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Clockwise from top left: Inside Out 2, Thelma, Twisters, Hit Man, Fancy Dance and Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

Clockwise from top left: Inside Out 2 , Thelma , Twisters , Hit Man , Fancy Dance and Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F . Disney/Pixar, Magnolia Pictures, Universal Pictures, Netflix, Apple TV+, Netflix hide caption

These are the 19 movies we're most excited about this summer

June 10, 2024 • Comedies, action-adventures, coming-of-age tales, animation — plus that sweet, sweet movie theater air conditioning. There's something for everyone at the multiplex; our critics can help you choose.

'Longlegs' is a (satanic) panic

Maika Monroe in a scene from Longlegs . Neon hide caption

Pop Culture Happy Hour

'longlegs' is a (satanic) panic.

July 15, 2024 • They're calling it the scariest movie of the year. The new horror film Longlegs follows FBI special agent Lee Harker (Mika Monroe) tracking a serial killer in the 1990s. If that sounds like familiar ground, consider this – the clues she follows hint at the involvement of the occult in general and Satanism in particular. And the killer in question: Nicolas Cage, uncaged.

Louis C.K. photographed in 2017.

Louis C.K. photographed in 2017. Angela Lewis/for the New York Times hide caption

Has Hollywood forgotten #MeToo? ‘Sorry/Not Sorry’ examines Louis C.K.’s return

July 13, 2024 • The documentary produced by the New York Times tracks Louis C.K.’s professional success since admitting to misconduct in 2017.

Actor Alec Baldwin hugs his attorney Alex Spiro.

Actor Alec Baldwin hugs his attorney Alex Spiro. Ramsay de Give/AP hide caption

In a stunning turn, judge throws out case against Alec Baldwin

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Colman Domingo and Clarence Maclin in Sing Sing.

Colman Domingo and Clarence Maclin in Sing Sing. A24 hide caption

‘Sing Sing’ tenderly probes the joys – and limits – of art in prison

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'Fly Me to the Moon' soft launches Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum in Fly Me to the Moon . Apple TV+ hide caption

'Fly Me to the Moon' soft launches Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum

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Alessandro Pietta of Pietta Firearms, which made the gun that went off on the set of Rust.

Alessandro Pietta of Pietta Firearms, which made the gun that went off on the set of Rust . Ramsay de Give/Reuters hide caption

Testimony continues Friday in Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' trial

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Actor Maika Monroe plays FBI agent Lee Harker in the new film Longlegs.

Actor Maika Monroe plays FBI agent Lee Harker in the new film Longlegs. NEON hide caption

'Longlegs' draws from 'Silence of the Lambs,' but stands on its own terrifying feet

July 11, 2024 • In the new Nicolas Cage horror film Longlegs , an FBI agent is assigned to an unsolved serial killer case that takes an unexpected turn, revealing evidence of the occult.

The plot of 'Longlegs' may sound familiar but it stands on its own 2 terrifying feet

We recommend three great sports documentaries

Lance Armstrong celebrates during the Tour de France in 2004. He is the subject of the documentary The Armstrong Lie . Doug Pensinger/Getty Images hide caption

We recommend three great sports documentaries

July 11, 2024 • Sports aren't just games. They're intertwined with epic stories about struggle, human behavior, historic greatness and grand emotions. In other words, sports make for great documentaries. And if you're looking for some good ones, we've got recommendations: Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks , The Armstrong Lie , and Athlete A .

Corky (Gina Gershon) and Violet (Jennifer Tilly) in Bound.

Corky (Gina Gershon) and Violet (Jennifer Tilly) in Bound . AJ Pics/Alamy Stock Photo hide caption

Before Hollywood handled sex with care, this lesbian neo-noir focused on authenticity

July 10, 2024 • Before making The Matrix , the Wachowskis enlisted a sex educator to help with their 1996 thriller . Bound 's place in the queer canon has been redefined, and is now part of the Criterion Collection.

Years before intimacy coordinators on Hollywood sets, there was the 1996 film Bound

'Despicable Me 4' serves up 90 minutes of bankable mayhem

Steve Carell voices Gru in Despicable Me 4. Universal Pictures hide caption

'Despicable Me 4' serves up 90 minutes of bankable mayhem

July 10, 2024 • Despicable Me 4 is the latest film in an animation franchise that made household names of reformed supervillain Gru (Steve Carrell) and his army of nattering Minions. The franchise has grossed billions of dollars, and the latest movie topped the weekend box office. But are these films growing up with their audience, or continuing to cater to young kids? And does that matter?

Lupita Nyong’o as “Samira” in A Quiet Place: Day One from Paramount Pictures.

Samira (Lupita Nyong’o) and her cat Frodo try to avoid alien attack in A Quiet Place: Day One. Gareth Gatrell/Paramount Pictures hide caption

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Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in February 2023 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who worked closely with director James Cameron on “Titanic

Jon Landau stands for a portrait at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in February 2023 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Landau, an Oscar-winning producer who worked closely with director James Cameron on “Titanic" and the “Avatar” series, has died. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP hide caption

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Screenwriter Robert Towne poses at The Regency Hotel in New York on March 7, 2006.

Screenwriter Robert Towne poses at The Regency Hotel in New York on March 7, 2006. Jim Cooper/AP hide caption

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Opinion: Remembering the star screenwriter, Robert Towne

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Leslie Bricusse's multicolored "Doctor Dolittle" calendar. Library of Congress hide caption

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'MaXXXine' closes a grisly trilogy in style

Mia Goth and Halsey in MaXXXine . Justin Lubin/A24 hide caption

'MaXXXine' closes a grisly trilogy in style

July 5, 2024 • The new movie MaXXXine stars Mia Goth as an adult-film actress who gets her big break in Hollywood, only to be revisited by horrors from her past. Set in 1985 Los Angeles, it's the final film in director Ti West's beloved horror trilogy that began with the movie X. MaXXXine also features performances from Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Debicki, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Screenwriter Robert Towne poses at The Regency Hotel in New York on March 7, 2006.

Robert Towne, Oscar-winning writer of 'Chinatown,' dies at 89

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A rental DVD is dispensed from a Redbox at a 7-Eleven in Los Angeles in 2009. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the owner of Redbox, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday.

A rental DVD is dispensed from a Redbox at a 7-Eleven in Los Angeles in 2009. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the owner of Redbox, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

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Nicole Kidman as Brooke Harwood and Zac Efron as Chris Cole in A Family Affair. Aaron Epstein/Netflix hide caption

Why 'A Family Affair' works so well as a Netflix romcom

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Minnesota Lynx players lock arms during a moment of silence in honor of Breonna Taylor before a game on in July 2020. Their black shirts say

Minnesota Lynx players lock arms during a moment of silence in honor of Breonna Taylor before a game in July 2020. Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP hide caption

The WNBA is having a moment. A new documentary highlights off-court player activism

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In 'A Quiet Place: Day One', Lupita Nyong'o makes silence golden

Lupita Nyong'o in A Quiet Place: Day One. Gareth Gatrell/Paramount Pictures hide caption

In 'A Quiet Place: Day One', Lupita Nyong'o makes silence golden

July 1, 2024 • In the post-apocalyptic world of A Quiet Place , aliens kill anyone who makes a sound, forcing humans into a near-silent existence. The new movie A Quiet Place: Day One takes us back to the beginning, but this time through the eyes of a terminally ill cancer patient played by the excellent Lupita Nyong'o.

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Emma Stone in Kinds of Kindness . Yorgos Lanthimos/Searchlight Pictures hide caption

In 'Kinds of Kindness,' the cruelty is the point

June 28, 2024 • Kinds of Kindness is a weird, dark, and bleak film. It's directed by Yorgos Lanthimos ( Poor Things ) and it re-teams him with Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe, along with Jesse Plemons. Each actor plays different characters in three different stories — which all involve someone going to extreme measures to regain something they've lost.

Mother and daughter Janet (Julianne Nicholson) and Lacy (Zoe Ziegler) share a slow New England summer in Janet Planet.

Mother and daughter Janet (Julianne Nicholson) and Lacy (Zoe Ziegler) share a slow New England summer in Janet Planet. Courtesy of A24 hide caption

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Lupita Nyong’o as Samira looking at a reflection of herself in the mirror.

Lupita Nyong’o as as Samira in A Quiet Place: Day One. Gareth Gatrell/Paramount hide caption

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‘All Happy Families’ Review: Not All Indie Family Dramedies Are Alike

Director Haroula Rose seeks to carve out space in a crowded genre.

By Michael Nordine

Michael Nordine

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All Happy Families

“ All happy families are alike,” claims the immortal first sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”; “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And while jaded viewers may opine that all indie dramedies about dysfunctional families in the “Little Miss Sunshine” or “The Squid and the Whale” mold are alike, writer-director Haroula Rose ’s “All Happy Families” suggests the genre has moved in a more grounded direction. Whether that’s ultimately a better direction remains to be seen.

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But there’s just so much else going on. “I cannot believe this is my family,” says Sue, a matriarch losing control, during a particularly low moment between the brothers. It may be the film’s most relatable line, one that many of us have thought at one point or another even if we’ve never said it out loud. “All Happy Families” isn’t one for grandiloquence or overwrought monologues, just small, lived-in moments that come close to making the film more than the sum of its intentionally disjointed parts.

This would be a lot for any family of four to manage. It’s also a lot for any filmmaker, especially one making a 90-minute slice of life. Little surprise, then, that “All Happy Families” ends up feeling incomplete, as though we were watching the pilot for a miniseries rather than a standalone feature. There’s something to be said for leaving the audience wanting more, but there’s even more to be said for telling a story that feels finished by the time the credits roll. Rose and Goss touch on a lot of heavy subjects — most of the subplots could power entire narratives by themselves — but don’t have time to do much more than touch on most of them.

Reviewed online, July 5, 2024. In Dances With Films, Chicago, Mill Valley film festivals. Running time: 90 MIN.

  • Production: A Freestyle Digital Media presentation of a Fair Enough Prods., Chicago Media Angels production, in association with Neon Heart Prods., Attic Light Films, Pogi Studios, Ten to the Six Pictures. Producers: Liz Cardenas, Coburn Goss, Ian Keiser, Haroula Rose, Mary Muñez. Executive producer: Michael Shannon.
  • Crew: Director: Haroula Rose. Screenplay: Haroula Rose, Coburn Goss. Camera: Johanna Coelho. Editors: Caralyn Moore, Alex Márquez. Music: Oliver Hill, Zac Rae.
  • With: Josh Radnor, Becky Ann Baker, Rob Huebel, Chandra Russell, John Ashton, Colleen Camp, David Pasquesi, Rodney Crowell, Ivy O’Brien.

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Emilia Jones stands on a stage in a salmon sweater, arms crossed across her chest, smiling

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The playful, fearless CODA asks tough questions about Deaf family life

Orange is the New Black’s Siân Heder lays out a family drama with humor and heart

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[ Ed. note: This review was first published in conjunction with CODA ’s release at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival . It has been updated for the film’s theatrical release.]

Logline: As her senior year comes to an end, Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing person in her Deaf family, is torn between studying music at college and remaining at home to help — and maybe save — the family fishing business.

Longerline: As a CODA, a Child of Deaf Adults, Ruby juggles multiple roles at the young age of 18. She’s a daughter, a student, a musician, a fisherman, and a translator. In the mornings, she lends her father, Frank (Troy Kotsur), and brother, Leo (Daniel Durant), an ear and an extra pair of hands as they trawl for fish off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. She’s an animated, no-bullshit character while gabbing around the dinner table with her mom, Jackie (Marlee Matlin), or negotiating a fish sale, but at school, she can’t find her voice. After catching the eye of the firebrand music teacher (Eugenio Derbez) during a show-choir audition, Ruby suddenly sees a path for her future: vocal training, the Berklee College of Music, and a life beyond her family. It’s reasonably terrifying.

In this microcosmic moment, everything Ruby knows begins to change. A crackdown on fishing boats puts her father and brother’s deafness under systematic scrutiny and threatens the local fishing industry at large. Her musical pursuits raise the question of what her family will do without her; everyone is perfectly functional in navigating society without vocal speech, but juuuust dependent enough on Ruby as a business liaison that no one can imagine her leaving home. The growing intensity of her Berklee audition rehearsals and a blossoming relationship with her fellow choirmate, Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peele), pressurize the already intensely intimate scenario.

What’s CODA trying to do? Writer-director Siân Heder ( Orange Is the New Black ) previously made the 2016 Netflix premiere Tallulah , which followed a homeless teenager who inadvertently kidnaps a baby that she believes needs rescuing from an irresponsible mother. In CODA , she again slices off a piece of life and pops it in a pressure cooker. Replacing the ticking clock with a warmer tone, the family drama aims to both portray the challenges of growing up culturally Deaf, and look beyond disabilities to recognize that life’s hardships, whether in a world full of sound or not, are universal.

The quote that says it all: “I can’t always be that person.”

Emilia Jones leans out of a car to sign at the camera in CODA

Does it get there? Authentic, sensitive, and playful, CODA remains human even as it tugs at the heartstrings. Heder leaves no anthropological distance between her camera and the subjects, ensuring that the movie never “others” the Deaf characters, while still making sense of how much we rely on hearing for simple tasks. On the same note, there’s a fearlessness to prolonged dialogue scenes playing out in ASL. As they talk through their issues, Frank, Jackie, Leo, and Ruby swing from low to high emotions, and the physicality of the performances are absorbing. The UK-born Jones apparently learned to sign, sing, and put on an American accent for the role, and you’d never know it — she holds the movie together in an astonishing breakout performance.

Circumstance puts extra, often funny-in-retrospect hurdles in front of Ruby and her family. When her dad comes down with a jock itch, his teenage daughter melts in a puddle of awkward as she gestures to convey an inflamed genital rash to the doctor, then translates a prescriptive recommendation of abstinence to her mother. On the docks, Ruby and Leo butt heads over the price of their latest fish haul — she knows from what she can hear that he’s getting scammed, but her older sibling is way too proud to let her play hero.

And during a flirtatious rehearsal for their upcoming duet, Ruby and Miles wind up overhearing Jackie and Frank’s… lively… bedroom activity. These are the trials and tribulations of teen life, plus a twist of fate. (And if there’s one bit that doesn’t quite work, it’s Derbez’s over-the-top music teacher, whose sitcomy tone doesn’t quite match the lived-in feeling of the family comedy.)

