Lonesome Jim (2006)
Critic Consensus: Though Lonesome Jim is leavened by sweet, understated humor, it's hard to root for such a morose, self-defeating protagonist.
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Critic Reviews for Lonesome Jim
Though this clash of picket-fenced, down-home values and big city oafishness was handled with a little more delicacy in 2005's superb 'Junebug', Buscemi's film has lots to say about this fruitful dynamic.
Affleck plays this as a one-note turn, all dour. What a life-force like Anika would see in him is a mystery.
The problem is that a little of this minimalist kitchen-sink farce goes a very long way, and after a while Lonesome Jim starts to dry up.
Audience Reviews for Lonesome Jim
This is Steve Buscemi's third outing as a feature director (and first where he doesn't direct himself). What we have is a wry, deadpan dramedy (emphasis on drama, since most of the humor is bone dry and deadpan) about Jom- a perpetually glum 27 year-old aspiring writer who, after failing to make it in New York, returns to live with his parents in their small Indiana town in order to try to get his life back together.
He's got all sorts of things to deal with. His dad is a chronic sour puss, his mom is amazingly cheerful, and his older brother Tim (a divorced father of two whose business ventures have failed) also lives with their parents, who own a lumber and ladder factory where Jim's Uncle Stacy, aka Evil, uses it as a front for drug dealing.
After his brother unsuccessfully attempt suicide, Jim finds himself forced to take his brother's place, which means working for their parents and coaching a girl's basketball team that hasn't even scored one basket in the past 14 games. Things are looking even less hopeful, but that starts to change when Jim begins a tentative romance with a kind nurse and single mother named Anika who seems determined to help get him out of his funk.
It really doesn't surprise me that Buscemi would helm a slice of life indie about a depressed sad sack. I mean, he did it once before, and that movie (Trees Lounge) is one of my all-time favorites. This second foray into that territory, but doesn't have quite the same impact as the earlier one. For one, it's not as funny, or at least not as overtly funny. Well, aside from Mark Boone Junior as Evil, that is. This one is good, but it's less optimistic, though still just as realistic.
It definitely scores points for being wonderfully low-key and very nuanced, that's for sure. I liked it, but I think that the material just isn't as strong. It does have some really good performances, however.
All in all, a decent movie, but probably Buscemi's weakest as a director (so far). Even then, it's still not too bad, so give it a watch.
I had low expectations on this one, so I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. Similar in tone to Buffalo 66, this deals with people who don't quite fit in, and while the plot is small, it has a lasting impact. Liked it a lot.
Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, Mary Kay Place, Jake La Botz, Kevin Corrigan
DIRECTED BY: Steve Buscemi
Jim begrudgingly returns to his hometown in rural Indiana after failing to make it on his own in New York. He soon remembers why he left: a doting but overbearing mother, a distant father, and a depressed older brother whose "accidents" seem suspect at best. Jim is soon forced to take on his brother's duties -- working at his parent's factory and helping out with his two rambunctious nieces. Crippled by obligations and anxieties, Jim trudges on though every day monotones and the family's collapse after mom is mistakenly taken for a suburban drug smuggler. Almost miraculously, hope springs from his developing relationship with a local nurse and her young son, and Jim slowly learns to move forward without leaving anyone behind.
This movie tells a real story of depression and the struggles it brings along with it. Casey Affleck's character Jim is a really sad character. You can just feel the weight of despair coming from him. Casey gives a great performance as Jim. Liv Tyler's character Anika was like Jim's happy pill. She is what he needs to bring him back alive out of his 'chronic despair'. It was a good movie. Not for most. But after seeing Casey in Gone Baby Gone, I wanted to see him in other roles and that's when I came across this one. I think he has amazing acting skills. Plus I LOVE indie films. They in my opinion, are the most interesting and honest movies made.
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