Verdict: Matthew McConaughey lives it up as a poetic genius.
Harmony Korine‘s work has never been for everyone. He explores the ugly side of being human and doesn’t shy away from it. His last film Spring Breakers showed the descent of four college girls into a world of drugs and crime. The Beach Bum, on the other hand, is soaked in a neon-filled drug-fueled haze from the beginning to the end.
What’s The Beach Bum About:
Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is a poet who spends his days coming up with verses for his new book, partying, smoking pot, and sleeping with random women. He is called back to Miami by his wife Minnie (Isla Fisher), for their daughter’s (Stefania LaVie Owen) wedding. After a tragedy, his wealth is taken away until he finishes his book. Not one to be kept down, he continues his adventures involving a wide variety of characters – his agent Lewis (Jonah Hill), his long-time friend Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), a rehab patient known as Flicker (Zac Efron), a dolphin tour guide named Captain Wack (Martin Lawrence), and Jimmy Buffett.
The Beach Bum balances beauty and vulgarity. The cinematography is stunning, making the morally dubious actions of the characters look good. The pink and purple hues that light up most of the film are great stylistic choices that set the Florida of the film apart from reality.
The film focuses on Moondog and his hedonistic lifestyle in all its glory and unpleasantness. McConaughey revels in his performance as Moondog and even when things go bad for the character, it’s always smooth sailing for him. At one point in the film, he even states that he believes that the universe is conspiring to keep him happy. Everyone else might simply be a supporting character to the larger-than-life Moondog but they are played by wonderful actors who also give excellent, if overshadowed, performances.
What Could’ve Been Better:
There’s little in terms of a plot in The Beach Bum – rather than making things happen, Moondog is fine with letting things happen to him. Although the character doesn’t evolve, he’s interesting enough to keep your attention by simply reacting to the random situations that he finds himself in.
Why You Should Watch:
If you have enjoyed seeing Matthew McConaughey in his eccentric roles like the ones in The Wolf of Wall Street where he’s beating his chest and chanting in the middle of a crowded restaurant or Magic Mike where he’s gyrating in front of full-length mirrors, you’ll love The Beach Bum. It’s a character study that lets McConaughey be that person for ninety minutes straight.