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Monday, March 23, 2009

The Great Buck Howard - A movie that will make you smile

This past Saturday I truly saw my zodiac sign , Libra's indecisive nature kick in. I didn't know which film I should see, being that their are many that have been released the past few weeks. After going through the listings and reading reviews, I finally came upon a movie I should see: The Great Buck Howard. What drew me to wanting to see this film was the story; the story of a young man who was not fulfilled with his career, so he decides to try a new path. Also, another element that drew me in to wanting to spend a few dollars was that John Malkovich was going to star . He brings an intense, yet realistic portrayal to his roles. Malkovich was not quite as intense in this film, but he played well opposite Colin Hanks, who was the calm to Malkovich's sometimes outspoken character. The Great Buck Howard, this movie charms you due to its down to earth tone, humor, and emotional depth.

Colin Hanks in this film, stars as Troy Gabel, a young man who goes through law school, but finds himself unhappy with his career choice. Troy does not feel fulfilled with what he is doing. Hanks, narrating during the movie, brings an honest voice to his character. You can feel this when he begins to list the excuses he will tell his dad ( played by real life father actor Tom Hanks) about why he decided to drop out of school. Hanks gives his character a quiet, unassuming touch. One can feel this quality as his character Troy begins to look for jobs after dropping out of school, and eventually lands an interview with The Great Buck Howard, an illusionist who is attempting an comeback to the entertainment scene. Hanks also shows through his calm stage presence how the character Troy almost always can settle down his boss, The Great Buck Howard. Buck Howard can be shrewd, antsy, and a bit naiive; he comes from another place in time...

John Malkovich, starring as The Great Buck Howard, truly becomes a man from another time period. Buck Howard was a star during the Tonight Show era of Johnny Carson. It is as if Buck has not left that time period. One can see this through Buck's clothes, high show biz nature. When Buck is first introduced to Troy during their interview, I expected him to be arrogant and unfriendly due to the background that his top manager gave Troy before he came. However, there is a warm nature to Buck which Malkovich shows. He doesn't scare the young Troy away, but rather is eager to get his career going and will work with anyone who can aid in the endeavor. Malkovich , while many at first see his character Buck as a sweet older man, suddenly shows the fiery side of his character when he goes on the road. Buck is a man who has to have everything his way, no mistakes accepted at all. Malkovich portrays this character trait well, showing how small things such as stage setup, press interviews not going well irritate this great
star of the past, Buck Howard, to no end.

While Malkovich and Hanks played well off of each others character, another standout performance in this movie came from actor Steve Zahn. Zahn plays one of Buck's hosts in Oregon, who is assigned to help him around the town. Zahn and his fellow hostess, played well by actress Wendy Worthington, are so excited that Buck is there and are truly big fans of his. After the duo make an error in judgment with one of Buck's shows( Worthington's character decides to sing a tribute song to Buck before he goes on stage, much to Buck's chagrin) they get kicked off the tour. Zahn's character really is upset about the decision. He tells Troy how his friend only wanted to sing a nice song for Buck, and how much Buck, just getting his autographed picture, means to him. This is the scene in the movie where Steve Zahn shines. You can feel the emotion in his characters voice, persona, and the dedication he represents of a fan who has been moved in his life by this one man, Buck Howard. I felt like crying right with Zahn's character during this scene; you can't help but be touched.

Overall, The Great Buck Howard is a good movie. Other standout performances include Tom Hanks, as Troy's dad. He showed the stern, hardcore nature of a father who does not understand his sons choice. It was great to see Tom Hanks on screen with his real life son, Colin. I felt like two different generations were working together( also its crazy how much Colin favors his dad in looks!!) Emily Blunt, as the character Valerie, was not very strong. She has a striking onscreen presence, however in her role as an aggressive Publicity Assistant, I didn't see much depth in her performance. Also, Colin Hanks, I wanted to see more depth from his performance as well. The character Troy seemed too calm at times. I wanted to see Troys young side, the one that I know would have rebelled a little to Buck Howard's sometimes overdrive personality.

To conclude, I will say go see The Great Buck Howard!!! it will leave you with smiles on your face, particulary the middle of the movie towards the end ( events happen that I won't give away!)

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