Joe - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Joe Reviews

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½ February 19, 2017
Very much of its era
½ January 21, 2017
Now many would think this film is about Susan Sarandon's character. While it is about her symbolically, she only has a few scenes, the longest being the integral opening scene that prepares the rest of the movie.

However, the central character is Joe. So what about Joe? Well for one, his name is perfectly fitting. Because that's what he is-an average joe. A working-class man with working-class values. A man who loves bowling, brews, and above all his country. He's a stark believer and spokesman of patriotism. And in the world of 1970, there wasn't too much patriotism going on, particularly from the youth of America. "Times they were a changin" as they say. Joe wasn't happy with that change. He doesn't like the counterculture, whether it be dodge-drafters, druggies, free love, rock music, or just guys with long hair. He likes the modest, moralistic, and hard-working America he grew up with. And so does Bill Compton, a business man with a teenage daughter (Susan Sarandon) considered to be a "hippie" and a drug addict, along with her drug-dealer boyfriend.

Bill eventually confronts the boyfriend and gets himself into some serious trouble after a bout of rage. Later he also crosses paths with Joe at a bar, who's mouthing off drunkenly about the problems of the world. Bill doesn't say much, but he did say something that threw Joe off. Joe senses Bill may be caught in a real predicament, so later he meets with him to talk it over. They wind up becoming buddies, bonding over what happened. Two guys from different sides of the track. These men may be nothing alike in terms of social class, but they hold similar views of what society has become.

After an argument between Bill and his daughter, she runs away in shock and disgust. Bill is devastated and must get her back, so he asks Joe to offer his services. They scour the city looking for her, amongst the hippies they loathe but try to blend with in hope of getting any information leading to her discovery. Eventually they're duped by a group of teens who rip them off, but Joe and Bill, in a state of consternation, find their hideout and pay them a visit. It is there that things take a sudden turn for the worse, when both characters give in to peer pressure, coercion, and their underlying bigotry, letting it feed the actions that cause their undoing.
January 3, 2017
A terrific performance by Peter Boyle elevates an otherwise pretty trashy and exploitative movie.
November 19, 2016
like another 'archie bunker" this film marks the screen debut of susan sarandon
September 27, 2016
Harsh and realistic, pre-Taxi Driver movie about the Vietnam War era US, the quickly changing society, alienation. Peter Boyle as Joe Curran is a wonderful performance.
March 23, 2016
Extra half star for the fish-bowl full of pills. Movies don't actually become 'dated' - except this one! Dumb.
September 24, 2014
Watched this the year it came out and it left a lot of ideas in my head!
February 15, 2014
a chilling masterpiece
September 22, 2013
Joe is a slow story. As it is, the titular character doesn't make an appearance until 27 minutes in which up until then had been slow drama relating to characters abusing drugs and suffering the consequences, with the only mild benefit being Susan Sarandon's nudity in her debut feature film.
Also, Joe doesn't pack the same punch it did back in 1968 due to the fact that it came from the time period of the emerging counter-culture movement and acted as a story about a very right-wing and conservative man driven over the edge by his insane obsession with hippies and murderous disdain for them. This is a kind of character rarely chronicled on a film as it is a very anti-equality character with aggression with realistic lower-class language, but he isn't exactly dealt with in the best way as John G. Avildsen fails to dive into the mind of Joe Compton and relies on Peter Boyle's performance to achieve that. He uses a blank film style with simplistic cinematography and atmosphere which leaves Joe lacking any iconic features aside from the presence of its actors, Academy Award nominated screenplay and the fact that its the debut feature of Academy Award winning director John G. Avildsen. Critic Judith Crist referred to Joe as "A movie truly of our times", but times have changed and so the generation has too. Although I was luckily able to embrace Easy Rider, Joe is another case and not one I find constitutes enough to pass as a film rather than an extended monologue from a theatrical drama piece. There's nothing really notable enough to define Joe as a film, and rather risers just a long and angry story without sufficient visual stimulation.
Frankly, the battle of age has worn down Joe, and although the film features strong characters, particularly the titular Joe Compton, it itself no longer seems to maintain the same strength and is merely too boring to hold its own for 106 minutes, since about 100 of those are focused on studying characters from the counter-culture time period, particularly people embracing it and people fighting it. Although it has a strong screenplay to tell this story, its weak in being a good visual experience, as it doesn't get entertaining until the final few minutes when the famous climax occurs. But the final scene is merely a brief violent scene which isn't emphasised or explained, and merely shows one of the characters transitioning into a character more like Joe Compton than he was before, to the point where he ends up killing someone close to him. If the last scene had have been extended, took place earlier in the film or have been dramatically emphasised more, then Joe could have been a good film to this day. Alas, that is not the case.
The one thing continuing to hold Joe aloft is the acting.
Although he doesn't enter until 27 minutes in, Peter Boyle immediately steals the screen by embodying the aggressive, angry, hard working but low class American stereotypical white male flawlessly, and works strongly towards conveying aggression and anger at the changes in society as they damage him, and he keeps a certain level of intensity up in the film with his swift line delivery and domination through physicality. He makes Joe a memorable character.
Dennis Patrick also gives a charismatic performance as a human being coping with the shock of his actions
Susan Sarandon also makes a fine debut, portraying a character alternative to much of her later characters due to the sense of innocence staying strong through all the twisted situations and only shattering at the film's climax. Her sweetness and ability at emotional manipulation are put on display in Joe and used well, as well as elements of her sex appeal.

