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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Movie Review: ‘Jim’ is really fucking depressed

    Steve Buscemi makes his directorial debut (for film) with his new movie, Lonesome Jim, which stars Casey Affleck, the hotter and perhaps more talented of the two brothers.
    Steve Buscemi makes his directorial debut (for film) with his new movie, ‘Lonesome Jim,’ which stars Casey Affleck, the hotter and perhaps more talented of the two brothers.

    Steve Buscemi’s on-screen talents cannot be questioned. Every performance – minus those in Adam Sandler movies – is note-perfect with depth and uniqueness.

    Buscemi gives all of his characters a certain edge, making them plenty dark but highly lovable. By the end of Buscemi’s directorial debut, we feel the same way about the characters he’s coaching from behind the camera. The sluggish first half of “”Lonesome Jim”” is the difficult journey.

    At the start of the film, Jim (Casey Affleck) arrives at his parents’ doorstep in rural Indiana. A struggling writer who has been walking dogs for money in New York, Jim is out of cash and out of happiness.

    Joining him at home are his mother, father, divorced brother and two nieces. His brother seems to be in an even further state of emergency and attempts suicide early in the film.

    With his brother in a coma, Jim is asked to help out the family business. There we meet his uncle Evil, who sells and does drugs, but in a funny, harmless way.

    He also starts coaching the girls’ basketball team that his nieces are on. They haven’t made a basket all season, and Jim doesn’t help matters by zoning out on the bench and merely telling them to “”practice.””

    A nurse at the local hospital, Anika (Liv Tyler), becomes his quasi-love interest. Her son Ben is the typical child character who speaks his mind and handles himself like an adult.

    Most of the film finds Jim lying around or moving slowly from place to place. He gives no effort to any aspect of his life as the audience waits for something to change. It takes a while. When his mother is arrested on charges of selling drugs through the family business, something finally changes and the movie becomes more focused.

    The mother (Mary Kay Place), a hopeless doormat but cheery and good-natured, becomes the character we can identify with. The relationship between Jim and his mother is the film’s saving grace. We want Jim to get better if only to make Mom happy.

    While the plot comparisons to “”Garden State”” are unavoidable, this is a very different film in style and substance. Shot in grainy digital video, the film is a testament to devoted, low-budget filmmaking.

    Lowdown

    “”Lonesome Jim

    R
    91 min.
    IFC Films

    6/10

    Also, Jim is disturbingly depressed, while Zach Braff only seemed to be suffering from an overload of sarcasm.

    Affleck does a credible job as Jim, moping around and acting despondent. Tyler is without emotion as Anika, and not in a good way. She is completely boring onscreen and seems incapable of causing any change in other characters or the narrative.

    For all its faults, the movie still works, helped by its simplicity of plot and style.

    Coming home again is a short pit stop in Jim’s life, but one that becomes highly meaningful. Perhaps those graduating in a couple weeks could pick up some tips for when they are forced to move back home.

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