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The Great Buck Howard [Blu-ray] (2008)

John Malkovich , Colin Hanks , Sean McGinly  |  PG |  Blu-ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks, Steve Zahn
  • Directors: Sean McGinly
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001VPCIO4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,309 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Great Buck Howard [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

    Commentary with Sean McGinley (Writer/Director) and Colin Hanks (Actor)

    Deleted scenes, outtakes

    Behind the Scenes

    The Amazing Kreskin

    HDNet: A Look at The Great Buck Howard


Editorial Reviews

Once upon a time, Buck Howard [John Malkovich] spent his days in the limelight as a mentalist extraordinaire! Nowadays, it s clear to everyone except Buck that his act has lost its luster. Convinced his comeback is imminent, Buck needs a new road manager and personal assistant. Recent law school drop-out and would-be writer Troy Gable [Colin Hanks] needs a job and a purpose. Working for the pompous, has-been mentalist fills the former requirement, but how it satisfies the latter is questionable. Nonetheless, with the aid of a fiery publicist [Emily Blunt] and a bold stroke of luck, Buck lands back in the American consciousness, taking Troy along for the ride.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Malkovich's "favorite year" 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
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT SMALL FILM 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Could Have Been Amazing 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting plot!
Published 1 day ago by ChristyK
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
"Pretty good"
Published 11 days ago by hanghank
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Departure from the Norm
Nice flick, good acting, good cast, engaging story; a little tame, but a nice break from the shoot-em-up bang bang, high tech, high suspense roller coaster movies that seem to be... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Shade
4.0 out of 5 stars Being Buck Howard
I am not a huge fan of John Malkovich - in fact the only other film of his that I really love is "Places in the Heart". Read more
Published 12 days ago by Beth Bailey-Kingdon
4.0 out of 5 stars ... introduction to his Son Colin acting (did a really good job).
A well done movie with a lot of familiar actors and I would watch any movie with Tom Hanks in it and this was my introduction to his Son Colin acting (did a really good job).
Published 13 days ago by Cynthia Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful! As a long time Kreskin fan
Absolutely wonderful! As a long time Kreskin fan, I think Malkovich nailed his stage charisma and oddities. Just a wonderful picture. Both Hanks did a great job.
Published 21 days ago by Jim
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it every time
Third time I've watched it. Enjoyed it every time.
Published 25 days ago by hush puppy
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming and Whimsical
I'm a fan of the Amazing Kreskin (this movie was loosely based on his life)!
Published 27 days ago by Mark
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting movie with good acting and plot. Was interesting to see To, Hamks in his cameo role.
Published 1 month ago by Larry Snider
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie For Date or Family
Characters are built enough to seem believable. Loved the ending! John Malkovich was spot on for this role. Tom Hanks really shined in his few minutes of the film.
Published 2 months ago by Brian S Smith
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