient in dealing with despair than their elders.

But no matter what era it takes place in, this film is overdone and clichéd. If you see it, I recommend some No Doz, otherwise you might find yourself being awaken by some theater attendant. Or he may have nodded off as well, who knows.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd January 1999

Distributed by: Trimark

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , , Robin O'Hara

Starring: as Bob Henry, as Joe Henry, as Theresa Henry, as Len Coles, as Mike Henry, as Mrs. Basil, as Winston, as Jorge, as Judge, as Mary, as Ray, as Allyson, Peter Anthony Tambakis as Young Joe

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.