Harmony Korine, the great poet of stoned Miami Beach debauchery who brought you Spring Breakers, is back with a star-studded cast led by Matthew McConaughey in the red band teaser for The Beach Bum.
McConaughey plays Moondog, “a rebellious rogue who always lives life by his own rules,” whom we find in the teaser high on various substances, getting into assorted states of undress, writing poetry and generally living his most degenerate life across Miami Beach. “I write poetry and I like to have fun, man,” as Moondog cleanly summarizes his life motto.
Joining McConaughey in the oddball cast are Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Buffett, Zac Efron sporting some ludicrous facial hair, Jonah Hill, Isla Fisher, Stefania LaVie Owen and Martin Lawrence.
The Beach Bum feels quite on-brand for such figures with well-established stoner personas as McConaughey, Snoop Dogg and Buffett, and particularly for McConaughey, who’s trademarked a certain brand of spaced-out philosophical musings with roles like Rust Cohle in True Detective, or himself in those infamous Lincoln ads. It’s also on-brand for Korine and his casting process, as in 2013, when he doubled down on James Franco’s weirdo reputation by casting him as a RiFF RAFF-inspired rapper and drug dealer named Alien in Spring Breakers.
High School Musical alum Efron, like former co-star Vanessa Hudgens before him in Spring Breakers, also joins the ranks of Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson in shedding the remains of his teen star past with a recent Korine project. It seems that the Disney kids-gone-bad narrative that drove so much of the conversation around Spring Breakers when it came out won’t be as much a factor this time around, although Efron’s makeover will certainly be something to behold for anyone who remembers him from those High School Musical days. Some critics felt that Korine’s treatment of Spring Breakers’ former teen stars rebelling against their “good girl” images fed into the male gaze, but hopefully his latest project finds itself on the right side of that divide.
The Beach Bum seems like a logical next step after Spring Breakers, which was seen at the time as Korine edging closer to the mainstream after grungier fare like Gummo and Trash Humpers. From what we can see, there’s not much moralizing, neither positive nor negative, about the reckless behavior onscreen, which has gotten Korine in trouble in the past. And even with all the flashy, neon-lit excess on the surface, at its heart, there’s still a certain seediness to the whole affair. If you’re onboard with what Korine has to offer, Neon will release The Beach Bum in theaters on March 22, 2019.