Photo courtesy of Neon and Vice
At the end of Harmony Korine's 2019 vaudeville comedy The Beach Bum, a reporter asks Moondog, the titular bum played by Matthew McConaughey, for his secret to life. "I like to have fun, man," Moondog answers. "It's why I like boats, I like the water, I like the sunshine, I like beautiful women, a lot. Man, I get all these things going — man, they're all turning me on. My wires are connecting upstairs and I start to hear music in my head, you know?" Against the backdrop of Miami, Hollywood, and the Florida Keys, freewheelin' poet Moondog bounces from boat to boat and woman to woman in what can only be described as a stoner fairytale. Life comes at him fast, leading to his eviction from a waterfront mansion in Miami and sending him to a homeless encampment underneath the Julia Tuttle, a short stint in county jail, and up to one of Broward's dime-a-dozen addiction-recovery homes. But through it all, Moondog remains buoyant, treating it all as just another adventure. The Sunshine State is his playground, and landmarks including the Miami Marine Stadium, the Hollywood Broadwalk, and Key West's Schooner Wharf bar become all the more beautiful through the lens of cinematographer Benoît Debie, who splendidly depicts Florida just as it is: a sunny place for shady people. Moondog, a most lovable deadbeat, savors every minute of it. "This life gig's a fucking rodeo," he says, "and I'm gonna suck the nectar out of it and fuck it raw-dog till the wheels come off."