Heder finds her way into tension and tougher questions. The family’s fear of the unknown is compounded by the possibilities on the horizon: Ruby has a fabulous voice, a skill her parents will never be able to comprehend as a viable future for their daughter. The anxiety arrives just as Frank’s own career path is thrown out of whack; he’s been fishing all of his life, but the extortion of fisherman by dock bigwigs turns his life into a mini Elia Kazan drama. It isn’t as grim as On the Waterfront , but Frank, Leo, Jackie, and eventually Ruby all wind up in a fight to take hold of their business and livelihoods.

There’s a lot on the line, and Heder strings it all together in a mainstream package that recalls everything from Ordinary People to Save the Last Dance and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before . And while the drama is immediate and timely like those films, it also feels like it has a past and present. This is to say: Yes, I would watch five seasons of the Parenthood version of CODA .

Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, and Marlee Matlin applauding in an auditorium in CODA

What does that get us? The movie camera is uniquely equipped to get in close and capture a sign-language spat, and the results in the hands of veterans like Kotsur and Matlin are spellbinding. Writers rarely gift two Deaf actors with the chance to go at it. Heder gives them painful moments behind closed doors, tender scenes with Ruby, and bits where they’re just goofy parents. Durant, best known for playing a Deaf character in a reimagined revival of Spring Awakening , is also fully alive and dimensional as Leo, a tough-but-sweet young man who’s looking for his own career path.

CODA offers a simple explanation for the importance of representation on screen: a century of movies born from homogenous perspectives has left so many stories untold, and so many experiences uncharted. There’s a simple thrill in seeing familiar dramas play out in the hands of actors who’ve often been relegated to side roles. Matlin is a hysterical, vibrant movie star-type who always plays “the Deaf character,” but here, she’s the mother, the wife, and the entrepreneur. She has so much to give the screen, and Heder taps it all.

The film may be a little sweet for some tastes (yes, I cried) but CODA is also refined. In a dark moment, I was thankful for the film’s celebration of family, friends, and life.

The most meme-able moment: Get ready for an extended sequence where Ruby’s new guy-pal Miles learns the ASL translation of “masturbating into a condom.”

When can we see it? CODA launches for streaming on Apple TV Plus on August 13.

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family life radio movie reviews

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family life radio movie reviews

In Theaters

  • Ed Harris as Coach Jones; Cuba Gooding Jr. as James Robert “Radio” Kennedy; Debra Winger as Linda Jones; Alfre Woodard as the Principal; Brent Sexton as Honeycut; Sarah Drew as Mary Helen Jones; Riley Smith as Johnny Clay; S. Epatha Merkerson as Mrs. Kennedy

Home Release Date

  • Michael Tollin


  • Columbia Pictures

Movie Review

A respected, South Carolina high school football coach puts his reputation on the line by extending kindness to an illiterate, mentally challenged young black man. Coach Jones sees him, day after day, pushing a shopping cart filled with simple treasures past the practice field. After his players abuse the poor guy by tying him up and locking him in an equipment shed, Jones becomes more intimately involved in mentoring the boy, who becomes known as Radio (so nicknamed for his passion for radios and Motown music).

Radio lives on the outskirts of town with his loving mother. She describes him as the “same as everybody else, just a bit slower than most.” Radio assists with football practices and, during home games, whips up the crowd with his contagious enthusiasm. His pure heart earns him the affection of students and staff alike, though not everyone appreciates his childlike quirkiness. Some heartless, well-connected people would rather mock or marginalize Radio than try to understand him. That’s when the loyalty of those close to him gets put to the test. Set in 1976 and inspired by a true story, Radio preaches compassion, challenges viewers to rethink their priorities, and testifies to the value of every human life.

Positive Elements

Radio is stacked end to end with virtue. Coaches Jones and Honeycut show kindness to Radio in simple ways, then give him more responsibility so he can feel like he’s part of the team. When players are cruel to the outsider, the punishment is harsh. For Coach Jones, patience and compassion for Radio aren’t momentary gestures, but a long-term commitment (their 26-year off-screen friendship continues to this day). He doesn’t just offer Radio a cold drink and a pat on the head; he practically adopts him. Others at the school give Radio jobs so that he’ll have a sense of purpose.

When a school board flunky argues that Radio doesn’t belong among “normal” students, Jones sets him straight. When a pushy booster lobbies to have Radio kept off the sidelines at football games, Jones stands his ground. And when a star athlete plays a hurtful joke on Radio, Coach benches him for the big game. Jones confesses regrets about not helping someone in need as a boy—an event that contributed to his Luke 10:30-37 heart and strong sense of justice as an adult. Radio’s mom asks Jones why he helped her son. He says, “It was the right thing to do,” to which she replies, “There’s a whole lot out there that’s right. It doesn’t mean we always do it.” Amen. As the cost of intervening on Radio’s behalf starts to rise, Coach’s wife reassures him, “It’s never a mistake to care for someone. It’s always a good thing.”

If Jones has a flaw at all, it’s workaholism. But upon being confronted with his tunnel vision, he reorders his priorities and puts his family first (his wife is concerned that their window of opportunity to impact their teenage daughter’s life is closing, and urges her husband to be a more involved parent). Radio is loyal to the team, reliable at performing his menial tasks and quick to dispense hugs to everyone he meets. He even shows forgiveness to the jock who hurt him, which has a noticeable impact on the boorish young man’s character.

Upon receiving more Christmas presents than he could have dreamed possible, Radio generously decides to play Santa, leaving unwrapped gifts on the porches of his poor neighbors. His mother points out that he has a good heart, but most people don’t look closely enough to see it. Jones lectures his team on the importance of every player doing his job well in order to achieve the greater goal.

Spiritual Elements

The Jones family takes Radio to church, making it reasonable to assume that Coach’s compassion for his fellow man may be motivated in part by religious faith. As they emerge from the service, an excited Radio notes that “prayin’ in Jesus’ name” was a highlight. A public Christmas celebration includes carols about the Savior.

Sexual Content

Violent content.

The violence is limited to crushing blows on the football field.

Crude or Profane Language

Two dozen profanities. Most are mild except for a handful of scattered s-words and a scene in which Radio utters the term “chicken s—” nearly a dozen times in babbling repetition. A football player calls Radio “dummy” and uses the racially charged expression “boy.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Radio is a very pleasant, refreshingly moral diversion. Yet as much as I loved the film’s heart and its desire to communicate meaningful messages (not to mention a fun hit parade of ’70s pop tunes), the dramatic ebbs and flows of the story felt too calculated and streamlined. I wanted more. What I saw made me long for better developed subplots and deeper insight into the supporting characters. Those are the things that make films like Remember the Titans, The Rookie and Hoosiers special and worthy of repeated viewing. Here, it seems everyone onscreen exists to advance Radio’s tale efficiently, but are only as deep as their dialogue. For example, Mary Helen comes across as a model teenager. We see no serious struggles. No peril. No interactions with peers that require us to root extra hard for Dad to rescue her by reprioritizing his life. So Mom’s vague concern that they may be “losing her” lacks drama, as does Dad’s ultimate decision to reconnect with her. It’s a noble gesture, but I wasn’t breathing a huge sigh of relief. That’s just one example. In short, the filmmakers are so focused on the Coach/Radio arc that they miss opportunities to make everyone around them interesting.

