Josh and S.A.M. (1993)

PG-13 | 97 mins | Drama | 24 November 1993

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HISTORY

A 19 Jun 1992 HR article announcing the casting of Martha Plimpton referred to the film by its working title, Killer S.A.M. Production was repeatedly delayed during the summer of 1992, due to difficulties casting child actors for the two leading roles. Josh and S.A.M. marked the feature film directorial debut of Billy Weber, who previously worked as an editor and second unit director on Batman Returns (1992, see entry).
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that principal photography began 3 Aug 1992 in Billings, MT. Interior sets were built inside an empty warehouse in Laurel, MT. Additional exteriors and interiors were shot throughout Montana, Utah, and Calgary, Canada. According to the 29 Mar 1993 Var, Bebe Neuwirth was originally cast as “Caroline Whitney,” but was unable to return for re-shoots and later replaced by Joan Allen.
       A 24 Jun 1993 HR news item reported that Columbia Pictures planned to release the film in 1,000 theaters on 27 Aug 1993 before expanding to additional theaters over Labor Day weekend. However, Castle Rock Entertainment co-founder Martin Shafer expressed dismay with the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) decision to assign a PG-13 rating, since the picture received largely positive feedback from test audiences under the age of ... More Less

A 19 Jun 1992 HR article announcing the casting of Martha Plimpton referred to the film by its working title, Killer S.A.M. Production was repeatedly delayed during the summer of 1992, due to difficulties casting child actors for the two leading roles. Josh and S.A.M. marked the feature film directorial debut of Billy Weber, who previously worked as an editor and second unit director on Batman Returns (1992, see entry).
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that principal photography began 3 Aug 1992 in Billings, MT. Interior sets were built inside an empty warehouse in Laurel, MT. Additional exteriors and interiors were shot throughout Montana, Utah, and Calgary, Canada. According to the 29 Mar 1993 Var, Bebe Neuwirth was originally cast as “Caroline Whitney,” but was unable to return for re-shoots and later replaced by Joan Allen.
       A 24 Jun 1993 HR news item reported that Columbia Pictures planned to release the film in 1,000 theaters on 27 Aug 1993 before expanding to additional theaters over Labor Day weekend. However, Castle Rock Entertainment co-founder Martin Shafer expressed dismay with the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) decision to assign a PG-13 rating, since the picture received largely positive feedback from test audiences under the age of eighteen and contained no violence, objectionable language, or sexual situations. The filmmakers’ appeal for a PG rating was denied.
       Although several reviews were published in late summer 1993, the film did not open until 24 Nov 1993, as suggested by the LAT and NYT reviews of the same date. The 29 Nov 1993 issue of USA Today listed a box-office gross of $1.1 million.
       End credits state: “Filmed entirely on location in Billings, Montana; Salt Lake City, Price, Helper & Moab, Utah; and Calgary, Canada”; “Special thanks to: Don Rogers; The Montana Film Commission – Lonnie Stimac; The Utah Film Commission – Leigh Von Der Esch and Chris Slater; The Moab Film Commission; The Salt Lake City Garfield & Western Railway Company; K-Swiss; Continental Airlines; Arches National Park; National Park Services; U.S. Department of the Interior”; and, “Animal action was monitored by the American Humane Association with on-set supervision by the Billings Montana Animal Shelter. No animal was harmed in the making of this film.” A dedication reads, “For Jerry.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1992
p. 4, 73.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1993
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1993
p. 15, 22.
Los Angeles Times
24 Nov 1993
Calendar, p. 4.
New York Times
24 Nov 1993
Section C, p. 12.
USA Today
29 Nov 1993
LIFE, p. 1.
Variety
29 Mar 1993.
---
Variety
9 Aug 1993
pp. 35-36.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
In Association with New Line Cinema Presents
A City Light Films Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
Canadian prod mgr
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Cam loader
Gaffer
Key grip
Key grip
Best boy elec
Rigging gaffer
Rigging gaffer
Elec
Elec
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Grip
Video asst
24 frame video
Still photog
Dollies by
Cranes by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Illustrator
Storyboards
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc film ed
1st asst film ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set des
Const coord
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Set costumer
Asst costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Orch mgr
Mus preparation
Asst mus scoring mixer
Scoring rec
Mus scored at
Mus scored at
Mus scored at
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Rec
Mixing scheduler
ADR rec
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec
Re-rec facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
TItle des
Titles and opticals
Matte shot by
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Billy Weber
Asst to Arne L. Schmidt
Asst to Alex Gartner
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Accounting clerk
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Shotmaker insert car driver
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Extra casting (Montana)
Extra casting (Montana)
Extra casting (Utah)
Extra casting (Utah)
Cougar trainer
Cougar trainer
Dialect coach
Studio teacher
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Caterer, Angel's Food Service
Caterer, Angel's Food Service
Caterer, Angel's Food Service
Caterer, Angel's Food Service
Craft service
Craft service
Canadian transportation capt
Voice casting
Travel services provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Dailies processed by
Dailies processed by
Col and prints by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Hot Mocking Bird," arrangement by Bud Isaacs, performed by Chet Atkins, courtesy of the RCA Records label of BMG Music
"Toward The Settin' Sun," composed by Bob Badami and Bill Bernstein
"Vesti La Giubba," composer: Ruggero Leoncavallo, orchestra: Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, conductor: Robert Ashley, tenor: Giuseppe Savio, courtesy of Southern Library of Recorded Music.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Killer S.A.M.
Release Date:
24 November 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 24 November 1993
Production Date:
began 3 August 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Castle Rock Entertainment
Copyright Date:
15 December 1993
Copyright Number:
PA677982
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Determined to build a life for herself after her divorce, single mother Caroline Whitney agrees to go on vacation with her boyfriend, Jean-Pierre, a French banker. A week before the new school year, she sends her twelve and seven-year-old sons, Josh and Sam, to stay with their father, Thom’s, new family in Florida. Josh stubbornly complains about the arrangement and makes fun of his quiet and antisocial younger brother for having to repeat the second grade, deepening the rift between them. Once the boys arrive in Florida, Thom Whitney criticizes Josh for not being athletic like his two stepsons, who tease Josh for being sensitive. That night, Josh finds a Time magazine article about “child warriors” in Burma, and devises a story to explain Sam’s strange behavior. Insisting “Sam” stands for “Strategically Altered Mutant,” he explains that the boy was genetically modified and enlisted by their parents to serve as a soldier for an imaginary war in Africa. Later, Thom announces that their mother has agreed to move to Europe with Jean-Pierre for a year, leaving the boys to live with their father. Distraught, the boys return to California to gather their belongings. On the airplane, Josh informs Sam he will be ready to report for military service once they find a beautiful woman known as the “Liberty Maid,” who recruits child warriors and takes them to Canada for training. When a storm forces their plane to land in Dallas, Texas, the boys spend the night in a hotel. Josh attempts to sneak out, but gets caught in the middle of a high school reunion ... +


