Friday, July 12, 2019

Movie Review: "The Beach Bum" (2019)

Director: Harmony Korine
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

An eccentric poet spends his days inebriated and engaging in carnal pleasures as he drifts around Florida trying to finish his masterwork.

The Beach Bum 2019 movie still where Matthew McConaughey smokes while typing on his typewriter, surrounded by liquor bottles
"One day I will swallow up the world, and when I do, I hope you all perish violently." (Image Source)
Do you think that actors know when they're in terrible movies? Do you think for even one second that Matthew McConaughey knew "The Beach Bum" was going to be awful to (what we can only assume is the majority of) people? This film is written and directed by Harmony Korine, who is known for directing films like "Gummo" and "Spring Breakers." He is also known for writing the critically acclaimed yet highly controversial movie "Kids." His latest feature follows an eccentric poet named Moondog (Matthew McConaughey), who spends most of his days drunk, stoned, and having casual sex with random women, all while being lauded as a brilliant writer. After facing some life-changing events, he goes on a personal journey to finish his new book of poetry. This may seem like a scant summary, but that's really all the movie is about.
Movie still for "The Beach Bum" where Zac Efron shirtless on a boat kissing the hand of a woman in a red dress
"Your words mean something to people." (Image Source)
We were looking forward to "The Beach Bum." The trailer drew us in with its wild colors, its eclectic cast, and its potentially compelling story. It would appear Harmony Korine specializes in making films that have a limited appeal and/or deal with controversial people and various walks of life. "The Beach Bum" is no different. We get it, Korine likes to be ~*different~* and highlights lifestyles that operate outside "the norm." It is a slice-of-life dramedy that follows a hedonistic protagonist who is not particularly likable and doesn't grow as a character throughout his journey. Moondog begins and ends in the exact same place, stumbling through life in a drunken, stoned haze as the people around him call him a genius and worship the ground he walks on for thinking up musings about how happy his dick makes him when he's inside a woman. By the end of it all, we felt like we wasted our time joining Moondog on his journey because it lands him right back where he began, and despite his best efforts, things work inexplicably in his favor. Is this supposed to be a satire on how the wrong people are able to maintain their status, allure, and wealth by charisma, a modicum of talent, surrounding themselves with the right peers, and/or sheer luck alone? That the dishonest and dishonorable iconoclastic schmuck with delusions of grandeur is the one who will succeed by the skin of his teeth because YOLOing your life away doing the wrong things will make you top (Moon)dog? Sounds about white, err, right. We've seen Matthew McConaughey play this familiar role for the last two decades with a couple of exceptions. It is so common, in fact, that it feels like Moondog is actually Wooderson from "Dazed and Confused," but with decades more drug abuse under his belt. At least McConaughey gives it his all, which is really the best thing we can say about the movie. Snoop Dogg plays himself because he can't really play anything else. Jonah Hill plays a character who for some reason has a distracting Cajun accent. Zac Efron plays a douchebag, gee, what a shock. All type-cast, all the time.
Movie still for Harmony Korine's 2019 film The Beach Bum Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg smoke marijuana on a boat out at sea
"You just sort of have to accept that he's from another dimension." (Image Source)
We were thoroughly disappointed by the unfocused mess that is "The Beach Bum." This film struggled to maintain our interest during its brief 90-minute runtime. Some viewers crave "different," and this certainly is different, but in an overly ironic, trashy, jumbled, self-indulgent way. The point of it all is that there is no point (hOw ClEvEr We'Ve NeVeR hEaRd ThAt BeFoRe), but the point is we wasted our time with this one, and we're finally realizing, after nearly six years of reviewing films, that that's worth something.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.6/10
RT Rating: 55%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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