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Just, Melvin: Just Evil (2000)

An in-depth look at the director James Ronald Whitney's family history of incest spanning at least three generations and the devastating consequences that include drug abuse and alcoholism.
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Cast overview:
James Ronald Whitney ... Himself
Melvin Just Melvin Just ... Himself


An in-depth look at the director James Ronald Whitney's family history of incest spanning at least three generations and the devastating consequences that include drug abuse and alcoholism.

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Release Date:

January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Just, Melvin See more »


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Production 920 See more »
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Features Body Language (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

3 April 2016 | by ReginaKWaltersSee all my reviews

I have a lot to say about this film, much is personal.

But I just wanted to voice one thing here mostly.

To start, the movie is incredibly well put together, its editing, pacing and structure of told events builds a heavy image. The usage of old photos, the chosen locations, the entire tone, its like a step back into certain parts of childhood, some I miss, some best forgotten, and what this film does BEST is convey the aesthetics of rural/trailer life around being a victim of sexual violence. Everyone opens up and tells the heaviest of details, some gruesome, some actually heart warming (most will not find it that way, I know this) and the result of the feeling of an open soar, 60's and 70's households that are unchanged in the 90's, filled with secrets and fading family photos of groups of people who hate each other now, bitter nostalgia and loss, it runs the course.

All this to say...I wish the director focused on someone other than himself.

Certain moments you can read between the lines enough to know its a personal project that is using the lives of those around to flesh out the director's goals. OK, that may be harsh, but he gets selfish with it anyway.

There are several people, like the two gay sisters, or the aunts, or the intersex kid, or frankly ANY of the children really, who would be better focused on, hell why not all of them??

The director talks about his time in dance competitions, talks about how smart he is, plays piano while the camera zooms into his face really close and wiggles around so you know he is a troubled person who has things to get off him back, the way that you can see his sisters at times losing patience with him, the part where he rounds up his family and makes them visit Melvin (which was obviously him hoping that everyone would flip on Melvin and yell at him, which I was at least hoping for too, but anyone who been there knows, no matter how much you hate someone who did that to you, sometimes its hard to get to a place where you can express it in front of them) hell, he even at one point starts to force his Mom into confessing her sins of not being more proactive in stopping Melvin, despite the fact that she was a victim too, and was essentially powerless overall.

All this to say, I feel like I was told about something heavy that I really wanted to know more about, and I was told the story I didn't connect to.

I feel the pain coming out of this film and I am not here for the sake of shaming a victim of childhood sexual assault, but as real as this film makes the past feel sometimes, I still wish it went into the lives of all the girls, and I wish I could have heard more about how the kids related to each other, hearing things like their meetings with each other to plan how to kill Melvin, and the friction that came between everyone as they grew was so important I feel but was flooded over in exchange for accumulating as much on screen evidence against Melvin. Now I don't think anyone else in the family would have been able to make this, mostly due to the limitations of access they have both due to their class status and due to the things the abuse did to them (I hate the mother for acting like those sisters being rowdy and drunk and gay was them being 'broken') and the director tries to be distant in the weirdest times, vs the ones he gets personal during.

Its important people like Melvin die. Not a fan of prison. Since most people in prisons are actually not evil, child rapists tend to get killed fast, but because of this, prisons tend to give special protection to anyone tried, plus in his advanced age, he'd probably be treated with care, since he'd be legally allowed medical help. Basically It'd be no skin off his horrific back since unless he is taken out, he doesn't seem to get out much anyway, maybe the concept of being in prison would upset him but he needed to suffer. Eye for an eye, cheek turning is for petty arguments.

I need to say I loved the family, I wish I could have seen a much longer cut, I loved hearing about the children and how they felt about life, what they loved, hated. I was crying when they were defiling Melvin's grave, both from sadness of how they were denied the justice they deserved, and from the sad joy of seeing them take what power back that they could. I also enjoyed seeing Melvin get freaked out and make the most laughably empty threats as he is told a list of his sins.

I enjoyed the movie overall (despite my major gripes about its chosen focus and how personal the director made it when it should have been shared a bit more) it hits me in many places very close to my heart, and I would recommend this film to anyone who is wondering if they should watch it. Its nothing I'd Introduce to someone, unless I had to.

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