A destitute 14-year-old struggles to keep his life together despite harsh abuse at his mother's hands, harsher abuse at his father's, and a growing separation from his slightly older brother. Petty thefts for food grow into more major takes until he steals a cash box from the diner where he works. Although Joe uses the money to pay off some of his father's debts and to replace his mother's records that his father smashed in a fit of temper, Joe gets no thanks. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The working title of the film was "Pleasant View" during pre-production. See more »
Joe licks the envelope closed to the card he leaves his mother under the porch, but when she crawls under the porch to open it, it is unsealed. See more »
[seeing Joe eating scraps out of the sink]
Did you get something to eat?
Uh, just some Ho-Ho's.
Ho-ho's? Get a sandwich. Tell Roy to get you a sandwich, man.
No, it's all right. I'll just pick on this.
I wouldn't be touchin' that if you saw the leper who was drooling all over that shit.
[calling to the cook]
Hey, Roy, you old fuck!
Get the boy a sandwich or somethin' before he gets hepatitis!
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I came across this film almost by accident. I have a habit of searching the IMDB for other films of actors and actresses whose performances I have enjoyed. So it was that I saw the promise of Noah Fleiss, as shown in Josh and S.A.M., bloom to fruition in his mature performance in this wonderful film.
Joe is a youngster living in poverty and deprived of love. He is brutalised and humiliated by his teacher and by his drunken father. Only his favoured brother, Mike and a similarly love-starved friend, and eventually a concerned counsellor (Ethan Hawke) lend him any support. Remarkably Joe is totally unselfish and, having slaved to earn cash just to survive and to improve the lives of those close to him, he is gradually driven more and more into crime.
I watched this film with two friends and the three of us were so captivated by this touching story that none of us moved or uttered a word until long after the credits had finished rolling. When the silence was broken it was with the words "Wow! How good was that?" Remember the name, Noah Fleiss, because he is destined to be a star.
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