theadampetrey’s review published on Letterboxd :
After seeing this three times I finally feel like I can somewhat convey my feelings about this film.
THE BEACH BUM is a big step in the evolution of Harmony Korine as a filmmaker. As he gets older and seems to have more control over his creativity. (possibly due to more tame drug usage) He gives audiences his most accessible film while not giving up the anarchistic nature of his earlier films.
The environments in his films are always incredible but I’ve really enjoyed his shift of focus from the disgusting elements of rural Tennessee to the coastal swing state chaos of Florida.
A clusterfuck of Americana bathed in the mythos of beach culture. Moondog personifies the human condition in this film. Filling his days with sex, drugs, & excess in every meaning of the word.
The comedy is rooted in tragedy. Despite his zen exterior all the vices & antics in the film seem to distract Moondog from feeling anything real. Leaving him to only experience his pain through the creation of his poetry.
When this Jimmy Buffett lifestyle is stripped away what’s left is a person distracting themselves from the existential realities of death & love.
I was drawn in by the multi-location dialogue scenes and the flawless ways he is able to transition between scenes in a lackadaisical yet calculated way.
Upon my first viewing of the film I began crying as “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison begins to fade in in only to be consumed by laughter moments later watching the explosive conclusion of the film.
You can easily pass this film off as a prototypical stoner comedy or view it through a more analytical lens opening yourself up to the film’s pessimistic satire of capitalism & American culture as a whole where Korine highlights the biggest issues & problems faced currently by humanity.
Regardless, this film is fucking hilarious, has a pitch perfect cast, & has made me laugh more than maybe any movie has. It also makes drugs, alcohol, & polygamy look super appealing but I can’t help but think this was done intentionally almost tempting the audience & forcing them into the world of Moondog.
It’s hard not to be lured in by his loose lifestyle despite his debaucherous ways but I really hope that the emotional undercurrent of this film doesn’t go unnoticed because I do believe the wino has something to say.
“I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that's where I belong
Yet I'm running to her like a river's song”