This dizzying, funny, and moving combination of a love for the creative process, and love for the bodies around them, suggest that Korine has finally found in his films the Heaven that his characters have always chased.
Puzzling why anyone would make a film that deliberately ensures that no one would sympathize with the main character at all (I'm not going to dismiss the brutal attack of a disabled person for drinking money as "free-spirited"), making the remaining 75 minutes a struggle to sit through, as this person is celebrated for their hedonism. I came for the cinematography of Benoit Debie. See it in a theater or not at all.
"The Beach Bum" is an experience that ever-so-beautifully compliments its lead character. Matthew McConaughey sinks into the role of a free-spirit, unbound by accountability and socialization, living unchained in a chaotic world. Harmony Korine enlists in an ensemble that fully embraces this, and from Snoop Dogg to Jimmy Buffett, we get a delightful bunch of loons. So lucid, so beautiful, and so elusive all the more.
If there were any doubts that Matthew McConaughey was born to play a free-wheeling, thrill-seeker, drug-fueled Floridian named Moondog, those doubts are crushed in the first ten minutes of Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum. The remaining ninety are not much different. Even when the narrative takes a dark turn, or the stakes are raised, there’s a thick layer of c’est la vie coating the sun drenched Keys. (cont'd below)
This is a beautiful display of cosmic debauchery and chill times, all the while dealing with the shittiness of life with a stoned grin and a peaceful state of mind. McConaughey is nothing short of brilliant in this film and sometimes feels like this is what he would be like if he was a poet. The supporting cast is brilliant as well as this stoned hero navigates through this assortment of quirky stoned characters.
M. McConaughey and H. Korine both come on w/ a swagger you might call Chaplinesque, and surely a beach bum ain't far off from a tramp. One might also invoke Captain Beefheart's "Dropout Boogie" and 92 IN THE SHADE. The hilarity of THE BEACH BUM is already there in the resources at Korine's disposal, and all the excesses we can conceive--we celebrate them even when we repudiate them--relate to conspicuous consumption.