Another frustration is that we feel for Radio, not with him. Everything we learn about him we either hear from someone else or observe as bystanders. We never really benefit from his perspective (unlike, say, Forrest Gump). He’s a human puppy dog who makes us laugh by jumping through “cute” hoops. Because we lack an intimate connection with the struggling young man, he’s more of a symbol than a three-dimensional human being.

Don’t get me wrong, Radio isn’t a bad movie. It’s just that it could have been much more satisfying with fewer contrivances (such as stock villains invented to personify rumblings of antagonism, yet who never feel truly threatening) and more character development. The result is a good after-school special, not a brilliant, richly textured feature film. Even so, its positive themes compensate for any loss of style points. Patience. Kindness. Compassion. Justice. The value of every human life. Our culture needs to be reminded that these things matter. Families hungry for a movie that shares their traditional values will be glad to find Radio operating on that frequency, though fits of profanity create maddening static.

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Bob Smithouser

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A Family Affair

Netflix tends to rotate through its top movies pretty quickly with so many released and added, but A Family Affair did have at least a fair bit of time on top. Now, it’s been replaced by another Netflix original, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, bringing Eddie Murphy back to his famous role. And it could have gone worse, it seems.

A Family Affair, starring Zac Efron, Joey King and Nicole Kidman, did not review well , a 39% from critics and an even lower 30% from fans. But Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is actually doing pretty good, with a 65% critic scores and an even higher 78% audience score. Given how poorly many big Netflix movies can review, grading on a curve, that’s actually quite good. Here’s the official synopsis of the film:

“Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is back on the beat in Beverly Hills. After his daughter's life is threatened, she (Taylour Paige) and Foley team up with a new partner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and old pals Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and John Taggart (John Ashton) to turn up the heat and uncover a conspiracy.”

Murphy is being praised in particular for not losing a step despite all the time away from the role and the idea that he really doesn’t act all that much in major projects anymore. Now he’s starring in the most-watched movie in America (any Netflix film at #1 at any given time is usually going to be more watched than whatever’s in actual theaters).

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It has quite literally been thirty years since the last movie in the series, with Beverly Hills Cop 3 out in 1994 with the first film releasing in 1984 as a genre classic. This new version, as you may expect, does not have any of the same writers or directors. You will not know director Mark Molloy compared to Tony Scott or John Landis who did 2 and 3 respectively, as this is his first feature film directing role. Pretty good for a debut, and with his last project being a show for the ill-fated Quibi, which never even aired.

The rest of the list looks as expected, as Jessica Alba’s Trigger Warning continues to fall, and most of the other slots are taken up by the same five or so kids movies that are always there. One new addition is the infamous Warcraft movie, which some loved but many hated, and now you can judge it for yourself given that it’s found its way to Netflix.

I’ll give Beverly Hills Cop a watch when I have a second, as I really want to see how Murphy does in the role again. From all accounts, pretty well.

Follow me on Twitter , YouTube , and Instagram .

Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy .

Paul Tassi

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Bloody Disgusting!

The Familiar Class Critique of ‘The Inheritance’ [Review]

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There’s a mystery at the heart of The Inheritance , the new thriller from director Alejandro Brugués . Or at least that what the screenplay by Joe Russo & Chris Lamont seems to believe.

When the film opens, the estranged adult children of billionaire Charles Abernathy ( Bob Gunton ) have assembled at the isolated family estate for the first time in two years. There’s severe, business-minded twins Madeline ( Rachel Nichols ) and C.J. ( David Walton ) who manage day-to-day operations for the family business, as well as influencer Kami ( Peyton List ), who hocks her fashion line to followers on social media.

It’s clear that the audience’s sympathies are meant to lie with youngest son Drew ( Austin Stowell ) and his wife Hannah ( Briana Middleton ). Not only do they work in philanthropy, but as the sole person of color, Hannah is immediately coded as the outsider, even before Madeline, C.J. and Charles remind us that the invitation specified “family members” only. Ouch.

family life radio movie reviews

The Inheritance is trafficking in the same uncomfortable class politics as Ready or Not or Slasher : Flesh & Blood : rich people doing terrible things with a sane, “normal” outsider caught in their midst. Russo and Lamont’s script isn’t breaking new boundaries with its class critique, though the writers’ effort at making Madeline, C.J. and even Kami into multi-faceted characters is admirable (albeit only partially successful).

The impromptu 75 th birthday for Charles kicks off when his assistant Miles ( Reese Alexander ) locks the house until dawn (shades of Abigail ) and the old man declares that he’ll be dead – murdered – by midnight. The reason the family is there is to protect him at all costs: if they wish to keep their inheritance, they must keep him alive. If they fail and he dies, all of the money will go to charity and they’ll be left with nothing.

family life radio movie reviews

In true horror fashion, Charles’ ominous declaration is initially treated as a joke…until the first body drops. This is where the gap between what the characters suspect and what the audience knows begins to widen: by virtue of witnessing the attack, we know that the threat is supernatural and that there’s more to Charles’ story than he is telling.

Alas the truth is disappointingly obvious (and not only because the answer is clearly laid out in the film’s opening credits). This makes Charles’ tendency to dodge simple answers in favor of vague responses all the more grating in the first two acts. And while there are additional revelations late in the film, by turning Charles himself into a mystery, he never truly becomes a proper character; Gunton is more or less relegated to playing a plot device.

Thankfully the casting helps overcome some of the plot inadequacies. Gunton carries the same mysterious, world-weary gravitas he brought to Dead Silence , while genre vet Nichols finds a shred of humanity beneath Madeline’s cold veneer. Walton is cast against type as a ruthless corporate stooge and he and Nichols have good chemistry.

family life radio movie reviews

Surprisingly, the stand-out is List, who not only gets all of the best one-liners in the film, but also avoids making Kami a vapid cliché. Considering the toxicity of her elder siblings, Kami’s penchant for escaping to the pool with no less than three bottles of wine feels eminently relatable. Plus, she gets the stand-out set piece of the film: an above-ground attack that is filmed entirely from under the water.

That leaves Stowell and Middleton to carry the bulk of the film and, as the de facto “good protagonists” in a nest of vipers, they’re fine. By sheer virtue of their roles, Drew and Hannah are inherently less exciting and fun, although they, too, have a few stand-out set pieces, including a sequence set in an Antiquities room filled with threatening statues.

family life radio movie reviews

In truth, the action is where The Inheritance excels. The film was originally commissioned as a Netflix original, so the Vancouver-shot production looks good. The mansion has plenty of character, especially the aforementioned Antiquities room and, later, a red-lit vault where individuals are imprisoned when the siblings start to turn on each other.

