Essay, Film Review

Review: Beach Bum (2019) GRADE: B+

Beach Bum (2019)
Grade: B+

Beach Bum is a ride. There is a lot that aligns it with other great works about writers, the first season of Californication, anything by Bukowski. But there are other moments that are out of touch. Or maybe it’s that I hope they aren’t true because my life has taken such a different path. The role seems as if it were written for Matthew Mcconaughey who performs as expected.

When a black metal album is good and gets and A+ from me, or some hip hop album gets the Chris Sarda accolades I know for sure it’s not going to be an A+ for someone like my father, or my boss or my grandmother. To some any extent what we like is what we like and any review that acts like it’s the “objective” viewpoint is a lie from the first sentence.

I’m objective in the sense that I know it’s impossible. I try to have empathy. Empathy is word cited for things like dogs dying and feelings, but it also fits in the context of films reviews. Whenever it fits I always add a “you won’t like it” section. Cause fuck it, I know my grandmother, the dead one and alive one, would have thought Captain Marvel was a pure shit show.

So as an asshole that wishes he was paid more and better and more often for his writing, these stories about writers are made for me. Therefore I’m always going to have a soft spot for Beach Bum and Californication and that asshole Charles Bukowski, whether some dude that has an academy award vote likes it or not.

This stuff is for me.

If I had to bet, and god knows I can bet, I’m sitting in a sports book right now writing this review, I would have bet Beach Bum would have the 50% or so it has on rotten tomatoes.

No surprise.

All those fuckers that watched Beach Bum probably think the last Mumford and Sons was genius and would say this Triumvir Foul album I recently tweeted positive vibes towards is terrible (I mean it is an absolute shit show but it’s also ugly death metal).

Wait one second, I have to switch from Perturbator radio to Triumvir Foul radio.


Being a poor-jerk-non-paid-writer who does reviews online for free is the kind of person Beach Bum is made for. The only reason it is not in the A+ range is that there was no consequence to Moon Dog’s actions.

It was all hedonism.

The choice of it being all hedonism is also why it reached B+ status. If it tried to please both sides of the aisle it would have been an absolute failure, even to a guy that looks up and down to Beach Bum Bukowski type figures. But hedonism teaches you some things. While it’s true I can’t just quit my day job and hope my daughter doesn’t marry some limp dick (for one I don’t have a daughter) something I can learn from ol’ Moon Dog is that I have to eat out my wife more often.

I have some rice and veggies here and a beer, and I have the company’s computer I’m writing this review on and I vow to go eat out my wife when I’m finished creating and consuming those three things.

Moon Dog taught me this was important.

That doesn’t mean I have to smoke hallucinogenic weed and wear women’s clothes.


I am proud of you if you came for a movie review and got this far. I’m four beers in and I’m about to get started. Beach Bum is the kind of movie that’s made with Matthew Mcconaughey in mind. So it’s hard not to give him an A+ but he never needed to stretch himself.

The stand out performances were by characters that had supporting to side roles.

Snoop Dog played an incredible role as a hedonistic R&B star that never had to face consequences. And Martin Lawrence’s role as Captain Wack was the only time through the whole movie that I had an audible laugh.

Captain Wach DID have to face consequences.

And if the film doesn’t get the full A, it’s because Beach Bum is set around a ton of wacky characters but none of them were ever human. Even when they were down they rose up through the power of luck and stupidity.

At one point in the film they assaulted an old man tourist and Moon Dog didn’t leave money for him when his friend, primary the instigator of the crime, tried to leave him a few dollars for when he woke up. That’s dark.

Fuck it, I’m looking at it too closely, I’m listening to music about pissing on the godhead. There’s something about fucking up other people’s lives without real consequence, directly like the old tourist and indirectly like his daughter and wife, that keeps Moon Dog from hero status.

I’m a wisher who wishes he can drink all day and write books. For that kind of life talent is an issue but so are day to day responsibilities.

Some of this would be okay if Moon Dog was a tragic hero. But when you finally watch the film in totality, that interpretation of Moon Dog is a stretch. Is that a failure on the part of director Harmony Korine or is it just another example of this whole life shit isn’t fair at all so don’t expect it to be? And if you can recognize that you’ll be happier?

Flawed artistic geniuses are my love. They are the archetypes I’m both happy and disappointed I’m not. This is my kind of film, even if parts of it are more fantasy than Lord of the Rings.

It is an easy B+.

FILE UNDER Films directed by Harmony Korine

FILE UNDER Films about writers