Fourteen-year-old Joe Henry, a sensitive but tough working class boy, struggles to survive life with his abusive mother, drunken father, and inept guidance counselor. — Genre: Feature Film-Drama — Rating: R — Release Date: 9-... more »APR-2001
"Joe the King is a tale of a young lad virtually abandoned by society and family. The father (Val Kilmer) is an abusive, alcoholic; the mother is a passive female who allows the abuse. In essence, she has given up. The older brother is in the same mess. All he has going for him is the fact that he is a year older, and is, perhaps, more attractive. Joe, for the most part, seems more like a little hobo (or to some, perhaps, a modern Artful Dodger).This movie will carry you through many emotions, and most will be painful...even down right depressing. Fleiss plays his part perfectly. His facial expressions and body language can make you laugh in one moment; make you want to cry in the next.The opening scene was difficult for me. A younger Joe has his pants pulled down and is paddled by his antagonistic teacher. I don't think this would have really happened during the time frame of this movie, but I did flash back to the many times I had to hold my hand out for a swat with a wooden ruler.While Joe tries to work at a legitimate job, he finds it ever too tempting to start stealing. Joe is going to pay off his alcoholic father's debt and replace his mother's record collection; it was destroyed by the father during a drunken rage. Joe never uses the money for his own gain.You will find yourself 'rootin' for Joe. You don't want him to get caught. But a meddling school counselor (Hawke) upsets the scheme, ultimately leading to the arrest and conviction of Joe. The counselor thinks he is helping. HA!Prior to Joe's departure to the juvenile facility, the father delivers a rather touching dialog. But, too little, too late.Many people may find this movie too much of a downer. You want a happy ending; it is not there.If you are a male 25 or older, and if you had an abusive, alcoholic father...if you were ever tempted to steal something...if your boyhood days were tough and you lived on the edge of what could have been 'normal' but was in fact hell...if you've loved and lost, then you will probably enjoy this movie. I think it's a great movie, but then, again, I could see a lot of myself in Joe; I just never got caught. I recommend the DVD version, simply for the exceptional narrative."
Joe the man
paul kelly | remlap, al United States | 01/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this movie was wonderful, NOAH FLEISS ,whom i never heard of before, was perfectly cast in this film about a boy who has nothing but himself. well thats not entirely accurate, he lives with his mom,dad and older brother, but no-one realy knows he is there. the family has nothing, Joe's father (val kilmer) is an abusive drunk who used to be the school janitor, and Joe was embarased by his job, his mom is to busy to even care about Joe, and his older brother just doesnt want him hanging around him. so what is a guy to do, in this case Joe desides that stealing is his answer, he is not a bad kid, he just does bad things and has no role model to keep him straight.
this was actor Frank Whalley's directorial debut, which he also wrote. supposed to be semi auto-biographical.
i was so impressed with this movie that i went out and bought it. and i want to find out all i can about Noah Fleiss (a definite star of the future) who plays the part perfectly.
the critics didn't like the movie too well, but it did win awards at the sundance film festival, so it cant be that bad.
near the end of the film, something happens that makes you stop and pay attention, and look at your own life, because sometimes you only get one chance."
Awesome movie with breakthrough performance!
T. Francois | New York, NY USA | 07/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Remember this name: Noah Fleiss. This young kid gives such a mesmerizing, true-to-life performance you almost forget you're watching a movie and become totally engrossed in the life of this kid, who is at the center of this movie. This kid lives the most dismal, sad life and does not complain once to anyone. He just tries to live day by day and get through his meager existence by claiming little "victories" where he can. You just can't help but really feel for this kid down to the core of your being. A must see! Good performances from the supporting cast round out the movie as well."
King of the Hill
gonn1000 | Portugal | 02/11/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This interesting independent movie directed by Frank Whalley is a worthwile and engaging coming of age story about Joe, a teenage boy (played by the unknown and excellent Noah Fleiss), who doesn`t seem to find his place in school, neighborhood and family. It doesn`t help that he has an abusive drunk father and a mother too busy to care, who let him constantly on his own and forcing him to make some (bad) choices.
This could have turned into a predictable, by-the-numbers tearjerker but thankfully the director tries to develop a deep and dry story, realistic and honest enough. The last scenes with Joe and his father are actually quite well-done, never becoming too sappy although they make for some moving and powerful moments.
Not a stellar picture, but it`s done with care and talent in all levels, turning it into an above average effort and a good directing debut for Whalley. There`s even some acting contributions by indie-stars like Ethan Hawke, John Leguizamo or Val Kilmer in supporting roles. Recommended."
Val Kilmer In A Bold Role!
gonn1000 | 04/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Finally a Film That Proves Val Kilmer Can Act! Joe The King Is a Well Made Film that Is Strongly Written and has a Great Cast Led By Val Kilmer Who has a Role That Shows He has emotion! This was a Bold Role For Val Not Only Because he had to show a Range Of Emotion But He Also Had To Gain Weight and Show His Big Belly! You have To Give an Actor Credit For That! This is a Great Coming Of Age Story about a 14 Year Old Boy Going on 30 who despite having parents and an older brother is basically left to raise himself and gets in all sorts of trouble! The Film is a Downer at times because the film brings home the point that we are basically products of our surroundings and this kids surroundings are bleak, an alcoholic father, a tramp for a mother and a Future that is unkown! Despite that Cheery senerio, the film is compelling and I would highly recommend it! Keep that Belly Val and More Good Roles Should Come Your Way!"