Tuesday, November 01, 2005

LONESOME JIM – Why oh why oh why oh why?

What is it with successful Hollywood actors and directors that they feel the need to go back to small towns and make deathly dull earnest movies of charming small town folk who look terrible, say nothing witty, do nothing of consequence and then die? We know life sucks. That is why we go to the movies. We want guns, fast cars, and hot chicks in Santa outfits. Enough with the white man’s version of keeping it real. Let’s keep it fake. That’s why God invested plastic.
You think I’m kidding? Lonesome Jim (Casey Affleck – and yes, he is related to Ben) is a 27 year old guy from Indiana who moved to New York and ended up walking dogs for a living. He comes home to have a nervous breakdown, is mean to his mum, ignores his dad (Seymour Cassel), depresses his elder brother so much he attempts suicide, improbably shags Liv Tyler (the chick who marries Aragorn in Lord of the Rings) and nearly messes that up too. Don’t get me wrong. All these people give great acting performances, but they have little to work with.

The movie is shot with a digital camera (the Panasonic AG-DVX100 for all you camera geeks) and the resulting print looks grainy and washed out. This is not (I think, I hope) a deliberately cultivated aesthetic. Some other random facts and assertions…..Apparently it cost $500,000 to make. I assume this is Taiwanese dollars not US dollars. LONESOME JIM was also nominated for the Grand Jury prize at Sundance back in January, but didn’t win. 40% of people who rated this on IMDB gave it ten out of ten. I am willing to bet that 100% of these people attended film school.

LONESOME JIM premiered at Sundance back in January 2005 but only goes on limited US release from 10th March 2006. There is currently no European release date, thank God. For once, I think the distributors have this down. Apart from some film geek gawpers who would turn up to see Buscemi sneeze, who is really going to shell out ten squid to see this?


  1. What has going to film school got to do with appreciating decent films? I havent been to film school, but would be perfectly willing to give it a ten out of ten. Not everyone wants explosion, drugs and guns every five minutes. Some of us would much rather intelligent, witty films such as this understated movie of broken dreams and hopeless depression. Granted, if what you are wanting is to simply escape from your own depression, maybe it isn't the film for you, but for someone wanting a beautifully nuanced piece about middle America, this is probably as good as they come. Whether you have been to film school or not.

  2. Hi Howesy, I am selfish - I want good films in every genre. I just found this a rather meandering, poorly photographed movie that tackled subjects like depression in a rather haphazard insensitive manner. To my mind, a movie like Junebug or Me, You and Everyone We Know or even Dead Man's Shoes (UK)better capture the nuances of everyday life not to mention Broken Flowers.