Home > 2009 Movie Reviews > The Great Buck Howard Review

The Great Buck Howard Review

The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard is an entertaining film and an interesting story well worth watching. I enjoyed it very much.

My rating 4.5 Stars

Have you ever heard of The Amazing Kreskin? If you have then you will have a better understanding on the movie The Great Buck Howard which is loosely based on Kreskin’s persona. The script was written by Sean McGinly who was a road manager for Kreskin in real life. However, whether the story has any basis on reality is anyone’s guess. If you ask me, I really hope that it wasn’t, because if it was, this Kreskin fellow sounds like a real “charmer” to work for.

The Great Buck Howard is about the story of a has-been mentalist of the same name, played by John Malkovich. Apparently he had been very popular during the late 70’s and was featured on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson dozens of times, however, he never once was asked to do the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, something he resented immensely.

Buck thought of himself as…Great and he expected to be treated as such. He blamed totally unexpected incidents on his road manager and his publicist and made both take responsibilities for them. In one scene, he had his publicist arrange for the media to be present for his latest act. Buck had planned to put hundreds of people to sleep all at once. Buck thought that putting hundreds of people to sleep all at once would kick start his career. Thus it was incredibly important for the media to be there to witness the event. However, just as people started to fall asleep, a local celebrity was involved in a car accident therefore every single reporter that was covering Buck’s act packed up their gear and left to cover the accident which they deemed more important than some “magic trick”. Buck was furious; no one saw his act! He performed a once in a lifetime performance and no one saw it. It’s quite funny if you think about it, but Buck didn’t think so. Instead he scorned his publicist and blamed her for it as if she had any foresight that a local celebrity would suffer a car accident.

The movie is told from the point of view of Tory Gable played by none other than Tom Hanks’ son, Colin Hanks. (Tom Hanks himself had a small part in the movie playing the tough role of Tory’s father.  That must’ve been some stretch for him to play his own son’s father!) Tory, against his father’s wishes, dropped out of college to pursue a career in the entertainment business; he wanted to be a writer. However, since writing doesn’t pay very well, he had to take a temporary job. Tory ended up taking a job the road manager for the Great Buck Howard.

Buck Howard is a very interesting character, all right! He was full of himself, mean and rude and didn’t care about anyone but himself, but he loved what he did and he was good at it and the few fans he had loved him. Buck had only one act that he had been doing for years and it was practically unchanged. There was one trick in particular that he was very famous for, the one he always left for last. He would take his fee that was paid to him for that night and give it to an audience member. He would then instruct the person to wait for him to be off the stage then hide the money somewhere in the auditorium. He would then come out and try to find the money. If he didn’t find it, he wouldn’t get paid for that show. He had performed the trick thousands of times and he had never failed. (In reality, the real Kreskin, did the trick six thousand times, and only failing 9 times.) Tory was always fascinated by this and always wondered how he did it. Several theories floated through his head, though he never believed any of them.

The movie is very good. Malkovich was very convincing and so was Colin Hanks. Even though the character of Valerie Brennan played by Emily Blunt was just thrown in there for some sort of romantic spice, I thought that she did a pretty nice job with what she could. The Great Buck Howard is an entertaining film and an interesting story well worth watching. I enjoyed it very much.

Categories: 2009 Movie Reviews
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