Brugués is clearly confident in staging action, and the film’s energy perks up whenever there’s an attack sequence. The creature design shifts throughout the course of the film: initially the spectral threat is ghostly, so it is caught lurking in backgrounds or just off-screen. Later it possesses the bodies of its victims, which allows for some decent make-up, although one sequence involving a character crawling out a portrait draws immediate comparisons to Ringu / The Ring . The actual creature is revealed in the climax, but the pros of casting a real life actor ( Keith Arbuthnot ) in make-up prosthetics are outweighed by the cons of the unconvincing CGI.

Overall The Inheritance has a pervasive “half-way there” vibe throughout. For every element that works, there’s another that doesn’t and the film ultimately plays like a paint by numbers pastiche of other (often better) horror films. Clocking in at a brief 84-minutes helps, as do the actors and several entertaining set pieces, but The Inheritance doesn’t feel substantive enough to heartily recommend.

For curious horror fans, it’s worth a look, but The Inheritance is not essential viewing.

The Inheritance releases on VOD outlets Friday, July 12.

3 skulls out of 5

Joe is a TV addict with a background in Film Studies. He co-created TV/Film Fest blog QueerHorrorMovies and writes for Bloody Disgusting, Anatomy of a Scream, That Shelf, The Spool and Grim Magazine. He enjoys graphic novels, dark beer and plays multiple sports (adequately, never exceptionally). While he loves all horror, if given a choice, Joe always opts for slashers and creature features.

family life radio movie reviews

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‘Longlegs’ Review – Oz Perkins’ Latest Gets Under Your Skin and Festers Like a Putrid Nightmare

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The concept of evil gets explored often in horror in various ways, but very few films manage to immerse viewers in that evil so wholly that it starts to feel like you’re watching something taboo and cursed. The latest by writer/director Oz Perkins ( Gretel & Hansel , The Blackcoat’s Daughter ), Longlegs gets under your skin and stays there, immersing you so thoroughly in the repulsive, discomforting nature of evil through terrifying imagery and a tactile atmosphere that it’s unshakable. Its nerve-shredding, insidious style of horror serves as a perfect rebuttal to society’s obsession with true crime; evil just exists, and it taints everything it touches.

Much like the marketing, Longlegs plays it close to the vest as it follows young FBI recruit Lee Harker ( Maika Monroe ), whose uncanny sense of intuition draws the attention of the tenured Agent Carter ( Blair Underwood ). Harker is so naturally gifted that Carter pulls the agent into his ongoing investigation of serial killer Longlegs (an unrecognizable Nicolas Cage ), a demented figure so elusive that the trail to catch him has gone cold. The more that Harker makes headway on the case, though, the stranger things get as Longlegs takes notice of her pursuit. It sets both on a collision course filled with grisly crime scenes and unspeakable evil.

Longlegs Blair Underwood

Oz Perkins unmoors Longlegs from time and reality in a way that intentionally disorients, contributing to a pervading and suffocating sense of dread and foreboding. Small details, like a portrait of Bill Clinton hung behind Agent Carter’s desk, give a general feeling of the era, but the sepia hues and vintage aesthetic speak more to Longlegs’ lengthy history with murder spanning multiple decades, so much so that the killer feels otherworldly. That’s further helped by Nicolas Cage’s most unsettling performance yet. Perkins refreshingly keeps this curious character as enigmatic and elusive as possible, giving only glimpses into the killer’s machinations and treating him more as a peculiar boogeyman. It makes the short bursts of Cage’s eerie freakouts all the more impactful and unnerving. 

Cage is operating in rare, depraved form, but the entire cast is firing on all cylinders. Underwood infuses his character with enough warmth and savvy to balance Monroe’s socially awkward, closed-off Lee, helping humanize the prickly protagonist as he mentors her. Alicia Witt  is also in rare form as Lee’s mom, a disturbed hoarder who reminds Lee to keep up her prayers. Lee shrugs her mother’s prodding off, but the increasingly oppressive atmosphere suggests that perhaps she should listen.

It’s not just the grainy vintage look, the eerie sound design, and moody color palette that contributes to Perkins’ ability to capture the essence of evil on screen so well. It’s in the subtle, almost subliminal imagery that’s constantly present. Almost imperceptible silhouettes and demonic forms are lurking in the background in scenes. Voyeuristic shadowed figures or inhuman eyes linger just enough to catch your notice before fading quietly into the ether.

family life radio movie reviews

Lee’s bid to thwart Longlegs builds to a suitably insane finale, with no shortage of grotesque and shocking violence along the way. Violence that is rendered more effective thanks to the skin-crawling tone that Perkins sets from the outset. Longlegs injects a true crime story with putrid Satanism and refuses to handhold, serving as a visceral rebuttal to society’s compulsive need to find logic in the most heinous of crimes. Evil simply exists, and in Longlegs , it’s everywhere, watching and biding its time while reveling in the carnage its presence wreaks .

Longlegs is as stylish as it is timeless, dripping with claustrophobic dread and rot.

Longlegs releases in theaters on July 12, 2024.

Editor’s Note: This review was originally published on June 10, 2024.

4.5 skulls out of 5

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Radio parents guide

Radio Parent Guide

When Coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) invites a mentally challenged man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) off the street to be an assistant to the T.L. Hanna High School's football team, he meets with a lot of resistance from the team, parents, school and community.

Why is Radio rated PG? The MPAA rated Radio PG for mild language and thematic elements.

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The guide to our grades, parent movie review by kerry bennett.

In the small town of Anderson, South Carolina, high school football is more than just an extracurricular fall activity. It’s the subject of intense discussion among the town folk and an indicator of the community’s standing among its rivals.

As passionate about the game as the fans, Head has taken his job seriously for many years. This fall is no different as he sets up training camp for the new season’s crop of pigskin players. He knows he’ll have to account for his squad’s success, or lack of it, at the post game analysis held by the old guys in the barbershop.

After a few of his players rough up the innocent victim, Coach Jones entices the man into the school with the promise of food and tries to find out his name. Finally frustrated with the effort, the coach and his assistant assign their slightly hunched guest the moniker of “Radio” (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and give him a post on their staff.

However, not everyone in the community is excited about Radio. Concerned by his exuberant outbursts on the sidelines, Frank Clay (Chris Mulkey), the local banker, worries about the image the players and particularly his star athlete son (Riley Smith) may get from having the new “assistant” on the team. The T.L. Hanna High School principal (Alfre Woodard) also has her apprehensions about student safety and control when Coach Jones invites Radio into his classroom.

Refusing to give in to the naysayers or the intimidation of the school board, Coach Jones continues to reach out to the young man and his widowed mother despite the initial strain it puts on his own family relations with his wife (Debra Winger) and teenaged daughter (Sarah Drew).

After light-hearted performances as a Miami dentist in Snow Dogs and a debt-laden advertising executive in The Fighting Temptations , Cuba Gooding Jr.‘s performance in Radio deserves kudos for giving us a character with depth and spirit. Gooding’s portrayal is based on the real life James Robert Kennedy, who has spent the last 38 years with the Hanna Yellow Jackets.

While cursing during a tense game and a few other selective profanities are the extent of penalty calls against this film, the positive changes among the locals will give families plenty of discussion starters about discrimination. With his own community standing on the line, Coach Jones leads this little southern town in overcoming their fear of the unknown and gives credit to a man, who with a little help from his friends, finds dignity and meaning in his life.

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Radio parents' guide.

