Okay, time to fess up pardners. I really liked the new live action Disney movie, "Tom and Huck". Yes, I know. Am I kidding? Yet another treatment of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn? Yeah, and it's pretty gol durn good.
America's newest annoying child star, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, is the star of the movie, and he plays Tom Sawyer as he should, with a smart-aleck sensibility and a devil-may-care attitude that covers up his boyish charm. Tom is friends with the other crazy country adolescent of his time, Huck Finn, played by Brad Renfro. Huck is a tough guy, living on his own in the woods and smoking his corn cob pipe as he spouts off country bumpkin sayings that only make sense to him. The two boys bond together in the woods, playing swimmin' hole games, and discussing all the major issues of the day.
One evening, the boys are in the local cemetery when who do they see but that nasty Injun Joe, played by Native American heartthrob, Eric Schweig. Injun Joe kills the local doc and seizes a treasure map, and all those nutty, backwoods hijinks begin. Joe accuses the local drunk of the murder, the boys need to prove his innocence, Tom needs to get a little somethin' from that country western vixen, Becky, and Huck just needs a bath. Badly.
The plot and pacing of "Tom and Huck" is actually fairly exciting, and the whole cast and setting certainly don't detract from the twangy country flavor of the piece. So, does any of this sound even remotely appealing to you? Yeah, it didn't sound like a barrel of monkeys to me either. But you know what? This movie is pretty entertaining, and doesn't take that turn into schmaltz that would have made for a painful river boat ride. And man, when Jon Voight and Ned Beatty show up, and the river boat ride gets really nasty, well....let's just say that the whole experience could make one squeal like a pig.
Copyright 1995 John A. Lavin
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