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The New Classics: A SEPARATION

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« Beauty vs Beast: Liverpool Lovers | Main | SXSW: Shia Labeouf in "Peanut Butter Falcon" »
Monday
Mar112019

SXSW: Matthew McConaughey in "The Beach Bum"

Abe Fried-Tanzer reporting from the SXSW Festival...

You know that any movie which has its publicists passing out “scratch and sniff” cards to help audiences smell weed during select scenes is going to be a wild ride. Matthew McConaughey playing the title character in a movie called The Beach Bum should be enough of an indication, and, if still more reassurance was needed, the fact that it comes from writer-director Harmony Korine should put any doubts to rest: this is going to be one out-of-control film. 

Korine’s last film was Spring Breakers, a mostly-praised portrait of college students-turned-criminals featuring a highly memorable and indescribable performance from James Franco...

That film, which didn’t win me over, boasted vivid colors and a general feeling of being distanced from reality. Korine’s latest is more grounded in its presentation of its events, yet its lead character is totally unhinged. The life he lives is both excessive and completely ridiculous, but he drinks and smokes more than he does anything else. Somehow, the concept that he is a revered poet who has thrown his life and promise away makes sense, and literally anyone watching would be able to suggest one or two simple things that McConaughey’s Moondog could do to get back on track, but he isn’t about to listen to anyone who doesn’t just want to relax with him.

Watching this high would likely enhance your level of enjoyment, but doing it sober is actually rather captivating. The romance between Moondog and his wife (Isla Fisher) may be unconventional, but there’s something about the passion they have – and have no trouble expressing in front of their staff– that feels entirely authentic. Moondog tightly gripping his son-in-law’s groin at his own wedding, officiated by his best friend and drug kingpin Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), is just one of the many things he does in public that don’t seem to faze him or those who have come to know him. 

McConaughey, who was born to play this role, is joined by an eclectic cast that includes Zac Efron as a hyperactive rehab patient, Jonah Hill as a lawyer with a Southern drawl, and Martin Lawrence as a less-than-professional dolphin-viewing boat tour operator. Jimmy Buffett even shows up! Describing this movie as trippy isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s definitely a trip. Spending too much time in the sun watching Moondog use the world as his own personal playground has the potential to mess with your head, but there’s something serene and oddly sentimental about the experience that manages to find its way out from inside the madness.

The Beach Bum opens in movie theaters on March 29th.

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Reader Comments (10)

I heard this film is fucking nuts. More reason to want to see this.

March 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Didn't we already get this film, like, 10 years ago, and wasn't it called Surfer Dude?

March 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

McConaughey’s Oscar was such a waste.

March 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter.

I saw the trailer for this thing ( I refuse to call anything no talent Korine makes a film) and thought it was really stupid

March 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Matthew McConaughey had a kinda 2011-2014 career renaissance and then....well, he just needs to fire his agent, I'm still recovering from the lame Serenity. He has DiCaprio Oscar for The Wolf of Wall Street and DiCaprio has Fassbender Oscar for Steve Jobs.

March 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEder Arcas

McConaughey should’ve won the Emmy for True Detective instead of the Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club. DiCaprio was deserving out of that weak field in 2015, so the Oscar could’ve gone to Chiwetel Ejiofor as well in 2013.

March 12, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter.

McConaughey’s Oscar has hurt his career if anything. Gave him too much hype he ultimately hasn’t lived up to. I’m not even saying he’s a bad actor or is bad in these movies, but his filmography is just a mess. Maybe it would be better if he had just been nominated.

March 12, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter.

I remember thinking McConaughey was pretty good in Dallas Buyers Club, but yeah the McConaissance came and went.

I loved Spring Breakers. I’m intrigued to watch this.

March 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGuest

I get that the McConaissance has not gone well. But remember when all he did was vapid romantic comedies and silly action movies? He's not the most versatile actor. But at least he's picking projects that, on paper considering the other people involved, could be good.

March 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

"McConaughey should’ve won the Emmy for True Detective instead of the Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club."

He would have won if "True Detective" had been submitted where it belonged - Best Limited Series. As it was, Benedict Cumberbatch came out of nowhere to win that Emmy over Mark Ruffalo and "Fargo" guys whereas Matthew run into one unbeatable person of the night - Bryan Cranston for the final episodes of "Breaking Bad".

March 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTheDrMistery

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