Determined to build a life for herself after her divorce, single mother Caroline Whitney agrees to go on vacation with her boyfriend, Jean-Pierre, a French banker. A week before the new school year, she sends her twelve and seven-year-old sons, Josh and Sam, to stay with their father, Thom’s, new family in Florida. Josh stubbornly complains about the arrangement and makes fun of his quiet and antisocial younger brother for having to repeat the second grade, deepening the rift between them. Once the boys arrive in Florida, Thom Whitney criticizes Josh for not being athletic like his two stepsons, who tease Josh for being sensitive. That night, Josh finds a Time magazine article about “child warriors” in Burma, and devises a story to explain Sam’s strange behavior. Insisting “Sam” stands for “Strategically Altered Mutant,” he explains that the boy was genetically modified and enlisted by their parents to serve as a soldier for an imaginary war in Africa. Later, Thom announces that their mother has agreed to move to Europe with Jean-Pierre for a year, leaving the boys to live with their father. Distraught, the boys return to California to gather their belongings. On the airplane, Josh informs Sam he will be ready to report for military service once they find a beautiful woman known as the “Liberty Maid,” who recruits child warriors and takes them to Canada for training. When a storm forces their plane to land in Dallas, Texas, the boys spend the night in a hotel. Josh attempts to sneak out, but gets caught in the middle of a high school reunion party gathered in the lobby and pretends to be the illegitimate son of an absent attendee named Michelle Geary. His story attracts the attention of Michelle’s intoxicated former lover, Derek Baxter, who suspects he may be the boys’ father and offers to take them to dinner. Upon realizing that Josh is lying, he becomes violent, and Josh knocks him unconscious. Assuming Derek is dead, they steal his rental car and drive until they must stop to rest. Although Josh admits he lied about Sam’s special abilities, the younger boy refuses to believe him and insists they go to Canada anyway. In the morning, Josh awakens to find Sam behind the wheel, driving top-speed through an orchard. Josh convinces him to switch places, and they continue toward Colorado. The next day, Sam convinces Josh to pick up a hitchhiker because she matches Josh’s description of the “Liberty Maid.” The woman agrees to drive and plays along with Sam’s outlandish story. At a gas station, Josh uses a payphone to call his mother, but Jean-Pierre answers and refers to Caroline as his “wife,” indicating that they have recently married. Furious, Josh uses stolen copies of Jean-Pierre’s debit cards to withdraw money from an automated teller machine and buys them all dinner. Grateful, the “Liberty Maid” reveals that her real name is Alison, and she is saddened to learn that Sam has deluded himself about being a child assassin in order to justify all the negative things in his life. Near Salt Lake City, Utah, a passing police officer becomes suspicious and orders the boys to accompany him to the station so he can call their parents. Sam flees, crawling under a passing freight train and running back toward the car. Josh and Alison catch up to him, and they drive to the next town. While stopped at a Laundromat, Alison pretends to receive an important telephone call from the U.S. Department of Defense, informing her that the war in Africa has ended. Sam suspects she is lying to get rid of him and steals the car. Alison asks Josh to accompany her to Seattle, Washington, but he decides to stay and search for his brother. Once Alison leaves, he finds the car crashed on the side of the road, but Sam is not inside. Unable to start the car, Josh boards a bus toward Canada. On the highway, the bus passes a semi-trailer truck, and Josh notices Sam seated on top of the cab. At the border crossing, Josh retrieves his brother and they sneak under the fence into Canada. While eating in a diner, Sam apologizes for causing his brother so much trouble. In the morning, Josh suggests Sam return to Florida and takes him to a tanning salon, where he pays the owner to pretend the ultraviolet lights emit radiation that will “reverse” Sam’s genetic modifications. While Sam lies in the tanning bed, Josh uses the owner’s typewriter to falsify a letter stating that Sam’s parents have just died in a propane gas explosion. At the airport, Josh presents the letter to the gate agents and secures Sam a free ticket on the next flight. Although the boys have bonded over the course of their journey, Josh insists he cannot bear to live with his father, and must continue on his own. They share a solemn goodbye, and Sam boards his flight. While wandering the streets alone, Josh calls Derek Baxter and discovers he is still alive. Reunited with his father in Florida, Sam asks Thom why he does not love Josh. Thom says he regrets being unable to give his sons a happy family life and thought that forcing Josh to be “tough” would help him overcome his hardships. Josh eventually returns to Florida, and Sam confronts him for lying about his special abilities. Josh apologizes, and they hug. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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