The Beach Bum (2019)

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Food: I had the pleasure of seeing this film at Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn. Though, we brought our own snacks in and came prepared – the theater presented us with a fun in-theme Beach Bum cocktail menu, which we could not refuse. However, the tequila drinks we ordered called 420 something or other, were $14 and came in a small martini glass not even fully filled to the brim. It was flavorful, but very disappointing for the price. The Avocado Toast on the other hand was delicious. It came on toasted baguette bread and had pieces of cilantro on top. The menu is extremely thorough at the Drafthouse and is definitely worth trying, but I would recommend spending your money on beers instead of cocktails unless they can ensure a larger size glass.

Film: This entire movie is one long rainbow cloud of debauchery. Harmony Korine toys with our morality in an unobtrusive way. Is this main character Moondog reckless and destructive at the expense of the people close to him or is he free, inspiring and brilliant? Knows something we don’t? That’s the question that this movie does not answer – but allows the audience to project how they may as they follow along in his raucous journey to nowhere. It is a hell of a lot of fun. It does not pass the Bechdel test as the female characters in the movie are relative caricatures used to move the arch of Moondog’s development along. However, to be fair – so is every other character. His fabulously rich and free spirited wife, Minnie (played by Isla Fisher) seems to be the closest relationship he has, but they both engage in adultery (it is unclear whether or not they are knowingly in an open relationship or not) and spend long periods apart as he gallivants off to the Keys – which she excuses because she understands that ‘he is just from another planet.’

Don’t get me wrong. This movie is a blast.  Snoop Dogg is a jazzy musician that goes by the name Ray, short for “Lingerie.” Martin Lawrence is a dolphin enthusiast/tour guide who is not able to recognize the shape of a dolphins fin as well as you might think. Jonah Hill is a drawling Southern publisher. Zac Efron is a “hardcore” Christian rocker he meets in rehab. This film is exactly what you would expect – a stoner hit from the maker of Spring Breakers. Though, it drags a bit with its continual repetitive party sequences, it works much better than if it had fleshed out the grittier or more traumatic moments, which would have shredded the overall tone of the piece.

With whimsical cinematography (Benoît Debie) and an excellent soundtrack (primarily John Debney, with special pieces by Jimmy Buffet himself), The Beach Bum is a boozy sun-kissed trip worth taking.

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