DREAMIN’ WILD – A Review by John Strange

DREAMIN’ WILD – A Review by John Strange

Donnie Emerson was something of a musical prodigy at a young age.  He mastered multiple instruments and songwriting on his own.  He was supported by his brother Joe, and his whole family.  Especially his father, Don Sr.

The two brothers are given their very own recording studio built by their dad where they record an album titled “Dreamin’ Wild” with Joe on drums and Donnie on every other instrument.  The album, while good, and their music careers stall out while they are still teenagers.

Thirty years later, Don Sr. is approached by a man who wants to re-release the album.  This is a shock to the two adults who have tried to go their own ways with their lives.  Older brother Joe (Walter Goggin) has stayed at home to work with his father while Joe moved away to pursue his music career and run a recording studio.

This film is based on the lives of two real men, Joe and Donnie Emerson. It is filled with flashbacks that tell us the story of the teenagers (played by Noah Jupe as teenage Donnie and Jack Dylan Grazer as teenage Joe).  Noah sings the songs in his section of the film.

This is a good music-related film starring Casey Affleck as Donnie, Walter Goggins as Joe, and Beau Bridges as Don Sr.  It is the type of story that pulls you in and makes you want the best for the characters, especially when we know that they are real people.

It is the story of expectations dashed and re-kindled.  It is a film with faults, all films of this type do thanks to the need to flash back and forth between eras, but there are some scenes with brilliant cinematography that truly impressed me.  Balancing these two feelings gives me a 4.5-star rating for Dreamin’ Wild.


Director: Bill Pohlad

Cast: Walton Goggins, Zooey Deschanel, Chris Messina, Casey Affleck, Noah Jupe, Jack Dylan Grazer, Katy Cavanagh-Jupe, Beau Bridges, Mellanie Hubert, McKenna Ralston, Maeve Campbell, Rich Morris, Doug Dawson, Elizabeth O’Brien, Barbara Deering, Ian Wells

MPAA Rating: PG (for language and thematic elements)

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Runtime: 110 Min.

Release Date: 08/04/2023

Local Release Locations: AMC Firewheel 18 (Garland), Cinemark Legacy and XD (Plano), AMC DINE-IN Stonebriar 24 (Frisco), AMC Grapevine Mills 24 (Grapevine), AMC The Parks At Arlington 18 (Arlington), AMC Lake Worth 14 (Lake Worth)

Language: English

Movie Site: DREAMIN’ WILD Official Site

Trailer: DREAMIN’ WILD Official Trailer


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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