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Quint sits in on THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD, starring John Malkovich and Colin Hanks! More Sundancing!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Today was a slow movie day for me because of me punking out of my 8:30am movie (which would have meant me getting about 3 hours of sleep vs. 5 ½ hours) and having to miss one movie for my Jack Black/Michel Gondry interview, so I’m hitting a grand total of 4 movies and my first movie of the day was incredibly boring, so I won’t be reviewing that. Hopefully TRANSSIBERIAN and THE MERRY GENTLEMEN don’t suck. I did see one really good movie so far today and it’s called THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD. It stars Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt and Big Daddy Hanks. Malkovich is always great, always dependable, but in this film he really shines, creating a cartoon of a man, the titular Buck Howard. He’s a mentalist (he says he hasn’t been a magician since he was 3 years old) whose heyday was the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (who in fact added the “Great” to his name) era. He’s eccentric and sometimes a dickhead, but Malkovich manages to bring a humanity to the role to keep him from being too over the top. He’s a cartoon, for sure. Everything is bigger than life with him, even his exaggerated body-tugging handshake, but Malkovich does somehow ground him. You follow Colin Hanks as he runs away from law school (much to the chagrin of his dad) in a fit of panic with the realization that he’s not following his dream, even though he has no idea what exactly his dream is. He can’t handle the life of tedium waiting for him after college, so he runs and immediately lands into the role of “Road Manager” for the Great Buck Howard. The film is light and entertaining. There is an emotional core to the film, but it’s not cynical or dark. I love me some dark comedy, but it’s also a good change of pace to watch a movie that just makes you smile, without the frowning and the tears part of it. Emily Blunt pops up (the second time I’ve seen her in a film at Sundance, the first being the “almost-pulled-it-off-but-not-quite” SUNSHINE CLEANING) as a publicist that doesn’t take Buck Howard’s shit. However, like the rest of the characters surrounding him, Blunt’s hard-ass character even succumbs to his cheesy charm.

For you David Mamet or magic fans, Ricky Jay pops up and you get a ton of other recognizable faces appearing as themselves… everybody from John Stewart to George Takei. And Jay Leno, which is great because one of the main messages of the movie is that Leno is in fact the Great Satan. Last word… the movie’s cute, it’s funny, there’s great character work and despite a noticeable lull in the middle there’s very little I have a problem with in the movie. This hasn’t been picked up yet, I don’t think, but it’ll get there. There’s too much talent in front of and behind the camera. Speaking of, Tom Hanks (he produces and has a bit part in the film) came out to introduce the cast before the film and he was on fire, cracking jokes left and right. I leaned over to Rav and said, “Is he getting ready for PUNCHLINE 2?” It seemed like he was in the mode and he was actually really funny… He had a little Don Rickles in him, criticizing the wardrobe of the director and cast as they came out, etc.

Star-fucker alert! Spotted Dennis Hopper and Glenn Close at the Eccles during this screening! And Lloyd from Entourage sat next to Kraken. Okay, alert over. Here are a couple more pics that Kraken took from the screening. Director Sean McGinly is first up and he’s followed by Colin Hanks... and I think he's trying to hypnotize you, so be careful.

More coverage to come! -Quint

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:33 a.m. CST

    LOST RETURNS!!!!!!!!

    by BrightEyes


  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:33 a.m. CST


    by BrightEyes

    ROCKED. plus Clovy will fight the smoke monster in the last season of LOST

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Was there a sale on black sweaters?

    by skywalkerfamily

    Everyone looks snazzy.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:34 a.m. CST

    I really like

    by Mezzanine

    Colin Hanks. Dunno why though... he just seems like a good dude,

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:25 a.m. CST

    clint howard!

    by ironic_name

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Howard The Buck

    by pencil-man

    When's that movie coming to DVD?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Colin"no charisma"Hanks

    by travis-dane

    Thats all.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Come on, at least give him JULIAN LENNON

    by BrandLoyalist

    What's worse, nepotism or pure whim? Ok, I guess nepotism is worse; whim applies evenly to everyone who shows up at a casting call. But either way there's an oversupply of talent out there & people can end up getting careers, or not, for pretty capricious reasons. I think you go too far with "talentless", ... this illustrates why we live in a world with no Nicolas Coppola.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Leno truly is The Great Satan- Excellent!!

    by BetaRayBill07

    About time someone put this on film for all to see.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Howard the Duck

    by Dazzler69

    Reminds me of that too.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:24 p.m. CST

    I think it's safe to say

    by 5 by 5

    that the internet really brings out the anger in people.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:04 p.m. CST


    by Garbage

    I've never heard of this "Quint" fellow. Who's with me?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:23 p.m. CST


    by LittleDudes

    Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see it!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:24 p.m. CST


    by LittleDudes

    Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see it!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Now they are showing Tom Hanks films at Sundance??

    by IndustryKiller!

    Gimme a break. And look I think this movie sounds like a lot of fun and I love Malkovich but for God sakes man I really don't think this movie is gonna have a ton of trouble getting a release with that kind of power behind it. It's just not in the spirit of the festival.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Never been a fan of Tommys son

    by GQtaste

    either. It must have been really difficult getting an agent for him. Going to auditions after auditions. Having to pound the pavement and working three jobs simply to get by. Bullshit!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by Prossor

    Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich,MALKOVICH, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich,Malkovich?, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich!?,Malkovich, Malkovich!!, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 5:24 p.m. CST

    You said the magic word....

    by Gunslinger1919

    Put Ricky Jay in anything and I'll see it....! -G

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:57 p.m. CST

    I suppose it's easy to hate offspring of famous parents

    by StevenScorsese

    born with a silver spoon and all that. (Tori Spelling springs to mind) But I thought Colin Hanks was okay in Orange County and a couple other things I've seen him in. I'll give him a chance.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Give it time

    by Sylvia Fowler

    I seem to remember when Tom Hanks seemingly had no talent or charisma in the very early 80's. Perhaps Colin is a bit of a late bloomer too?

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 12:53 a.m. CST

    The Merry Gentleman

    by TattooedBillionaire

    How was that one, Quint? As a Keaton fan, I'm interested in knowing how he did as a director.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Tom Hanks' Floating Head Sez WATCH THIS MOVIE!

    by Kubla_Khan

    I loved Malkovich in that jewel-thief movie.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 9:42 a.m. CST

    That guy looks like Tom Hanks!

    by TerryMalloy

    But with less talent.