How did the community’s lack of understanding about Radio’s condition contribute to their uneasiness around him? How was that depicted at the beginning of the movie? How did their actions change by the end of the story?

How did Coach Jones’ attitude about being ?team players? contribute to Radio’s inclusion?

Introduced to the NHL’s Edmonton Oiler franchise by Wayne Gretzky, Joey Moss, born with Down syndrome, has served as a valuable part of that hockey organization for nearly 20 years. The story of his success with the team is featured at: 20030128/wlockar/Sports/sportsBN/breakingnews-sports .

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Mentoring another’s talents and finding your place on the team appear to be favorite themes of Radio’s screenwriter Mike Rich who also penned the script for Finding Forrester and The Rookie . High school football serves as a unifying force for the racially diverse community of Alexandria, Virginia in Remember the Titans .

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It tends to force-feed its ideas, rather than allow the audience digest them at their own pace and in their own way.

Full Review | May 12, 2020

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family life radio movie reviews

Dove Review

Based on a true story, “Radio” is an inspiring picture about a life lived to do good for others and the difference that one person can make. Coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) gives a strong performance as does Cuba Gooding Jr. as Radio. The film contains some strong language, but it’s used in a comical context as the simple-minded young man repeats several times something he hears. Besides this, the film is remarkably motivational, ranking up there with movies such as “Rudy” and “Remember the Titans.” The PG rating is appropriate, and parents should consult our content listing below to decide if they choose for their children, ages twelve and above, to see it. This film contains footage at the end of the real-life Radio, and we are glad to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this movie.

Dove Rating Details

Some football players tie Radio up and put him in a shed, thinking it is a joke, but the coach corrects them for it; some football tackles and action.

H-13; S-13; Cr*p-1; D-3; G-1

Shirtless male athletes.

Some people think Radio is a liability but many support him.

More Information

Film information, dove content.

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The True Story Of The Man Who Inspired The Movie, ‘Radio,’ Starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

News spread that the man who inspired the film Radio , starring Cuba Gooding Jr., died on Dec. 15 at the age of 73. Condolences for James Kennedy poured in and his hometown of Anderson, South Carolina are planning him a well-deserved final send-off. 

Cuba Gooding Jr.

The autobiographical story was well-liked by audiences and critics. Though it captured part of Kennedy’s amazing journey, it didn’t capture everything. Kennedy’s life could have been complicated but through his radiant energy and persistence, he lived a life of purpose and touched the hearts of many along the way. 

Who was James “Radio” Kennedy

When he was five years old, he was hit by a car and nearly died from the impact. Onlookers and family members begged his mother to put him in a mental institution so that she would be free from the burden of raising a disabled child. It was extremely difficult as they lived in the rural country and neighbors weren’t always kind and welcoming to Kennedy, viewing him as an agitator. 

As a boy, Kennedy attended a school for the learning disabled. After not being able to adapt to the curriculum, he was pulled from the classroom. 

Despite growing up with severe developmental disabilities, he was beloved and became a staple at his high school. His former principal Sheila Hinton spoke to the New York Times about his impact after confirming his death.

As a teenager, Hilton said that Kennedy could barely speak and was illiterate. He carried a transistor radio everywhere he went, which earned him his nickname. “He showed up to the games and would just stand passively and watch,” she recalled. “Until one day when he began to mimic the coaches’ signals and tried his hand at yelling out commands. At that point, he could have been labeled a distraction and sent away. But he was not.”

The football coach, Harold Jones, took a liking to Kennedy. He became Kennedy’s friend and mentor and helped Kennedy transition from an outcast to a part of their community. Football players on the team fiercely protected Kennedy from bullies. 

Kennedy was considered a permanent high school junior, meaning the school imposed a rule that he would never graduate or have to leave if he didn’t want to. As an adult, Kennedy lived with his brother and sister-in-law. He never has to be institutionalized.  

Jones retired in 1999 but his relationship with Kennedy continued. They took trips together and sought to help others through acts of service. 

Radio was adapted into a film after a screenwriter read a 1996 Sports Illustrated feature piece on Jones and Kennedy’s friendship. 

He was famously inducted into his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.

How did the film ‘Radio’ do in theaters?

Radio did well during its theatrical run. With a budget of $30 million, the film grossed over $52 million. 

Gooding earned an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance. He received critical acclaim for his true to life and raw representation of Kennedy’s extreme disabilities. A review in the New York Times spoke to how well Gooding captured the difficult task, writing,

“When he speaks, the words come out as the garbled cries of an excitable child just learning to talk. Because Mr. Gooding doesn’t underplay his character’s distracting tics, his performance makes you feel the uneasiness that Radio’s presence provokes in the more heartless residents of Anderson, a town that lives and breathes football.”

In a 2003 interview with CBS News, Gooding said his portrayal of Kennedy was intentional and he wanted to avoid focusing on his physical challenges and hone in on Kennedy’s spirit. “It’s more of a child-like innocence that I saw about him and I kind of hung on to that,” he said.

A public viewing and funeral is scheduled for Kennedy on Saturday Dec. 21 at his beloved high school, T.L. Hanna High. 

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I don't know the slightest thing about the true story that inspired "Radio," and I don't really want to, because the movie has convinced me that it's pretty close to real life. I believe that because (1) the closing credits include footage of the real Radio Kennedy and Coach Jones, and (2) because the movie isn't hyped up with the usual contrivances. Here is a film about football that doesn't even depend for its climax on the Big Game.

There are scenes that in another movie might have seemed contrived -- the way the local boosters club gathers after every game in the downtown barbershop, for example, to get the coach's report and grill him. Isn't this the sort of thing that only happens in movie small-towns? Just like there's always a diner filled with regulars who apparently sit there 24 hours a day waiting to act as the local Greek chorus? Maybe, but by the end of "Radio" I was half-convinced that if I were to visit Anderson, S.C., on the night of a high school game, I could walk downtown and see the boosters right there through the barbershop window.

The movie is based on a Sports Illustrated story, written by Gary Smith, about the way a series of Anderson teams and coaches have adopted James "Radio" Kennedy, a mentally disabled local man, as a team mascot and cheerleader. He is much beloved, and we sense that his good heart and cheer needed only the right opportunity to give him this mission in life. The movie focuses in fictional form on Radio's first season with the team, and about the bond that forms between the youngish man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and lean, no-nonsense Coach Harold Jones ( Ed Harris ).

Radio, when first seen, goes on his harmless daily rounds through the town, pushing a shopping cart filled with treasures and listening to a beloved portable radio. One day a few football players lock him in an equipment shed and throw footballs at it, frightening him, and after Jones rescues Radio, he becomes committed to a project -- an obsession, really -- to involve Radio with the team.

Jones' wife Linda ( Debra Winger ) of course has the obligatory scenes complaining that his mind is always on his work. His daughter Mary Helen Jones ( Sarah Drew ) of course has the obligatory scenes in which she stays out too late and gives other signs of needing more of her father's attention. But here's an unexpected thing: Not much is made in the obligatory way of these subplots, because Jones is a nice guy and his family understands him and the daughter sort of solves her own problems.

