This well-acted, despairing portrait of a lower middle class 14-year-old slipping inexorable into crime and alienation is admirably uncompromising. Nothing good ever happens to Joe (Noah Fleiss), the son of a brutal, drunken father (Val Kilmer) who's
employed sporadically as a janitor, and a harried, overworked mother (Karen Young) with a secret weakness for the lachrymose song stylings of Johnny Ray. Joe is underfed, scruffy and holding down a part-time job at a local greasy spoon that insures he never gets enough sleep. He's doing badly at
school, being harassed by the many neighbors to whom his father owes money, and can't bring himself to just steer clear of th...