Oscar Watch: Good Joe Bell

Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Good Joe Bell has screened at the Toronto Film Festival and the drama is eliciting markedly different reactions from critics. It comes from co-writers Larry McMurtry and Dianna Ossana, who penned the Oscar winning adapted screenplay 15 years ago for Brokeback Mountain. Mark Wahlberg stars in the title role in this true story of a man walking the country following a tragedy involving his gay son.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating is currently 75%, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Some reaction is quite positive with Wahlberg’s performance being praised. Same goes for Reid Miller, who is said to be a breakout in the part of his child. Variety, on the other hand, deems the whole film “terrible”.

This seems to preview what could be wildly divergent opinions of the feature and that could spell trouble come awards time. Wahlberg has a limited history at the Oscars as he’s only been nominated once. That was a rather surprising nod for 2006’s The Departed. He was the only performer in the top 4 quartet of 2010’s The Fighter not to receive a nomination. Costars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo were victorious in the supporting fields.

I doubt that Wahlberg will make the final five in Best Actor a few months from now, but he might creep into the top 15 in my weekly Thursday nominations. The distributor’s best hope could be Miller if they mount a strong campaign in Supporting Actor. It’s just as possible that Bell is ignored completely in the races to come. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

I Still Believe Box Office Prediction

Two years after their faith-based drama centered on a song shocked box office prognosticators, the brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin are back with I Still Believe. This follow-up is also catering to Christian audiences and has a musical inspiration. A biographical story focused on singer Jeremy Camp, the pic finds KJ Apa playing him with a supporting cast including Britt Robertson, Gary Sinise, and Shania Twain.

The aforementioned feature from the Erwins was I Can Only Imagine and it certainly impressed moviegoers much. Released in the same mid March frame, Imagine took in an unexpected $17 million out of the gate and $83 million overall domestically. That was with a meager $7 million budget.

Believe hits IMAX screens next Wednesday with the traditional wide release on Friday. Faith-based flicks are hard to project and we have seen examples of over and under performances in recent times. Yet with the pedigree involved, I can easily believe this gets close or matches to what Imagine accomplished 2018. With the two extra days of release on the giant screen format, I’ll put it just under.

I Still Believe opening weekend prediction: $14.6 million

For my Bloodshot prediction, click here:


For my The Hunt prediction, click here:


For my My Spy prediction, click here: