The Beach Bum

Rated Greg’s Top 5 Florida Movies

  1. Bad Boys
  2. Miami Vice
  3. The Beach Bum
  4. Ace Ventura
  5. Moonlight

I’m fairly certain that no lead actor ever had more fun filming a movie than Matthew McConaughey did during the shoot of Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum.  Playing a fictional poet/wild man named Moondog, all McConaughey does throughout this comedy is gallivant back and forth between Miami and Key West while drinking PBR, having sex, doing drugs, and otherwise paling around with the great hangs of Snoop Dogg, Jonah Hill, Isla Fisher, Zac Efron, and Martin Lawrence.  That’s the movie. There’s no real conflict, no personal growth, and no lesson other than life’s too short to sweat the bullshit.  I loved every second of it.  L-I-V-I-N. 

It’s a good message.  It’s not a remotely realistic message, but I appreciate the sentiment.   Most people can’t do literally WHATEVER they want WHENEVER they want without a care in the world.  But Moondog can and I’m happy for him.  He’s basically the human version of a golden retriever that never got fixed.  Still not sold?  Watch the trailer below.  I mean, doesn’t that look like a good time! 

Apparently Gary Oldman was Korine’s first choice to play Moondog, but this is perfect casting with McConaughey, a man who was once arrested for playing the bongos naked in real life.  Same goes for the rest of the co-stars, all one upping each other in outlandishness every ten minutes or so, especially Martin back after an 8 year big screen sabbatical.  If Big Mamma’s House 3 is Tiger Woods’ DUI, this cameo is his Masters victory.

They don’t happen often, but I tend to be really drawn to movies where the majority of the runtime is just people having fun without much plot.  It’s a nice break from the Chicken Little stratosphere constantly glowing from our phones.  My favorite film of 2016 was Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some, which circles the low stakes of a party heavy weekend at a college baseball house.  While these are stylishly two VERY different films, they left me with the same laid back chuckles.  I actually have a hard time even calling The Beach Bum an actual film given the lack of cohesiveness, it’s more just a collection of really funny encounters between Moondog and the people of South Florida.  But it’s my favorite THING thus far that I’ve seen this year (well….that or Jordan Peele’s Us). 

Before I go, I should warn you that Korine’s movies apparently aren’t for everyone (just look at the Rotten Tomato scores).   The first half of 2013’s Spring Breakers is really hard to get through and I know multiple people that turned it off during the first act, but if you stuck around until Gucci Mane shows up you realize how special that film is, not to mention the incredible Britney Spears homage toward the end.  Luckily The Beach Bum doesn’t have that problem. It gets going right from the jump.  Moondog’s escapades might not move you to any meaningful emotions whatsoever, but goddammit you will be entertained.   Oh yes, you will be entertained. 

Grade: A

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