The Beach Bum

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Kristin Smith

Movie Review

Florida is where it’s at. At least it is for Moondog.

A former influential writer, Moondog spends his current days lounging on his boat, sleeping with random women, drinking himself into oblivion and ingesting whatever drugs he can get his hands on.

When he feels like it, he takes his boat over to Miami to visit his insanely wealthy wife, Minnie, his drug dealing friends and his soon-to-be married daughter. Life is all about living in the moment, he believes.

Until, of course, your moment is gone.

One night, Moondog’s wife dies. And, unbeknownst to him, she had a will: A very detailed will. Now, if Moondog hopes to inherit his wife’s wealth, he must set aside his wanton ways and pour his heart and soul back into actually writing again…if he can remember how.

Positive Elements

Moondog chooses to go to rehab (instead of prison for a charge of vandalism). He is tasked with getting clean and improving his life. For a few moments it seems as if he’ll abide by his court-mandated sentence, but…

Spiritual Elements

At a rehabilitation facility, Moondog meets the son of a pastor named Flicker. Flicker listens to Christian rock and tells Moondog that people are able to sin as much as they want because “Christ already paid for our sins.” Both men use this advice to justify their abhorrent behavior.

During a funeral, a priest prays for God to “commend” the soul of the deceased. A man talks about the necessity of drugs to access “the afterlife” and references the parting of the Red Sea. A drug addict offers to read his erotic poetry at a church. We hear that a woman learns of her early death from a Tarot card reading. During an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, participants ask God for serenity.

Sexual Content

This movie revolves around both drugs and sex, and the sex here is promiscuous, graphic and crude—and graphic sexual language and actions are praised and glorified.

Women are topless in so many scenes that I lost count. Complete frontal nudity is avoided, but you see everything else. Moondog (and many other men) lay with topless women and women in thong bikinis. In one scene, Moondog urinates outside and his penis is shown. Men also go shirtless and are seen in their underwear.

Moondog, although married, has graphic sex with multiple women (it’s obvious that both he and his wife have had countless extramarital affairs). They kiss, grope, gyrate and make lots of sexually-charged sounds, and see we long glimpse of the woman’s rear. Moondog performs oral sex on his wife multiple times in public. (The act itself is shielded from the camera, but it’s obvious what’s happening.) Similarly, Moondog’s wife kisses another man multiple times.

Moondog’s friend describes, in graphic detail, all the times he had sex with Moondog’s wife. However, he tries to reassure Moondog that she didn’t love him.

Moondog and his friend hire prostitutes, one of whom is transgendered. Two women grope one another and dance closely. (Two men also grope one another). We hear people talk about masturbation, arousal, inbreeding, private parts, the sexual habits of dolphins and group, oral and gay sex.

Moondog is famous for his erotic, graphic, crude poetry, of which he reads excerpts. Toward the end of the film, Moondog begins to wear women’s clothing (dresses, tops, etc). Moondog and his friends refer to his daughter’s husband as “limp d–k” multiple times.

Violent Content

An unofficial tour guide brags, “I only have four deaths on my watch.” At one point he jumps into the water toward “dolphins,” but soon finds he’s swimming with sharks. His leg is torn off and his bloodied body is rushed to the hospital (blood gushes from his dismembered leg and he holds his own detached foot).

A man and his wife get into a car crash. Both are injured (we see a little blood) and, eventually, the wife dies at the hospital. An elderly man is hit over the head with a glass bottle. A large group of men vandalize a home. A man reads (and quotes) a few violent poems. Body guards carry guns and someone accidentally shoots off a weapon (no one is injured). A man lights his money, and boat, on fire in the middle of the ocean.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is misused six times, often paired with “d–n” and “d–mit.” The f-word is used more than 100 times and the s-word nearly 30 times. Other profanity includes multiple uses of “d–n,” “b–ch,” “a–hole, “a–,” “p-ss,” “p-ssy” and “d–k.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

Consuming drugs and alcohol is a primary focus of this film. In fact, Moondog (as well as many others) are drunk and high throughout most it.

Moondog is both a drug addict and an alcoholic. When he’s broke, he begs his friends and those around him for the necessary supplies to “stay happy.” One friend and drug dealer, Lingerie, supplies Moondog with exotic marijuana. In one scene, Moondog is given so many drugs that he’s forced to push them around town in a wheelbarrow.

Men and women alike drink hard liquor, beer, champagne, wine and cocktails; they also smoke cigarettes, cigars and marijuana, snort cocaine and use LSD. Men and women take hits from a bong, and many talk about drug use and hallucinogens. A woman jokes that a man was given hard liquor as a baby. Men and women drive while high and drunk. A parrot is given heavy drugs.

Other Negative Elements

Moondog and Minnie are terrible parents. They encourage their 22-year-old daughter to be promiscuous, tell her intimate details about their own sex lives and affairs, and do drugs with her. Eventually their daughter gets married (for a short while) to a man her family despises (they verbally shame and degrade her husband).

Moondog’s friend says that he enjoys being rich because he has the power to treat people poorly. Two middle-aged men rob an elderly man. A man believes that all banks are a part of the illuminati and another says he likes to “light things on fire.”

Conclusion

Toward the end of the film, Moondog gives a reason for his reckless life and careless behavior: “I like to have fun.”

And that, that my dear readers, is the crux of the entire movie. Every second, every moment and every scene of this film oozes hedonism. Drugs are heavily consumed. Alcohol is chugged by the bottle and sex is everywhere, all the time. The covenant of marriage means absolutely nothing and every person is praised for following their carnal impulses.

I kept waiting for the film to turn a corner and find its purpose. But as each minute passed it was clear that there wasn’t going to be any real point, any substance or any line of visible morality. Out of all the movies I’ve reviewed, this one is at the top of the cautionary charts.

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Kristen Smith
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, loving raising their little guy, Judah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).