There are villains of a sort. Johnny Clay ( Riley Smith ) is the star player who instinctively picks on Radio, maybe because his dad Frank ( Chris Mulkey ) is also a bully (does it go without saying that Frank is the town banker, and a big cheese in the booster club?). Frank thinks Radio is a "distraction" to the team, but Radio is so beloved and Coach Jones such a big-hearted man that even the villains seem to be going through the motions just to be good sports and lend the film some drama.

"Radio" is such a sweet expression of the better side of human nature, indeed, that it's surprising to find it in theaters and not on one of the more innocuous cable channels. In Gooding and Harris, it has top-line talent, and a screenplay by Mike Rich (who wrote " Finding Forrester "). Director Mike Tollin ("Summer Catch," unreviewed by me) tells his story as simply and directly as he can, with no fancy stuff, and what we get is just what we're promised, a story about a town that adopts a disadvantaged young man for its benefit and his own. Radio teaches the town, Jones says, by treating everyone the way we should all treat one another; the young man is incapable of meanness, spite or dishonesty.

The role is tricky for an actor; Gooding wants to make Radio lovable without being grotesquely cute, and mostly he succeeds, although Gooding is by instinct an expansive actor (the kind of man you imagine underlines his signature), and maybe a calmer actor like Ice Cube would have been a good choice. It was enough for Gooding to make me like Radio; in a few scenes I think he wanted me to pet him. Ed Harris is well cast in a role like Coach Jones, because he brings along confident masculine authority without even having to think about it. The other actors are pretty much pro forma; Alfre Woodard plays the sensible high school principal, S. Epatha Merkerson is convincing as Radio's loving mom, and Debra Winger is strong in a small role that makes me want to see her in a larger one.

Now if the movie's story sounds too good to be true, that's probably how you'll find it. There is no cynicism in "Radio," no angle or edge. It's about what it's about, with an open, warm and fond nature. Every once in a while human nature expresses itself in a way we can feel good about, and this is one of those times.

For families, for those who find most movies too cynical, for those who want to feel good in a warm and uncomplicated way, "Radio" is a treasure. Others may find it too slow or sunny or innocent. You know who you are.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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Film credits.

Radio movie poster

Radio (2003)

Rated PG For Mild Language and Thematic Elements

109 minutes

Cuba Gooding Jr. as Radio

Ed Harris as Coach Jones

Debra Winger as Linda Jones

Alfre Woodard as Principal Daniels

S. Epatha Merkerson as Maggie

Riley Smith as Johnny

Sarah Drew as Mary Helen

Directed by

  • Mike Tollin

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Language, drinking in affecting comedy about acceptance.

Family Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Mixed messages about women and girls (a set of mid

Kate is selfish and painfully blunt, but softens o

Viewers hear how violent a group of Juggalos is (t

Brief conversation about using two condoms for bir

Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t,"

An adult handles stress by drinking; she gulps dow

Parents need to know that Family is about a selfish, blunt workaholic (Taylor Schilling) whose unexpected week with her middle school-age niece (Bryn Vale) changes her in important ways. The main characters learn to have empathy for each other and for themselves, and both make positive changes in their lives…

Positive Messages

Mixed messages about women and girls (a set of middle school bullies is insulted for being "dogs" and "bitches," and one girl is said to have a "lazy eye"), but also very sweet messages about empathy, unity, importance of feeling like you belong, being true to yourself, understanding that most people feel like "freaks" inside no matter what they look like outside.

Positive Role Models

Kate is selfish and painfully blunt, but softens over course of movie, acknowledges her faults and need to be kinder. Adults are deeply involved with the young characters. Even though bullied middle school girl joins a socially reviled group with off-putting outward attributes, viewers see that the group accepts her as she is, cares for her. Some stereotyping, including middle school "mean girls" group. An adult woman calls them "dogs," says they don't have right to pick on others because they're so unattractive. At 11, Maddie is empathetic toward others: When told that it should make her happy to shop for a dress when there are poor kids who can't, she logically answers, "Why would that make me happy? It just makes me sad those kids are poor." A mom who thinks "karate is for boys" learns better. Characters are diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, body type.

Violence & Scariness

Viewers hear how violent a group of Juggalos is (talk of them stabbing each other and damaging public property, and viewers see them fistfighting), but they ultimately emerge as sweet eccentrics who drop everything to search for a lost kid. A bullied girl fights back against her foes by kicking one so hard she falls down; the kicker is then suspended from school. A woman is injured by a closing garage door.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Brief conversation about using two condoms for birth control (a character correctly says that it's safer to use just one) and some talk about dating. Two characters seem headed toward a romance at the end of the movie, but they never kiss.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "p---y," "ass," and "bulls--t." A middle school-age child is called a "loser," and others are called "dogs" and "freaks."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An adult handles stress by drinking; she gulps down wine, shots, cocktails. One scene shows many cocktails being downed. A character shows up drunk at a school; she takes a Lyft there and is driven by a sober friend so she doesn't drive drunk. At a gathering of Juggalos, people smoke joints and share large bongs; a character talks about being addled because she's on a lot of drugs.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Family is about a selfish, blunt workaholic ( Taylor Schilling ) whose unexpected week with her middle school-age niece (Bryn Vale) changes her in important ways. The main characters learn to have empathy for each other and for themselves, and both make positive changes in their lives. A girl who feels like she doesn't fit in is bullied by a group of female classmates who are then spoken of in stereotypical terms (as "dogs," "bitches," and "mean girls"); the girl ultimately defeats them by kicking one to the ground (she's suspended for it). At the same time, the girl also finds a group of friends who accept her for who she is. Despite some iffy choices, those friends are eventually revealed to be kind-hearted, thoughtful, and caring (even if viewers see them shrieking, punching each other, and sharing giant bongs). In other scenes, adults guzzle wine and cocktails; they don't usually appear drunk, but in one scene a character does show up drunk at a school. Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "p---y," "ass," "bulls--t"; several characters are also called (or call themselves) "freaks." There's no sex or romance, but there's a brief joke involving condoms and suggestions of the potential for romance between two characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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Community Reviews

  • Parents say (2)
  • Kids say (1)

Based on 2 parent reviews

This is a 5 year old movie

What's the story.

Kate ( Taylor Schilling ) has her eyes on the prize at work and doesn't have a lot of time for FAMILY. But when her brother ( Eric Edelstein ) and sister-in-law ( Allison Tolman ) have to leave town for an emergency, Kate's the only one available to take care of her 11-year-old niece, Maddie (Bryn Vale). Kate figures she can hold things together as usual, despite a challenging period at work. But Maddie's a kid who needs help -- and, luckily, she finds it, thanks to Kate and a friendly group of local Juggalos (followers of the band Insane Clown Posse).

Is It Any Good?

It churns through plenty of cinematic clichés along the way, but ultimately this comedy gets to a place of genuine sweetness -- in a gathering of the Juggalos, of all places. Viewers will instantly recognize Schilling's Kate from the first scenes: She's tightly wound, all business, with no time for friends or family. "I have a habit of saying things that everyone is thinking, but then someone's always like 'Why did you say that?' so I'm usually in the place where I hate myself but also think I'm better than everybody else," she sums up to Maddie. We know, by the way, that Maddie will be the driving force of Kate's story arc, because of course Kate has to change by the time the credits roll, or why else would she be dressed in pristine white silk shirts and frowning? So change she does, and in all the ways you imagine she will -- but the magic of Family is that it's done with such artistry that it transcends the trite setup.

