Based on journalist A. E. Hotchner's memoirs of a Depression-era St. Louis boyhood, KING OF THE HILL resembles nothing so much as a tasteful, nostalgic TV special sponsored by the Hallmark Hall of Fame. In the hands of writer-director Steven Soderbergh (SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE), the
realities of poverty are rendered blandly palatable and eminently forgettable.
Aaron Kurlander (Jesse Bradford), a bright, introspective boy of about 12, excels at marbles and school but habitually lies to conceal his family's neediness. His father (Jeroen Krabbe), a struggling salesman, has moved his wife and kids to a cheap hotel while waiting to land a steady job with
the WPA ...