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"BOX OF MOONLIGHT"
(1997) (John Turturro, Sam Rockwell) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Moderate None Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Minor Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A rigid manager finds his inner child while stuck for several days with a free spirited man.
PLOT:
Al Fountain (JOHN TURTURRO) is a rigid, by the books electrical engineer who's in charge of constructing a windshield wiper plant in Driprock, Tennessee. Always calling his wife, Deb (ANNIE CORLEY) and son, Bobby (ALEXANDER GOODWIN) at the same time every night, Al is too uptight to hang out with his workers. After his project is canceled and he finds his first grey hair, Al has his first midlife crisis. Confused by occasionally seeing events actually moving backwards, Al sets off to find a lake he attended in his childhood instead of returning home to his family. Along the way he helps out a stranger, Bucky (SAM ROCKWELL), a.k.a. "The Kid," a free- spirit dressed like Daniel Boone who wants to withdraw completely from society. While Al just wants to help get Bucky's car fixed and then get on the road, Bucky playfully delays Al's departure. At first irritated, Al soon starts to enjoy staying in Bucky's half trailer in the woods and further delays his return to Deb and Bobby. During this time, the guys meet two sisters, Floatie (CATHERINE KEENER) and Purlene Dupre (LISA BLOUNT), and hang out with them. As Al loosens up, he soon rediscovers his inner child and returns home a changed man.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might, but it's doubtful most kids will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHN TURTURRO plays a rigid manager who is incapable of associating with his workers or for that matter, his family. As he rediscovers his inner child, however, he loosens up and learns how to get along with others.
  • SAM ROCKWELL plays a free-spirit who has never paid taxes, drives with a license, and steals and then resells lawn ornaments for spending cash. While he's a child at heart, he's not much of a good role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    A somewhat quirky, offbeat and definitely unique film, "Box of Moonlight" is a surprisingly enjoyable excursion at the movies. Showcasing the talent of Turturro ("Quiz Show," "Barton Fink"), the movie centers around his uptight character and the slight paranoia that sets in with the commencement of his first mid-life crisis. Portraying a character that many can identify with -- the outsider who feels that nobody likes him and feels that life's too important for goofing around -- everyone will enjoy seeing him find his inner child again. Of course he's reluctant to actually do that at first, and that adds to the enjoyment of watching Turturro react in repulsion to behavior and attitudes he would normally object to. Rockwell is a hoot as the free-spirit whose unknowing mission is to make Al see that life's slipping by and that if he doesn't grab a hold, it will leave him behind. While all of that sounds heavy handed, it actually isn't and is quite enjoyable and often humorous in many subtle ways. For example, when Al demands that his son study multiplication flash cards, we don't see the boy with ones the size of playing cards, instead they're several feet tall and the poor boy drags them along, symbolizing his father's overbearing pressure on him to be perfect. Similarly, Bucky's "household" -- just the front of a trailer with all of the furniture in the "backyard" is funny to behold and again is symbolic of his freedom versus Al's confining beliefs. While some viewers may find the humor rather droll -- it's definitely not of the side-splitting variety -- we found it very amusing and were impressed by the fine lead performances. We give "Box of Moonlight" a 6.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This offbeat film has a fair amount of material that parents may object to, but fortunately few, if any, younger kids will want to see this film. There is male full frontal nudity in several scenes, but none of it's in a sexual context. While Al loosens up, his change in behavior causes him to lie to his wife and to sleep with another woman. This happens while under the influence of some sort of hallucinogenic drug that he unknowingly takes. Profanity is extreme with 30 "f" words, and one fight scene involves some brief, but brutal violence. Since Bucky helps Al rediscover his inner child, there is some imitative behavior including stealing others' property and a scene where Al and Bucky shoot up Al's former building with a rifle and a shotgun. Although it's doubtful many children will want to see this film, you might want to check out the content listings in case you want to for yourself.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some beer bottles are on a table during a poker game.
  • Deb drinks beer in a few scenes when Al calls home.
  • Al finds a bottle of liquor in Bucky's car.
  • Al and Bucky drink some sort of liquor.
  • Al drinks a beer at a bar as do others.
  • Al, Bucky, and the two sisters drink beer with dinner.
  • Purlene gives Al a pill for his headache (explaining it's aspirin plus something else), and everyone else then takes one as well. Evidently they're some sort of hallucinogenic because everyone loosens up and gets a little strange. Also, that appears to be the reason that Al sleeps with Floatie.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • On the news we see the slightly bloody arm of a murder victim.
  • Bucky's face is rather bloody after a guy beats him up and a stream of blood runs down the side of Al's head from the same.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Al catches some of his workers playing a pickup game of baseball while still on the clock.
  • Al goes to play poker with his workers, but overhears them badmouthing him.