Maddie is a weird kid, but the movie's not laughing at her -- even though her true friends wind up being Juggalos who hang out in front of a mini mart playing a recorder. We feel the pain of her differentness from the kids at school, as well as her joy at finding a group that accepts her as she is -- and an aunt who can help her feel comfortable and supported in choosing to stand out rather than trying fruitlessly to fit in. Maddie's new friends, as Kate tells Maddie's worried mom, "play with their spit, and all their songs are about stabbing people, but once you get beyond that, they're really kind of sweet." And, without giving away the ending, it's true. No, it's not realistic, but Family gets at a real feeling: the wonder of finding your people. And clichéd as it is, it's awfully affecting.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about how Family compares to other family-centered movies. Does the content seem more or less realistic than others'? How is this family different from other movie families?

Is it ever OK to use stereotypes as a way of portraying characters? Do you see any stereotypes in this movie? Do the characters ultimately affirm or upend their stereotypes?

How do the characters in Family demonstrate empathy ? Why are these important character strengths ?

How does the movie portray drinking ? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : April 19, 2019
  • On DVD or streaming : July 16, 2019
  • Cast : Taylor Schilling , Brian Tyree Henry , Kate McKinnon , Bryn Vale
  • Director : Laura Steinel
  • Inclusion Information : Female directors, Female actors, Black actors, Lesbian actors
  • Studio : The Film Arcade
  • Genre : Comedy
  • Character Strengths : Empathy
  • Run time : 85 minutes
  • MPAA rating : R
  • MPAA explanation : language, some sexual content and drug use
  • Last updated : January 11, 2024

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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Ossipee Valley Fair, Moxie Festival and more happening this weekend

The Maine International Film Festival starts Friday in Waterville.

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Now that we’re all comfortably settled into the rhythm of summer, let’s do a classic summer thing and go to a fair!

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Jeremy Schoff of York leads his oxen, Pete and Red, during the ox pull on Thursday at the Ossippe Valley Fair in 2021. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The Ossipee Valley Fair starts today and runs through Sunday. We especially love the Farmer Olympics because the hay bale toss and blind wheelbarrow obstacle course competition is fierce. Ray Routhier has details about Ossipee Valley and several others fairs happening this summer in Bangor, Waterville and Acton, among other locales.

Go a little farther afield and find a Maine summer fair for you

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Aretha Aoki & Ryan MacDonald (right, in bear suit) performing IzumonookunI (stet capital letter at the end). Aretha Aoki & Ryan MacDonald will be bringing this dance program to the Bates Dance Festival July 12 and 14, 2024 at the Schaeffer Theatre on the Bates College campus in Lewiston, Maine. Photo by Colin Kelly

Another summer tradition is the Bates Dates Festival in Lewiston . Performances are underway, and arts writer Megan Gray has the scoop on “IzumonookunI” by Aretha Aoki and Ryan MacDonald. See it tonight and Saturday.

Topsham couple’s Bates Dance Festival performance is inspired by kabuki, punk rock and their 7-year-old

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Big Yellow Taxi. Photo by Julian Parker Burns

I’m headed to One Longfellow Square on Friday night to see the Massachusetts-based Joni Mitchell tribute band Big Yellow Taxi. They’ll be playing Mitchell’s 1974 album “Court and Spark,” along with other tunes.

Tribute to Joni Mitchell celebrates 50 years of ‘Court and Spark’

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“3 Vendors of Ipanema” is directed by Lewiston native Jonathan S. Lee. Courtesy of JSL Films

We weren’t kidding when we said there’s a lot going on right now. The 27th annual Maine International Film Festival starts on Friday and runs through July 21 in Waterville. Our film writer, Dennis Perkins, offers up his picks for 12 screenings worth your while.

12 hidden gems of this year’s Maine International Film Festival

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Spectators watching a previous year’s Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Our weekly events roundup includes the East Bayside block party in Portland and the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls. Should you make it to the festival on Saturday, don’t miss “American Idol” alum Julia Gagnon singing at 1:30 p.m.

Kennebunks garden tour, Moxie Festival, East Bayside block party

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One with Everything from Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs. Photo by Ray Routhier

Need a break from standard-issue hot dogs? We love them too, but sometimes a new twist is just what your taste buds need. Ray Routhier stopped by Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs cart . If you like what you read, you can find it parked from 4-9 p.m. Thursday at Apres in Portland, then on the roof of Bayside Bowl on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Sick of red snappers? Try an Icelandic hot dog instead

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"Radio" - Movie Review

  • Holly McClure Movie Reviewer
  • Updated Aug 03, 2007

"Radio" - Movie Review

Genre:   Drama

Rating:   PG (for mild language and thematic elements)

Release Date:   October 24, 2003

Actors:   Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger, S. Epatha Merkerson, Riley Smith, Sarah Drew, Chris Mulkey, Brent Sexton

Director:   Michael Tollin Special Notes:   In between takes of filming the football scenes, whenever the action slowed down and over 5,000 extras got cold, Cuba would run out on the field and show off his break dancing moves.  Plot:   From the writer of "The Rookie" comes a story inspired by real events in the life of a mentally-challenged man named Radio (Gooding Jr.), who won the heart of a high school football coach, (Harris) a South Carolina football team and eventually the town. The story explores how Radio overcomes his handicap and personal struggles through kindness and compassion from Coach Harold Jones. Jones is one of the few people who truly cares for Radio and convinces the concerned community leaders that charity towards Radio is good for the team’s morale. What the coach can’t seem to deal with is his teenage daughter (Drew) who observes her father spending time, love and energy on a seemingly perfect stranger, while she desperately craves a close relationship with him. When she comes to understand her father’s hidden reason as to why he shows compassion for Radio, she soon supports his decision and Radio becomes part of their family. Woodard plays the principal, and Winger plays the coach’s wife. 

Bad:   There are a few scenes where Radio gets picked on by bullies (tied up with his mouth taped shut) and shoved into an equipment closet. Townspeople in the barbershop discuss the idea of a black handicapped man fraternizing with high school kids. At first the coach has a hard time relating to his own daughter, and she feels rejected by him. But eventually she understands why her dad is devoted to helping Radio. There's also some mild language and a scene where Radio is tricked into walking into the girl’s locker room and sees the girls in their towels.

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    What you will—and won't—find in this movie. Positive Messages. Mixed messages about women and girls (a set of mid. Positive Role Models. Kate is selfish and painfully blunt, but softens o. Violence & Scariness. Viewers hear how violent a group of Juggalos is (t. Sex, Romance & Nudity. Brief conversation about using two condoms for bir.

  26. Ossipee Valley Fair, Moxie Festival and more happening this weekend

    You are able to gift 5 more articles this month. Anyone can access the link you share with no account required. Learn more. The Ossipee Valley Fair starts today and runs through Sunday. We ...

  27. "Radio"

    Bottom Line: I love the spirit and heart of this film! This is a soul-stirring tribute to man's triumph over amazing odds. Besides, Cuba "had me" at pushing his grocery cart full of treasures ...