The Buck Stops Where?
The Great Buck Howard
Review by Ross Anthony

This is a quaint little production starring Colin Hanks as Tom Hanks' son. Great casting -- he really is Tom Hanks' son. On the surface, the film depicts the exploits of an entertainment relic, a mentalist, as seen through the eyes of his young road manager. But the heart of the film is all about finding life's element. Or better put, finding a way to put yourself into your life's element, despite outside pressures to be somewhere or something else. I love this theme. And I like this film. The young man makes a troubling choice to drop the dreams his father has for him, and sets out into the great unknown in search of his own.

The picture opens with a punch, a quirky panache. The first time we're introduced to "The Great Buck Howard," it's with style, playfulness, and a tongue-in-cheek humor from the slow-mo to the soundtrack that tickles all over. I expected "great" things from then on. Though I enjoyed the picture overall, things were merely "very good" from then on, and the wind up lacked the spunk of these earlier sequences.

Lastly, the film relied one too many times on the "it's over now for sure -- oh, wait, no it's not!" motif. That bugged me on the story level, but when I let go of Buck Howard as a person and instead thought of him as a symbol for that illusive mojo, that on-again off-again feeling of actually being in your own element, I was left feeling much more satisfied.

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-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --


  • The Great Buck Howard. Copyright © 2009.
  • Starring John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt, Griffin Dunne, Ricky Jay, Steve Zahn, Tom Hanks. Written and Directed by Sean McGinly. Produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman at Magnolia Pictures.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Thursday, 26-Mar-2009 08:42:33 PDT