Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesday: Joe (from the novel by Larry Brown)

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

Larry Brown, the late, great chronicler of the South's darker corners, gets another big-screen treatment (after 2001's Big Bad Love).  This time, Brown's 1991 novel Joe fills the screen with heavy drinking, domestic abuse and ornery men yelling, "The hell you lookin' at?"  Nicolas Cage (who physically looks like Brown--perhaps intentionally?) plays the titular role of an alcoholic ex-con forester who hires a boy (Tye Sheridan, last seen with Matthew McConaughey in Mud) to work with him on his crew.  When Joe discovers the 15-year-old boy is nothing but a punching bag for his alcoholic father, that ole ex-con rage starts to build inside him and you just know somebody's gonna get his ass whupped--or worse--before the end credits (a fact highlighted by a lawman coming across our anti-hero slumped against a wall and saying, "What have you done, Joe?").  All ingredients are in place for this to be a decent-to-good (possibly bordering on great) movie.  I'm especially intrigued by the fact that David Gordon Green is the director.  I'm a big fan of his films George Washington and Prince Avalanche and think his quiet, resonant style will serve Joe well.  Now, will somebody please, please, please make a movie out of Larry Brown's final, posthumous novel, A Miracle of Catfish?  I think it was one of his best.

A sad coda to this story: The actor cast as the abusive father did not live to see his work on screen.  Two months after filming ended, Gary Poulter, a homeless man plucked from obscurity when Green cast him in the movie, was found dead....submerged in three feet of water after a night of heavy drinking near Austin’s Lady Bird Lake.

No comments:

Post a Comment