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Joe (2013)

R | | Drama | 11 April 2014 (USA)
2:31 | Trailer

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An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.



, (based on the novel by)
4,139 ( 240)
4 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Poulter ...
Brian Mays ...
Junior (as Brian D. Mays)
Aj Wilson McPhaul ...
Earl (as A.J. Wilson McPhaul)
Mother (as Brenda Isaacs-Booth)
Shorty (as Elbert Evan Hill III)
Milton Fountain ...
Roderick L. Polk ...


In order to provide for his destitute family of drifters, a likable, sincere, able-bodied 15-year-old boy comes to hire on among a burned-out ex-con's group of aging forest laborers. As the man becomes more and more aware of the boy's abusive home life, his deeply buried humanity is roused. Drinking and smoking incessantly to remain detached from his volatile temper, he finally takes the matter into his own hands - come what may - when the boy's alcoholic father finally goes too far. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, disturbing material, language and some strong sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

11 April 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Джо  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$105,881 (USA) (11 April 2014)


$371,897 (USA) (16 May 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Tye Sheridan as well as Nicolas Cage have both played characters in marvel comic movie adaptions; Nicolas Cage played Ghost Rider and Tye Sheridan will be playing young Cyclops in the upcoming Xmen: Apocalypse See more »


When Joe and Gary are looking for the dog, Gary climbs into the driver's seat of the truck. When they arrive, Joe is driving. See more »


[first lines]
Gary: Hey, you old man, you look at me. I got som'in' to say to you. Every time we land someplace new, you say it's gonna be different, but it ain't. You mess up... a lot... then you leave a mess for me and Momma and Dorothy to clean up, and that ain't right. That's all I'm sayin'. Hell, I do what I gotta do. You do whatever the hell you want - whatever you can get away with. You're just a... selfish old drunk. Yeah, that's what you is. Yeah, this place is gonna be after us. Hell, ...
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Keeping Man
Performed by Lance LeGault
Courtesy of Polydor Records Ltd.
Under License From Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

The Return of Nicolas Cage
13 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I couldn't help but notice how much J-O-E is similar (or at least as simple as) to a D-O-G. The film is more than just a glimpse into the life of a man who does know how to live, but I was wondering if he served more as a metaphor for everyone of us as a part of the human race who live better when we're on a leash. Nicolas Cage plays the title character as a man who can smile and have fun, but lives off the leash. He'd be a good dog to the extent that he will always do the right thing. Just don't mess with him. Or his friends. "Joe" has been the movie event of the festival. It plays a dramatic chord through notes of laughter and some extreme intensity (seriously, of "Gravity" caliber). The violence is strong (the 60-year-old man next to me had to look away during one scene in particular), and the acting is subtle (realistic). Nic Cage, in his conversation at the SXSW Film Festival, spoke about his wife telling him that this role was as close as he's gotten to his real persona. I found it more along the lines of "Leaving Las Vegas." If you're reading that right, you should be expecting Nic Cage do start doing lower-budget movies (this was made for $6 Million, I believe). This is what he wants to do now (I quote him personally), and I believe this could be the start of a sustainable career toward what we might come to know as a legacy. Nicolas Cage, you should know, is the ideal movie star. He knows how to live, and he knows how to be kind. This is his return to form while there may be a *wink* or two in this film at what he's known as on this wild thing called the "internet." Still, he's not really like any other movie star, and there will never be anyone known as "the next Nicolas Cage." He is truly one-of-a-kind. As is this film. "Joe" is a simple story of simple people. There are many minor characters who just seem to exist in this world. There is one scene of him looking over to see a couple in a jeep next to him. I felt this might have been out of place, although the two made eye contact and it granted a laugh from the audience. What I wanted was this scene to be a metaphor for was a life Joe could have had. He doesn't like being messed with, especially when nobody has a reason to mess with him. He doesn't give them one, but when he fights back at them, the consequences are played out throughout the film. The editing lets the actors breath and the music lets the atmosphere live. Shot around Austin, an audience member (that same 60-year-old man) told me that the director, David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), grabbed a few people off a bus, and gave them starring roles. They serve as decay of human beings. We're shown the lowest of the low, and it will make you angry to see what people are capable of doing to each other. I don't believe people are happier on a leash. When we're told what to do, we may be rewarded with food, but at the end of the day, it's the connection to each other that makes us want to wake up again. Dogs play a major role in this film to the extent that one serves as a major character. In the final moments (No spoiler, I promise), there is a tear-jerking scene that lets you know that we can find happiness and peace. We see the dog in the front seat, happy with it's tongue out for the first time in the film, as opposed to the brute-ready-to-fight we've come to know in the back of Joe's truck. All we need in life is to be raised well. On that note, Tye Sheridan's (from "Mud" (2012) with Matthew McConaughey) part is played tough, but his deadbeat abusive father has become such a bad influence, and Gary is smart enough to know not to follow in his footsteps. This film was nearly perfect, but sadly still not made for everyone. I hope, when it's finally released worldwide to audiences everywhere, I'm wrong about that, and audiences see it. It's an important film, as well as very entertaining.

59 of 99 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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