The Beach Bum

A stoner comedy higher than the rest

Matthew+McConaughey+and+Snoop+Dogg+in+a+scene+from+%22The+Beach+Bum%2C%22+a+star-studded+stoner+flick+written+and+directed+by+Harmony+Korine.+Image+Courtesy+of+IMDB.
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The Beach Bum

Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg in a scene from

Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg in a scene from "The Beach Bum," a star-studded stoner flick written and directed by Harmony Korine. Image Courtesy of IMDB.

Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg in a scene from "The Beach Bum," a star-studded stoner flick written and directed by Harmony Korine. Image Courtesy of IMDB.

Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg in a scene from "The Beach Bum," a star-studded stoner flick written and directed by Harmony Korine. Image Courtesy of IMDB.

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Harmony Korine has made a career for himself out of being America’s resident cinematic rule-breaker. Ever since his wildly controversial feature film screenwriting debut “Kids” rocked the way modern youth had been portrayed on screen in the U.S., Korine has gone for the kill in making a brand for himself in his own idiosyncratic, often uneasy view of the weirdos and outcasts in life. Korine broke into the mainstream in 2013 with his huge cult hit “Spring Breakers.” And now, after six years, he follows that up with his first comedy, the bold and gut-bustingly hilarious “The Beach Bum.”

“The Beach Bum” chronicles the bizarre and uproarious adventures of Moondog,played perfectly by Matthew McConaughey, a Miami-based poet who finds inspiration in the most debauched and outrageous life situations possible. After an unforeseen tragedy strikes his home, Moondog sets out on a quest to reconnect with his artistic roots and churn out another masterpiece. On this quest, Moondog meets an insane cast of characters, including Zac Efron as a fire-obsessed Christian rocker, Martin Lawrence as the world’s worst dolphin-tour captain and Jimmy Buffett. Think of a loose, modern-day stoner-based adaptation of Homer’s “Odyssey.”

If all of this sounds like your kind of thing, it definitely is. “The Beach Bum” is Korine’s first full foray into the realm of a mainstream comedy, but not once does he ever lose sight of his own perfect artistic sensibilities. Korine’s past works have always has some weird sense of humour but are always tinged with a harsh reality and dark cynicism. It is quite refreshing to see Korine shed that a bit and simply strive to make people happy and relaxed for once. Despite a few moments of stakes and tension, “The Beach Bum” remains one of the most profoundly carefree and liberating films I’ve ever seen.

McConaughey as Moondog, a rebellious stoner, in “The Beach Bum.” Image courtesy of IMDB.

From just the opening sequences, it becomes very apparent that everyone in this film is having the time of their lives. Some of Hollywood’s most respected actors get completely out of their comfort zone for some of the most audacious set pieces of pure cinematic buffoonery—but it’s buffoonery that advertently transcends itself. Everyone is in their highest prime and that’s exactly how Korine wants us to see them and to feel the energy that radiates off of the screen.

This isn’t a film that has any concern or regard for cinematic space or time. Our story jumps around from place to place and time to time with all sense of cohesion resting safely at the wayside. This will be understandably frustrating for some filmgoers, but if you go in with an open mind and prepare for a good time, the rewards will be huge. “The Beach Bum” is simultaneously the perfect stoner comedy, a love-letter to the many rampant weirdos of the Florida Keys and Korine’s own personal study of his unique creative process. For Korine fans, stoner comedy fans, debauched cinephiles and people who just all-around enjoy having fun; “The Beach Bum” is heaven personified on film.