[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link]

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One of Ms. Salad's seemingly at-random picks out of the Netflix bowl. She liked it much better than I did, and she didn't like it that much.

Joe, the title character, is played by Nicolas Cage. He inhabits a desperately poor area of (I think) Texas, an unending sprawl of destitution. (The nicest structure that appears on film, I think, is the local whorehouse.) Nearly everyone is overly fond of alcohol and cigarettes. The local cops can only hope to keep a lid on overt lawlessness, and they don't do such a hot job of it.

Joe is an ex-con trying to go straight, but he has serious anger issues. In what may have been a metaphor, had I thought about it hard enough, his job is to manage a work gang that's poisoning junk trees in order to make room for a future woodlot. It's dirty and arduous work, but it keeps him honest-but-poor.

In comes Gary, a 15-year-old from an extremely dysfunctional family. His dad is a (literally) murderous drunk, who terrorizes his mom and probably sexually abuses his mute sister. But he's relatively clean, wants to work hard. Joe takes a shine to him.

And then: mostly depressing stuff happens. It goes on and on. And (spoiler alert) nearly everyone winds up dead.

Not my cup of tea, although the IMDB raters have it slightly above mediocre. IMDB trivia saith that the guy who played Gary's father was an actual homeless guy plucked off the streets of Austin; he died, back on the streets, a few weeks after the filming. Now that's authenticity. Not that it's fun to watch.

Last Modified 2024-01-27 6:21 AM EDT