Directed by Steve Buscemi.
Written by James C. Strouse.
Starring Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, Mary Kay Place and Mark Boone
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 4/4/06
I sent myself downtown this evening to catch
the latest flick from actor/director Steve Buscemi, "Lonesome Jim",
mostly because it was free. And, for the low, low price of
zero dollars and zero cents, this movie was a nice break from the
Casey Affleck plays Jim, a living zombie
that has moved back from Manhattan to his parents' house in Indiana
because he's out of cash and out of hope that he will make something
of his life at the ripe ol' age of 27. Jim, whose brother Tim
(Kevin Corrigan) is even more of a lowlife than Jim has turned out
to be, spends his time bouncing between activities like napping,
sitting on one of his parents' recliners or driving to one of the
three local bars named Riki. In other words, his life has come
to be a big bowl of shit and he knows it...so what's he going to do
to make something of himself? After telling Tim what a useless
bum he is--and watching Tim take Jim's advice in attempting to kill
himself--Jim starts work for his father's company, gets a ton of
advice from his mom (Mary Kay Place) and hangs out with his uncle
Stacy, aka "Evil" (Mark Boone Jr.), a man who has a strange penchant
for hookers, weed and crack. And, Jim somehow meets a
beautiful nurse (Liv Tyler) that is actually interested in hangin'
out with his sorry ass...in part, because of Jim's connection to the
nurse's 8-year-old son Ben (Jack Rovello).
"Lonesome Jim" gets the majority of its
laughs, as well as its overall tone, from the monotone, sleepy-eyed
performance of Affleck, and for some reason this works since the
film has enough oddballs in the Evil and Tim characters, as well as
the decision to have Mom be the most upbeat mother ever. The
balance of the characters is strong, and much like Buscemi's best
performances in "Fargo", "Con Air",
and "The Big Lebowski", the consistently whacked-out nature of the
jokes combined with some perfect comic pauses and timing makes for
some good times.
The cinematography and the grainy look of
the film (I'm guessing digital cameras, no refining of the final
print) actually adds a layer to the lowly situation that Jim has
found himself in; even in terms of making his bland outfits look
boring, the blurred vision of the camera makes us feel even more
sorry for this guy...when he's not hosing his mom by asking to
borrow the family minivan while neglecting a free ride for Mom to
get to the grocery store. The soundtrack is sparse but it
still works well for the quick running time.
I was bored at times, and in a couple of
instances the character of Jim is just that way; I also found myself
constantly wondering what the fuck a woman of the nurse's caliber is
doing with such a lowbrow, but I'm just one man, you know? I
also hated the ending. But, for the most part, "Lonesome Jim"
was entertaining and worth the time; it's a lot funnier than you
think it's going to be. This one might be better left for
video, since it's only going to show out briefly in theaters this
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard