Jamesy Boy is a biographic drama film that debuted in the United States on January 3, 2014.
When the show opens, James Burns (Spencer LaFranco) is in prison. He is being beaten by a prison guard because he elbowed another inmate in the nose.
Flashing back to when James’s mother, Tracy (Mary Louise Parker), is trying to convince school officials to allow James to attend their school. They do not want him there because he already holds an extensive record and is on house arrest. That night he goes to a nearby convenient store, where he runs into trouble, when a group of teenagers start stealing items from the store. The store owner thinks James is involved in the incident, which prompts him to follow the teenagers. He hangs out with them and smokes some weed, then returns home.
Back to Prison, James gets into an argument with another inmate. Lieutenant Falton (James Woods) tries to teach James a lesson, about getting into fights, while being incarcerated, but it falls on deaf ears.
James begins a friendship with Crystal (Rosa Salazar) and Drew (Keon Clayton), whom he met at the grocery store the night of the robbery. Tracy warns James of his reckless behavior and tells him that he needs to get his life together, before he totally fails. He ignores her pleas and still continues to dig himself deeper into the criminal world. He ends up going to Crystal’s friend, Roc (Michael Trotter), to request a job to make some quick money. James calls his mom and tells her that he is never coming back home, under any circumstances.
Back in prison, James is in the shower, when he is jumped by a couple of inmates. He is severely injured, during a scuffle, but amazingly survives the incident. Falton speaks to him again about his bad choices and tries to get James to rat on the inmates, who jumped him, but he refuses.
Roc gives James an important job to do, which involves robbing a drug dealer. The robbery is successful and they visit a strip club to celebrate. James has now earned his place in Roc’s gang and for now on will be known as “Jamesy”.
In prison, James starts to have night terrors about the shower attack. While out in the prison yard he notices a prisoner sitting by himself and questions why no one messes with him. James attempts to make conversation with Conrad (Ving Rhames), but he tells him to “shut up”.
James and Crystal stop at a convenient store, where he tries to purchase a pack of cigarettes, but the clerk, Sarah (Taissa Farmiga, American Horror Story), refuses. She eventually gives them to him because she does not want any trouble. Jamesy continues to do Roc’s bidding, but he goes father than expected every time he robs from the drug dealers. He befriends Sarah, whose dad owns the store and she prefers to work alone at night, instead of dealing with her drunken father. He begins to hang out with her and her friends.
After Tracy visits James in prison, he writes poetry and gives it to Conrad. James questions him about whether or not he truly killed five people. He refuses to answer he, instead quotes a biblical verse. Conrad tells him to keep writing to block out what is going on in prison and he does exactly that. James befriends inmate Chris (Ben Rosenfield, Boardwalk Empire), who he tries to encourage to keep his mouth shut and his head down, until he gets released.
James goes to Falton to ask him to put Chris in solitude for his own safety, but he refuses. He is approached by Guillermo (Taboo), who tries to provoke him into hitting him, but he sees Conrad sitting on the bleachers and decides to walk away. James becomes upset, when he finds out that the parole board denies Chris’s release, instead they increase his sentence to a total of six years. Chris hangs himself while everyone watches. James tries to stop him, but he is apprehended by one of the prison guards. He attacks Guillermo, when he is released. Conrad is repulsed by what he sees and walks away from the scene.
Flashbacks to the night James and Drew are selling guns that he had stolen from a drug dealer, when the cops scoop in and arrest Crystal and Roc. Drew takes off and James ends up running to Sarah for help, but she refuses.
Falton is forced to attend a committee hearing about James, while James is becoming a reckless thug in the prison yards. Conrad jumps in to prevent James from making another wrong decision. James attends the committee hearing, but refuses to try and justify his criminal actions.
Will James be able to contain his anger in prison and be a model inmate or will he end up being a lifer?
Jamesy Boy is a movie about a young man, who always chose to take the wrong road. He finally got his chance to be a normal person, when he met Sarah, but he just could not escape the cruel fate that he created for himself. Although a lot occurred, during the film, it was not played out so that it was easy to follow.
I am sure that many young men and women that grew up in the hood and high crime areas can relate to James’s story. Some kids are strong enough to stay clear of gangs, while others get pulled into the gang life and end up in prison. While I feel this story is somewhat exaggerated, I still enjoyed watching it. Some great acting by Ving Rhames and Michael Trotter, but no one else really stood out. I do feel that the story would have been better with less flashbacks and more backstory into the events leading up to James ending up in prison. Jamesy Boy deserves a 6.5 out of 10.