Radio Flyer Reviews
A father recounts a dark period of his childhood when he and his little brother lived in the suburbs.
Not much material nearly grounds "Radio Flyer" pretty quick, but in the end the film is somewhat enjoyable and almost becomes one of the biggest surprises of the 1990s. Tom Hanks tells his two young sons about a dark time when he (Elijah Wood in the flashbacks) and younger brother Joseph Mazzello moved to the suburbs in California with mother Lorraine Bracco. Almost immediately she meets trouble-maker Adam Baldwin (his face barely seen throughout the film) and marries him. It is crystal clear that Baldwin is a child abuser, always choosing Mazzello as his target. A plan develops very quickly by the two youngsters to turn Mazzello's new wagon into a flying machine so he can get away from Baldwin's abuse. The film has many holes in it, but it still remains interesting nonetheless. Co-directors Richard Donner and David M. Evans almost turn the movie into a whimsical fantasy and I am not sure that was a good thing. It also seems that a lot of trouble went into Wood and Mazzello's plan when it would have been so much easier to go to their mother or local police officer John Heard and explain the situation. The film-makers wanted to show the movie through a child's point-of-view ala "E.T.---The Extra-Terrestrial", but a truly gifted director like Steven Spielberg is one of the few people that could pull that off successfully. "Radio Flyer" is above average and still pretty good in spite of numerous shortcomings. Ben Johnson adds an endearing cameo and really should have had a little more airtime.