  • Al lies to Deb about his job, playing poker with the guys and then about when he'll return home. At the end (although under the influence of some type of hallucinogenic drug) he sleeps with Floatie.
  • Al encounters two religious people at a lake who ask if he's found Jesus. Al replies, "Is he missing?" and moments later comments that "I thought I saw him walking on the water over there." Later, on the news we hear that this man murdered several people. Some viewers may be put off by Al's comments, or by the fact that these religious people are later (briefly) portrayed as murderers.
  • Later, there's another scene where people rush up to a peeling billboard saying that they saw Jesus there. Some viewers may find that disrespectful.
  • Bucky steals lawn ornaments from peoples' lawns and then resells them. Also, he's never paid taxes and drives without a license.
  • Bucky and Al eat and then throw tomatoes (from someone else's garden) at each other and then hide from the sheriff when he arrives. Bucky then puts the sheriff's car in neutral and pushes it toward him and two other men, nearly running them over.
  • Bucky shoots out several expensive windows in the deserted building Al was working on, and then Al joins him. They then shoot more windows and practically everything else in the building.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifle and Shotgun: Used by Al and Bucky to shoot and destroy things in the building Al was working on (now deserted).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrase: "What's shaking? My left nut" (testicle), "Take a leak," "Bastard," and "P*cker head."
  • Al drives by a recliner chair that's fully engulfed in flames (we never see who's responsible).
  • An older hotel clerk tells Al that he and his brother once drowned a cat in the lake that Al's searching for.
  • Several scenes involve illegal fireworks that are shot off.
  • Bucky eats cookies in milk as his cereal for breakfast.
  • Bucky steals lawn ornaments from peoples' lawns and then resells them.
  • Bucky and Al eat and then throw tomatoes (from someone else's garden) at each other and then hide from the sheriff when he arrives. Bucky then puts the sheriff's car in neutral and pushes it toward him and two other men, nearly running them over.
  • Bucky smells a woman's panties (and thinks he can describe who they belong to) that they find by the lake and then gets Al to smell them as well.
  • Bucky shoots out several expensive windows in the deserted building Al was working on, and then Al joins him. They then shoot more windows and practically everything else in the building.
  • Bucky sprays lighter fluid onto a campfire and everyone takes turns jumping over the flames.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 30 "f" words, 25 "s" words, 1 slang term involving male genitals ("p*ckerhead"), 27 hells, 6 "asses" (4 used with "hole"), 6 damns, 1 crap, 1 S.O.B., and 17 uses of "G-damn," 4 uses each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ," 2 uses of "Christ" and "God," and 1 use each of "My God," "Oh God," "Christ Almighty," "Oh Jesus," and "Oh Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see full frontal nudity as Al gets out of a shower.
  • Someone occasionally slips business cards under Al's hotel doors and they're for phone sex (with the number 555-4SEX). Al finally calls that number and gets a woman on the line who reads from a script in front of her and mentions that she's "hot and horny." We later learn that this was Floatie.
  • Al's workers mention that Al's probably "jerking off" to the equipment manual (instead of playing poker with them).
  • We see male full frontal nudity on several occasions as Bucky dives naked into a lake.
  • Bucky smells a woman's panties (and thinks he can describe who they belong to) that they find by the lake and then gets Al to smell them as well.
  • One of the sisters comments that the other isn't a natural blond and "has bright red bush" (pubic hair).
  • Bucky holds a large lawn ornament candle up to his crotch and dances around with this large phallus.
  • Al lies on top of Floatie and kisses her. The next morning they're seen in bed implying that they had sex. The same holds true for Purlene and Bucky (who again stands up displaying full frontal and rear nudity).
  • SMOKING
  • A worker puts chewing tobacco in his mouth.
  • A woman smokes in a diner.
  • Bucky smokes in a few scenes.
  • People smoke at a bar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There are just a few scenes where Al's son is upset because his father wants him to correctly answer his multiplication questions.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Finding the child inside oneself again as an adult.
  • Some of the imitative behavior, such as squirting lighter fluid onto an open flame and shooting property that doesn't belong to you, etc...
  • VIOLENCE
  • Bucky puts a sheriff's car into neutral and then pushes it toward him, his deputy and a farmer, nearly hitting all three of them.
  • Some professional wrestlers (seen on TV) hit each other and one slams a chair onto another's head.
  • Bucky shoots out several expensive windows in the deserted building Al was working on, and then Al joins him. They then shoot more windows and practically everything else in the building, causing a great deal of property damage.
  • Al encounters two religious people at a lake who ask if he's found Jesus. Later, on the news we hear that this man murdered several people with a hatchet.
  • Two locals get into a fight with Al and Bucky. One punches Bucky in the face, the other then punches Al in the gut and then bashes his head against the front of a truck. The other guy then knees Bucky in the face and kicks him on the ground.



  • Reviewed August 8, 1997

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