So Joe boasts a good cast, decent story and consistent screenplay, but it's excessively slow pacing and lack of story direction make it less effective today than back in 1970.
½ May 10, 2013

Hey Joe, where are you going with that gun in your hand?
"These goddamn nigger loving hippies, fucked up the music. If I ever get my hands on one of those little bastards...I'd kill 'em. They're getting away with murder, sex, drugs, pissing on America, fucking up the music. I'd like to kill one."-Joe Curran (Peter Boyle)
Powerful film, and the end is a jaw dropper.
March 21, 2013
Peter Boyle in his break through role stars as Joe Curran. A racist, homophobic, hippy hating factory worker. This turns into a fucked up buddy flick as Curran and his new best friend hunt for the latters missing daughter. A serious twitch off a young Susan Sarandon who gets the charlies out.
March 16, 2013
Peter Boyle is immense as the angry racist homophobic hippie hater. He makes Alf Garnett look like a liberal wimp.
March 6, 2013
R.I.P, Peter Boyle! xoxo
½ August 5, 2012
One of the many great counter-culture films to come at the dawn of the seventies. Peter Boyle gives a wonderful performance as a hippie hating lower class working stiff.
½ May 25, 2012
Advertising executive Bill Compton his wife Joan, and daughter Melissa (Susan Sarandon) are a wealthy family living in New York's Upper East Side. Melissa has recently been living with her drug dealer boyfriend. After Melissa overdoses and is sent to a hospital, Compton goes to her boyfriend's apartment to get her clothes. Compton then kills the boyfriend in a fit of rage. Shaken, he grabs a bag of the boyfriend's drugs, flees from the apartment, and goes to calm down in a local bar. There, he encounters the blue collar, WWII veteran and pro-establishment right-winger, Joe Curran (Peter Boyle) when he is ranting about how he is disgusted by the peace and love generation, by blacks, gays, and liberals and anyone that doesn't embody the old-time patriotic ideals that he sees as making America great. Curran says as well that he would like to "kill a hippie". Compton, unable to restrain himself, blurts out "I just did," then fakes a smile once he realizes he has just made a public confession. Joe appears to believe Compton's statement at first, but then takes it as a joke. The next day, Joe sees a news report about a drug dealer being murdered a few blocks from the bar. He immediately realizes Compton is the one who did it. Joe, a deeply disturbed man with a hidden violent streak, arranges a meeting with Compton, and the two form a very strange friendship. Eventually Melissa finds out that her father killed her boyfriend and runs away. Bill and Joe ends up going on a hunt for her in the Greenwich Village and encountering the hippie movement up close at the same time...

Never really heard about this movie before, and I felt it was worth a watch. This is more or less a counterculture movie to all the movies coming out at the same time that was based on the liberation of the hippie movement. Peter Boyles character Joe is the very picture of intolerance, bigotry and hatred towards everything that doesn't fit into what he believes is the american way of being. Thus projecting his hate towards hippies, blacks, gays, liberals etc. And at the same time he carries a fascination about this liberated environment. The strange relationship between Bill and Joe is the drive of the movie and it makes the movie intriguing and unpredictable. Peter Boyle is quite convincing as Joe and it was nice to see a young Susan Sarandon in her first role. Yes, the movie feels slightly dated in how it has been shot, effects, somewhat dodgy acting at times, but yet it has a vibe of the period and it feels honest in that way. Interesting soundtrack as well. Note that when Peter Boyle saw audience members cheering the violence in Joe, he refused to appear in any other film or television show that glorified violence. This included the role of Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in "The French Connection" (1971). In the 1980s, there were rumors that Peter Boyle might appear in a sequel to Joe. The sequel would follow Joe as he tried to rebuild his life after spending 10 years in prison and would also deal with his grown up kids who held more liberal beliefs. The film never materialized, however.
April 25, 2012
Pretty Boring movie takes forever to get anywhere,but has a great ending.
April 22, 2012
Mesmerizing character study!!
½ April 16, 2012
A wealthy man kills his daughters drug dealer boyfriend after she nearly dies from a drug overdose. He then befriends a racist blue collar worker. The tone and message of this film changed so drastically at different times that I wasn't sure I was gonna like it by the end. The finale explained it all. I liked it.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2012
Granted, the character that Peter Boyle is given in "Joe" is an interesting one, but the film simply doesn't do enough with him. We just watch as he exists and spouts racist and homophobic lines with none of it ever leading anywhere. Norman Wexler's script is decidedly good, but would've made for a better movie under someone else's direction.
February 24, 2012
Little seen but powerful drama dealing with both left and Right at the fag end of the so called 60s dream.

When Bill Comptons daughter is admitted to hospital after an overdose Compton confronts and accidentaly kills her junkie boy friend.
I a bar on the way back from the crime he meets Joe a bigoted right wing working man aho blames all of Americas current ills on the hippy ideal.

Joe Befriends Compton when he hears of his crime and shows Compton how everything they hold dear is being undermined by the love genaration.

Peter Boyle delivers an outstanding performance as the title lead Joe ,his attitudes and views are still shocking and one could only imagine what an Audience in 1970 thought ,one would say they would be split down the middle .

Joe would be a hero to the right and a pariah to the left and director John G Avilsdens shows how Joe Deals with both sides .

The film eventualy reaches its shocking conclusion and although its dated in places ,its a perfect snapshot of the state of America at that time .
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