Movies Update Of The Beach Bum

The title character in “The Beach Bum,” a Stoner poet named Moondog, is the part Matthew McConaughey was born to play, and he’s indeed at his McConaughey-is here: smiling, laughing, pontificating, publicly urinating, hazily stumbling from one part to the next, just generally living his best life. But the Film is written and directed by Harmony Korine (“Trash Humpers”, “Spring Breakers”), so Moondog’s “Best Life” almost missed his daughter’s wedding because he beats up a waitress, comes out of court-ordered rehab and assaults an old man to buy medicine with Zac Efron (in the role of James Franco). Korine finds these things delicious and hilarious, especially since Moondog gets away with everything, the li’l rascal. The whole film is an ignorant pay to white privilege.

Moondog is considered by the whole world to be a poetic genius, albeit sloppy, unreliable, who has not produced anything new for years. His Louisiana-accented Agent (Jonah Hill) brings him here and there to shows and he lives in Miami with his fabulously wealthy wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) who shares his amoral worldview of having no values and enjoying nothing. When she dies in a car accident, she leaves an Ultimatum: Moondog has a year to finish the book he wrote forever, otherwise he will not receive anything from her money.

The premise sounds sweet, and John Debney’s whimsical score matches that – but then there’s the Korine factor, too. Every matter of amusing irresponsibility-Moondog walking around with a rapper named small (Snoop Dogg) or a dolphin guide named Captain Wack (Martin Lawrence) whose foot is bitten by a shark—is upset by something obscene, ruthless or cruel. We should find Moondog charming, sassy, weird and adorable, but I found him most often horrible and unlikely. I’ve judged it over and over again, which is unpleasant when the Film does the opposite.

Is this a Me problem, not a Harmony Korine problem? Maybe. But I’m writing the review, so you stick with it. Korine shows undeniable talent and craftsmanship, with a game that sometimes serves him well. “Spring Breakers” was also horrible, but fascinating and alerting: a fun nightmare. “The Beach Bum” also feels like a nightmare, but he doesn’t acknowledge that it is one. Joyful Anarchy is one thing; it’s malicious Anarchy, bad luck for anyone who’s not Moondog.

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