Movie critic Paul McGuire Grimes chats with Connie Britton, one of the stars of the movie Joe Bell. He gives us his rating on the movie along with Disney’s Jungle Cruise.
JOE BELL (in theaters)
Mark Wahlberg has played plenty of Boston tough guys in his career. His latest role in Joe Bell offers up a newer side to the actor taking audiences on a heartbreaking journey of being a parent. Joe Bell is based a true story of an Oregon dad, played by Mark Wahlberg, who goes out to walk cross country from his home in LeGrand, Oregon to New York City sharing the story of his gay son, Jadin, and hopefully opening minds and hearts away from bullying and mockery to one of acceptance and love.
Joe Bell’s story takes place in 2013, and while it may seem like tolerance and equality have grown, the messages are still vital as teen suicide rates are rising.
There are many LGBTQ+ movies or TV series centered on the teen perspective like Love, Simon or Glee. We don’t often get something sharing the parents’ perspective that could being that educational reminder for them. Joe Bell is that father/son story that feels catered to the Joe Bells out there from those smaller, rural communities that have a hard time with acceptance or understanding what their children are going through.
Joe Bell can be a great teaching tool for many parents out there. There’s an admission that too often parents make this situation all about themselves instead of thinking about what their children are going through. It’s a sad and tragic story that certainly pulls at the heartstrings. It’s only 90 minutes, and I think it could be longer to really dive deep into understanding the impact Joe’s message had on the communities he went to. Instead, it’s more of the introspective journey Joe went on with himself for the love of his son.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
JUNGLE CRUISE (in theaters, Disney+ Premier Access)
Pairing Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt together for a family adventure is a no-brainer. They’re a winning pair that will make you hop on board Jungle Cruise. The legend of the Tears of the Moon tree has mystified explorers for centuries. It’s been said that one pink petal from the tree will cure any ailment. It’s the early 1900s and Emily Blunt plays Dr. Lily Houghton who sets out from England to the Amazon with her brother to find the Tears of the Moon. There she meets Frank Wolf, played by Dwayne Johnson, who owns a boat and knows his way around the river better than anyone else. She hires him to be their skipper despite a bumpy start to their relationship. She’s not the only one who wants the mythical tree. Jesse Plemons stars as the film’s main villain, German Prince Joachim who will stop at nothing to get his hands on Tears of the Moon.
Jungle Cruise is inspired by the famed Disneyland attraction that first premiered back in 1955. This isn’t the first time Disney has turned one of their attractions into a film following The Haunted Mansion and The Pirates of the Caribbean.
The adventure down the Amazon comes with twists, turns, and reveals that should keep kids surprised and entertained as the Skipper has a few tricks up his sleeve. And there are plenty of snakes, jungle cats, and other wild creatures that play into the fun.
Jungle Cruise is a wonderful new family film worth taking everyone out to the theater to experience on a big screen. I couldn’t help but think of the live action Disney films I grew up on as James Newton Howard’s score carries us through with its rollicking and majestic anthems. There are plenty of laughs, vibrant images, and escapist fun for the whole family. This could easily be Disney’s next franchise.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS