The Great Buck Howard 2009 PG CC

Amazon Instant Video

(86) IMDb 6.5/10
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When a law school dropout (COLIN HANKS) answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant, much to the chagrin of his father (TOM HANKS), he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician (JOHN MALKOVICH) struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime.

Starring:
John Malkovich, Tom Hanks
Runtime:
1 hour 31 minutes

The Great Buck Howard

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Sean McGinly
Starring John Malkovich, Tom Hanks
Supporting actors Emily Blunt, Ricky Jay, Steve Zahn, Tom Hanks, Griffin Dunne, Debra Monk, Adam Scott, Patrick Fischler, Wallace Langham, Jonathan Ames, Jacquie Barnbrook, Paul Darricarrere, Terry Scannell, Matt Hoey, Jobi Graham, B.J. Hendricks, Nate Hartley, Floyd Van Buskirk
Studio Magnolia
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

This was just a wonderful film with a great cast and great acting!
Studio Su
If you watch the trailer and say "This doesn't seem like much of a movie", then don't press play!
J. Villeneuve
I really liked John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt, and Tom Hanks in this film.
Daniel G. Lebryk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 17, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This fine film recalls to mind O'Toole's "My Favorite Year." It follows the travels of an aging mentalist (Malkovich) as he enthusiastically performs before shrinking crowds of aged fans---observed with growing admiration by his road manager, a sceptical young writer (Colin Hanks). Malkovich creates an ode to live performance. The film gives us the same joy as we see the once-famous performer demonstrate that his fame was well deserved.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mark Turner on July 21, 2009
Format: DVD
Among the many films that are released each year we are treated to some huge blockbusters. One this week out on DVD will no doubt be WATCHMEN. But while that movie may be the most sought after film, it will also leave many behind who won't get to the store in time for their copy. So instead, why not take a risk and watch something a bit more human, a bit more funny and a bit more sad. Why not watch THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD?

If you've never heard nor seen this film don't be surprised. As I said, blockbusters tend to take up space in the multiplexes around the country where an 18 screen complex offers only 4 films at a time. If you have HDNet, you may have caught it on the premier night it ran. If not, do so now.

Colin Hanks stars as Troy Gable, a young student in college studying to be a lawyer not because he loves it or sees himself having a future here but because his father has sent him here. Realizing he has no desire to live this life, he takes off and heads to LA and begins searching for a job. This results in his meeting the Great Buck Howard, now in search of a new road manager.

Buck Howard (John Malkovich) is a low level celebrity on the down side of life. At one time a notable performer who was featured on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 61 times, he now finds himself playing regional theaters to half packed audiences. But at least these people are fans, those who recall his glory days and now have that moment to bask in the glow of this celebrity who has come to their lives.

Buck is a strange character. A mentalist with a touch now and then of magic, Buck is hard on his staff of one but loving of his crowd when on stage. Until a few take things into their own hand in one instance throwing off his game a bit.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sunnchilde on May 1, 2009
Format: DVD
If you ever had to wonder why you loved John Malkovitch, this is the reason why. This is the kind of movie you watch with your mouth open. The acting is strong. There's not a lot happening, this isn't a thriller, but even in the most ordinary scenes you can see that everyone believes in their characters. I thought I had this film figured out, but I was happily wrong. This story defies convention! John is simply fantastic in this role. Colin Hanks turns in a competent performance. He's a young actor so he still has to cut his teeth a little, but he did a fair enough job. His father even shows up for a scene and that's always nice.

But the real heart of the story I think is "do you still believe in magic?" not the real kind with witches and spells - but "magic" in a sense of wonder and amazement. I don't want to give anything away but in every scene when you think the story is about to fall apart, John Malkovitch pulls it off! He holds this film together with his bare hands. He's like a rock surrounded by superglue. He just makes this story happen. The way he talks about the human spirit -- without talking about it.
The only way I can give an analogy is...remember in "Braveheart" at the end when he dies for his people and screams "Freedom!" well, that scene only works if you completely believe in his character. If you believe that William Wallace really was THAT much of a believer. Mel Gibson took that character to the wall and you had to believe it.

THAT's what John does with Buck Howard. The character is so outrageous and over the top that at first you laugh at him. But then later on you come to realize that this man is a believer. This man is for real, this isn't an act. He's not acting. Buck Howard does believe in the magic of the human soul.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James D. Long on February 7, 2011
Format: DVD
This is one of those films that seems to have slipped through the distribution cracks because I don't ever recall seeing trailers for it. Possibly, the producers (Tom Hank's Playtone Pictures) thought they smelled a stinker and let it slip out quietly. I can understand their thinking, THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD is one of those projects that has all the right elements---great cast, very solid direction and a compelling story--but they just don't jell. The casting of John Malkovich in the title role was the one thing that, for me, derailed the film. Malkovich is a wonderful actor who could not sell this role. He's an actor whose persona as a misanthrope is so established that, as Buck Howard, he comes off as unlikable and insincere.

I was shocked to learn that the Howard character is based on the career of The Amazing Kreskin. I saw Kreskin, years ago in Odessa, Texas, in a less than stellar venue. Still, he was definitely amazing, even though he failed to locate his paycheck at the end of show, something I understand has happened very few times in his career. Kresking didn't take it well (who could blame him) and publicly castigated the guilty parties for their unsportsmanlike trickery. However, the mentalist was so entertaining that this sour note didn't diminish my respect for his talent.

All of that said, I would recommend THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD because it's quite watchable, your enjoyment may be increased knowing that it's based on Kreskin. Call it 'stunt casting' but I think the film would have worked so much better if producer Tom Hanks had switched roles and portrayed Buck Howard.
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