Everyone talks about Matthew McConaughey's eccentricities outside of a tv or movie screen, and he's told some incredible tales about things, but I think The Beach Bum weirdly may capture what he wants to be and to a much lesser extent is. In the first five minutes, he is walking around the streets of Key West, finds a stray cat, and walks around with it while joining Jimmy Buffett and other musicians onstage. Sometimes he reads poetry he wrote, sometimes he's bongoing with a couple of half-naked women on a boat. Maybe that's what life is about, I don't know.
Anyway, the film is written and directed by Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers), and McConaughey plays a guy named Moondog who drinks, smokes weed and generally enjoys life. On occasion he meets with his wife Minnie (Isla Fisher, Wedding Crashers) or his friend Lingerie (Snoop Dogg). Other times he hangs out with Captain Wack (Martin Lawrence, Wild Hogs) or his friend/agent Lewis (Jonah Hill, Superbad), but generally he tries to do what he can, however he can.
That's probably about as much as I want to talk about the plot. It's not any state secret or anything, it's just…something that you should experience. It's a stoner movie of sorts, but it kind of revels more in the character that is perpetually stoned rather than whatever journey is in front of him. Sometimes it works and is funny, other times not so much. There are moments of Moondog's arc that do feel surreal in a stoner movie kind of way and they're good, but are fleeting.
It's hard to assess the cast's performance on a film like The Beach Bum or in most stoner movies because they're either going for things over the top and they miss (looking at Hill specifically), or they roll with it because that is maybe a thing or two away from how they are in real life (McConaughey). And Snoop Dogg is damn sure near a microphone with a letter showing his name at all times, sometimes talking about a friend's daughter's orgasm or not. Stick with me on this. Or don't, I'm not your Dad.
The Beach Bum is interesting enough for the exploration into ground that guys like Matthew McConaughey and Snoop (more McConaughey) get to explore in vehicles like this. It's not entertaining and isn't the best 4 or 5 stoner movies that I can remember seeing (Pineapple Express remains my personal best), but it's a fun romp through the life of a guy that could possibly be the guy he's playing. There's like a 41% chance that he is, let's face it.The Blu-ray:
The 2.39:1 Blu-ray of The Beach Bum gives us vivid colors at times (like in Moondog's Lamborghini) or just likes to show off the Florida sunsets and/or black of night with fireworks and fires going off to help show off the contrast. Film grain is present and abundant while the image lacks any oversaturation or noise issues (which it could have suffered from in the weed scene in the dark purple room) that would have made this look like trash. It held up well, thanks Universal.The Sound:
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is an easy accompaniment to the film. Dialogue is consistent and well-balanced and when it uses the Buffett or other music is sounds fine. The rumble of a car or boat engine gives the subwoofer a chance to engage, and directional effects and panning in things like crowd noise and other moments sound clear and convincing. The soundtrack is a grower not a shower, and it's nice to listen to within that context..Extras:
There are two trailers, including a red band one, and three TV spots. That's it, that's the list.Final Thoughts:
The Beach Bum features a convincing and almost good performance by Matthew McConaughey and some of the cast, but rather than make a good film about the life or perceptions of McConaughey, The Beach Bum seemed to go in with an idea of who he is, and not build much past that. If you're going to go for it, go all the way, and that's what this failed to do. It's worth checking out, but it's not that memorable.