Buck is a man-child who has lived his existence in a life of Romper Room, kindergarten collages, and lollipops. When his mother dies suddenly, Buck remembers his old childhood friend Chuck, with whom he feels a need to reconnect after having invited him to his mother's funeral. Buck treks out to Los Angeles where Chuck, an up-and-coming music record executive, is living his life. Buck ends up developing an obsession with Chuck and begins stalking him. Written by
What a surprising beautiful and tragic film that Mike White has created. I say Mike White instead of the director (who also did an exemplary job) because it was his penmanship that crafted this film into such a powerhouse. When I rented the film, I did not expect to be so submerged with so many bold styles and emotional thematic elements. I was not expecting to see such a high caliber of acting and storytelling mixed together into one small Sundance winning picture. In other words, I wasn't expecting really anything when I placed this film into my DVD player, so when the film finished and I picked my jaw off the floor, it became instantly clear that I would never experience another film like this one again. From the way that it was filmed, to the small budget of the production, to even the taboo subject it presented, Chuck & Buck is one of those films that will shock, amaze, and really pull at the strings of your heart. It is a film, first and foremost, about friendship and the destructive impact that childhood moments can have on our futures.
I cannot speak of this film without mentioning first the brilliant mind of Mike White. Not only did he accomplish the first challenge of this film writing it, but he also stole the entire film by also playing one of the leads, Buck. While most film watchers, sadly, will remember him as Jack Black's friend in School of Rock, his true talents are completely showcased in this film. He completely looses himself in this character and it is absolutely obvious to those of us watching the film. During all of this film, I never once saw Mike White, the actor, but instead I saw the character of Buck. That is a rare accomplishment in the acting world. Nine times out of ten in these types of films, you are handed moments where the actor or actress is simply themselves with a different type of voice. That is not the case with Mike White, he completely embodies his character. From the hand motions, voice, and even reactions, he is Buck. He is the character he has set out to play. This can happen because you can tell he is very compelled to this character. He is not into the story for the money, but instead to tell the story as honestly as possible. This was very obvious throughout the film. These actors, now directors and writers, placed their heart and soul into this picture, and it seeped through the television. This is truly one of those rare instances where you could see why people decide to make films.
While I wasn't overly impressed with the acting ability of Chris Weitz (since Mike White overshadowed him), he did help contribute to the overall scheme of the story. This is a thrilling tale, and it is difficult to see it as the comedy that IMDb has labeled. This was a completely human story told with such precise honesty and honor that I have no doubts that anyone that watches it will walk away with a different perspective. This wasn't your typical "stalker" film, there were so many different and deep layers to this story that you could easily watch it three or four times a day and still get caught up in a different aspect. I don't know if this makes sense or not, but there were moments when I could see the friendship, the insanity, and the sorrow. The ending brought the story full circle and really had me in suspense until the final moments. Nothing is handed to you right away, as the story develops, you are shown more and more until the utter power of this film is hanging on your own shoulders. It is deep and amazing, and I cannot stop using that word "amazing" enough.
Overall, I thought this was an exceptional film for 2000. I think that White should have been handed more and more acting roles throughout the years, but it still makes me happy to see him writing. This was a film about friends who never quite left their childhood years, and have been waiting for that one moment to close the door of to their past. This is not a film for everyone, but if chosen to explore will reveal some thickly layered characters with superb acting by Mr. White. This is a drama that carries relevance in today's society and will continue forever to be a cultural staple in the film world. I loved it, and hope others will see the powerful nature of Chuck & Buck.
Grade: **** out of *****
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