Joe the King Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 6, 2010
What a depressing movie!? That poor kid! It really makes you wonder just how many kids are suffering that way on a daily basis. It also makes you appreciate what you've got.
½ December 3, 2009
Very believably done, the cast is very convincing and well acted by everyone, although Val Kilmer seems a little out of place. The overall feeling of the film is a bit depressing. A lot of the characters are unpleasant, but director Frank Whaley carefully gave them a human side as well. His direction it what makes the film work.
December 16, 2008
okay. i haven't seen this movie in a few years so i can only remember some parts of it. that being said this isn't going to be best review that i can give it.

i thought, as an eight year old child, what a weird and dark movie. it shows a kid smoking, a teacher giving the same kid a spanking, curse words, a mother yelling at her son, etc.
that's a lot for an eight year old , i must say, to absorb and take in and fully come to grasp with the point and plot.

but when i look back at it now, 6 years later, 6 years wiser, i've come to the conclusion that i would think that it was a pretty powerful movie, if i watched it today.
January 7, 2014
In the end, Whaley opts to take the sentimental route, providing easy, crowd-pleasing answers to the serious questions he raises.
½ June 29, 2012
More honestly real than one hundred percent of the voluptuous decadence and masturbation crammed out of the anus that is today's Hollywood. A film worth watching because Frank Whaley had the courage to put himself as a man into his script. I typically don't enjoy films about kids, but this one is essentially excellent, completely sympathy-worthy, and simply very watchable. Enjoy.
December 3, 2011
Joe the King is a heartbreaking tale about a young boy, Joe Henry, who is forced to work illegally to help support his alcoholic father's gambling habits. Joe is picked on in school because his father works as the janitor. He is also picked on by a lot of the adults in his life (honestly, every adult in the film was utterly horrible - with the possible exception of Ethan Hawke's character) because of his father's habit of borrowing money and never returning it.

Things have become so dire that Joe often has to source his food from stolen candy boxes or from left-overs in the sink at work. Things are getting worse and worse, and something has to give. The turning point in this film centres around Joe breaking into his place of work and stealing a wad of cash. He spends most of it on records for his mother (who is an avid record collector, but whose collection was obliterated by her drunken husband) and stashes the rest of it. A gash in his leg is what gives him away, and his mother opts to send him to a juvenile detention centre as she has no time to watch after him and make sure that he does the right thing.

Noah Fleiss was fantastic as Joe. The majority of the film centres around Joe's relationship with his father, Bob Henry, and one of the more emotional scenes between the two occurs toward the end of the film just before Joe is taken to the detention centre. Kilmer gave a great performance as an alcoholic - he was a pathetic tiny man trying so hard to be big and tough. It was equal amounts of amusing and saddening. Some of the best scenes in this film involved both Fleiss and Kilmer - defnitely worth a watch for their performances if nothing else.
December 8, 2010
Excellent film. Joe the king is a great dramatic film just don't expect it to pick you up if you're feelin' down.
December 4, 2010
Odd that the "TOP CRITICS' hated this movie, but others, including the RT Community have a positive opinion about it. I also liked the film
July 15, 2009
An above average drama. The performances were very well done but the problems with this film does lie in the fact that the director does mess up some scenes. He makes you feel the oppisite from what you are meant to feel from the scenes written in the script. But the acting do keep this film fresh and interesting.
½ December 26, 2004
Very believably done, the cast is very convincing and well acted by everyone, although Val Kilmer seems a little out of place. The overall feeling of the film is a bit depressing. A lot of the characters are unpleasant, but director Frank Whaley carefully gave them a human side as well. His direction it what makes the film work.
August 11, 2004
Joe the King (1999) - An very well done film about a resilient 14 year-old kid named Joey (played by Noah Fleiss) who is living in a terrible home situation. Joey gets in enough trouble to finally land him in juvenile detention, but the heart of the movie was how he did his best to deal with the pain and suffering within his family.

This was actor Frank Whaley?s directorial debut and I?ve read that he made a few mistakes in making this movie. I couldn?t tell. All I know is that whatever he did, he had me from the start. Val Kilmer and Ethan Hawke also appear in the film as part of Joey?s ?extended? family.
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