The Beach Bum

The Beach Bum ★★★½

The Beach Bum offers a fun ride for those whose dispositions enjoy absurdity drug enfused mayhem, but does it have anything deeper to offer as it seems to display? 

Or maybe that’s the point. Moondog, played by the flawless Matthew MacCanaughy, leans swims without care into hedonism relying heavily on a sort of optimistic nihilism. Nothing really matters except for the next buzz and you believe it for the 2 hours as Moondog guides you through with a blunt in one hand and the other pointed to the moon. He is indeed the Moondog, a canine forever chasing the good feelings without disregard. It’s a great display of what life could be in the total moment. His philosophy never wavers even in the lowest points during the adventure. And we can’t help but watch him burn it all. 

There is one tender and somber moment right before his wife passes but it’s undercut with the line “you are a fuck up” and it’s probably the most appropriate line considering Moondog’s track record, however, I kinda hoped for more of these sincere moments of sobriety. But I assume that was never in the cards for him. 

At the same time, the film appears to communicate that despite the hedonistic urges he felt, he still needed the lows to get high. As referenced by hisconversation to his wife at the beginning of the film, and he only gets on his almost fantastical adventure through her tragic death. Stability breeds nothing, while nihilistic chaos births inspiration.