The third TV movie produced for the TNT network's "Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentations," Wilder Days stars Peter Falk as septuagenarian James "Pop-Up" Morse, who, though warm and indulgent toward his 11-year-old grandson Chris (Josh Hutcherson), has always been a bit aloof and distant when it comes to his own son (and Chris' father) John (Timothy Daly). As a result, John has become a bitter, uptight, super-pragmatic adult, rigidly rejecting the colorful tall tales that Pop-Up enjoys spinning for Chris. Not wishing to have Chris' imagination stunted by John, and also hoping to make up for neglecting his son, Pop-Up decides to prove that his fanciful stories are factual, beginning with his oft-told yarn of the wreck of the circus boat Wilder Days. To this end, the elder Morse "escapes" from his nursing home and takes Chris on a journey of rediscovery across country in his classic 1959 El Dorado -- without the fuming John's permission. Directed by David Mickey Evans of Radio Flyer and The Sandlot fame, Wilder Days premiered October 19, 2003.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide