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Jamesy Boy (2014)



Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 396

My Rating

Movie Info

JAMESY BOY is the story of teenager James Burns (played by Spencer Lofranco) who goes from the suburban street gangs to a maximum-security prison cell surrounded by hardened criminals. In prison, he forms a friendship with a convicted murderer (Ving Rhames) who becomes his mentor and helps him turn his life around. In this unlikely setting, James ultimately emerges with hope and a brighter future. (c) Xlrator Media


Drama, Kids & Family, Special Interest

Mar 18, 2014

Xlrator Media - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (14) | DVD (1)

True second-chance story doesn't come to life onscreen.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film with a message of inspiration, to be sure, but not much in terms of innovation.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For such a seriously street film, Jamesy Boy has some surprisingly sappy moments. But the redemptive ending, while thin, is genuinely gratifying.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The screenplay by Lane Shadgett and director Trevor White relies far too much on telling rather than showing.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

White's decision to shackle his film to a redemptive arc ends up making Burns's story an argument for juvenile imprisonment.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tackled with a sense of thoughtfulness and compassion that makes the would-be garden-variety narrative worthwhile.

February 18, 2014 Full Review Source:

The protagonist seems more sociopathic than sympathetic, and the film takes such a distorted view of the responsibility of role models and artistic expression in shaping troubled youth.

January 31, 2014 Full Review Source:

It's ultimately little more than the story of a hot-tempered young man who made a lot of bad choices, didn't like where they got him, and finally started making some better ones. While that's admirable, it isn't inherently compelling.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

With Jamesy Boy on their IMDb filmographies, both White and Lofranco are ones to watch.

January 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Although the plot is formulaic, the strong performances and the empathetic main character make this drama stand out.

January 19, 2014 Full Review Source: John Hanlon Reviews
John Hanlon Reviews

Sans nuance and much-needed depth, the end result feels underwhelming, bland and undercooked. Up-and-coming Spencer LoFranco shows promise as an actor.

January 18, 2014 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

A well-intentioned coming-of-age drama that never pushes past a comfortable orbit of earnestness in search of deeper truths.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source:

Trevor White's feature debut is an unconvincing portrayal of true crime, let down by a lightweight lead actor and a pedestrian screenplay.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Though based on the turbulent youth of co-producer James Burns, a minor-league drug user and dealer, Jamesy Boy nevertheless plays like a formulaic tale of tribulation and redemption.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Although it aims to dissect a trail of poor decisions and establish a horizon of self-awareness, Jamesy Boy lacks dramatic muscle and a credible lead performance.

January 16, 2014 Full Review Source:

It won't bore you, but it's not likely to rock your world either.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

The movie adds up to little more than an interminable bildungsroman, sunk early and often by the desperately miscast Spencer Lofranco.

January 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A modern morality play about a young felon who, after paying his debt to society, left the slammer rehabilitated with more of a fondness for rhyme than robbery.

January 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Sly Fox
Sly Fox

Burns has overcome a lot of hardship in his life, and his story is truly inspiring, but not everybody's story needs to be a movie.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Jamesy Boy

Stay up. Never down.

Good Movie! While not nearly as powerful the movie did remind me a little of American History X in the the way that a person can live his life one way without apologizing but when removed from that life he realizes the error in his ways and tries everything he can to change. There are some pretty big names in this movie but the kid that plays James is a perfect choice and really carries as well as outshines everyone else. While this is in no way a perfect movie I do recommend this and was surprised by how good it was. Overall, a lighter version of American History X that I recommend. The fact that this was a true story helped as well.

The true story of James Burns who, as a teenager goes from the suburban street gangs of Denver to a maximum-security prison cell surrounded by hardened criminals. In this unlikely setting, will James emerge with hope and a brighter future?
June 6, 2014
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

This crime drama directed by Trevor White and written by White and Lane Shadgett stars very fresh and invigorating young star Spencer Lofranco in the main role. The film relates the true story of James Burns which manages to attract the stars like Mary-Louise Parker (as a desperate single mom), James Woods (as a hard-nosed warden) and Ving Rhames (as a convicted murderer/mentor) in supporting roles. Good acting is something to be remembered in this movie, the rest was, pretty much, average. First-time feature writer-director Trevor White has shaped the rise, fall and redemption of teenage street thug into parallel storylines, crosscutting between the three years leading up to his incarceration and the few months he spends in maximum-security prison (after four years in juvenile). His way of directing wasn't bad at all, but some of the decision to narrate more than to show, were poorly made.

Screenplay dialogue is one of the weak points, and the story itself is a formulaic tale of redemption which would not bore you... or excite you either. But the acting was on a different level! Mary-Louise Parker was almost ready to give up acting, but decided to stick with it ... and the role in the Jamesy Boy could earn her award, I think.

Cinematography was standardly good, music was outstanding in parts of the movie, as well as the camera work.

If you have some time to "kill", try with this one. Not as bad as the critics want you to believe.
March 18, 2014
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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