RVOD123 Decisions, Decisons

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Joey is Kaiser Soze!

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:

Tommy can’t decide whether or not to ditch his weird friend Joey.


It's prime coop-paintin' season.Tommy moves to a farm, and the first boy he meets is Joey. Joey’s a little brusque and kind of weird, but he's amiable enough. He invites Tommy to come over to his grandma’s house sometime that fall and help him paint a chicken coop. This will net them twenty dollars each. Twenty dollars will go a ways toward buying Tommy a new horse to go with his new farm, so he readily agrees.

Then school starts. None of the other kids like Joey, and with good reason. He sits by himself on purpose and behaves rudely to people who approach him. As Tommy’s circle of friends expands, he finds himself frequently having to choose where to spend his playtime as Joey and the other kids refuse to mingle.

Now Tommy is torn. Should he break with Joey entirely or continue to divide his attention? His oddly characterized parents offer useless advice, ultimately leaving the decision up to Tommy. Things come to a head when Joey comes up to Tommy at school and interrupts some friendly horseplay to tell him when the chicken coop-painting date has been set. Tommy might refuse to go to save face, or he might embarrass himself by agreeing. The short ends before we find out.


Decisions, Decisions poses an interesting question. Ordinarily this would be a false dilemma: siding with the loner kid and eventually bringing him into your circle of friends would clearly be the right choice. In this film, we’re not quite sure. Joey isn’t just socially awkward, he’s aggressively, defiantly awkward. He’s alone, not by circumstance, but by choice. Asking a child of more mainstream temperament to put up with this kind of behavior could be considered a little beyond the pale.

Is it relevant? Do lots of Joey-esque children exist; enough to warrant posing this question to educational film viewers everywhere? I don’t know. Interesting question, though.

A few favorite comments: When Tommy and Joey go inside for lunch, Mike assigns “pizza for Tommy, allergy medicine for Joey.” When Mom refuses to make Tommy’s decision for him, Kevin notes her odd delivery with, “I’m too full of valium and coconut rum.” When Dad does the same, Bill responds, “Whatever you say, Gay Southern Dad.” Lots of nerd jokes and lots of mockery heaped on the very strangely played parents make this one worth watching.