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Joe: Just Another Unsung Hero

-image courtesy of IMDb (
Gary with Joe. -image courtesy of IMDb (

The other night I watched one of my favorite actors, Nicolas Cage, in a movie called “Joe.”

If you have seen the film, you know it is a bit, well, gritty.

Joe himself is rough around the edges (although at times he appears nearly genteel compared with some of his neighbors).

Why am I bringing up this particular movie in a column about mentoring and recovery?

The truth is, as I get older, I find hope in the strangest places, and often it comes in the form of a story of “mentee meets mentor.”

Joe and Gary may have appeared on the surface to be an unlikely mentor-mentee match, but they were a match just the same.

And when the movie ended, what I remembered most – and continue to remember – is that mentoring bond between Gary and Joe.

I especially admired young Gary’s proactive courage in seeking out Joe’s help. I, too, have always sought out my mentors – opening myself up and asking directly for the help I am hoping to receive.

Equally as much, I admired Joe’s daily quiet acts of kindness and caring towards Gary, his work crew, and others in his circle. Throughout the film he seeks no recognition and asks for nothing in return – both of which run so contrary to the self-seeking, self-rewarding culture that surrounds us all today.

The hope I found in “Joe” stems directly from these two facets:

  1. A young mentee who actively selects his mentor and reaches out, to be met with the requested support and more.
  2. An older mentor who quietly gives help where help is needed, asking for nothing in return.

Joe is a hero to me for sure, but I prefer not to glamorize him. I suspect he would have disliked that intensely.

Rather, I prefer to simply internalize him as another one of my personal chosen mentors, with the goal to concentrate more on offering up simple acts of unpremeditated kindness without being asked – to perhaps even think, “What would Joe do?”

Today’s Takeaway: Have you seen the movie “Joe” or read the book? What did you think? What was your overall impression of Joe’s character – and Gary’s? 



Joe: Just Another Unsung Hero

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Mentor. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2014). Joe: Just Another Unsung Hero. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Jul 2014
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