Welcome to Jim's life. It is a sad, pitiful life, but it is the one the Jim prefers. After all, much of it he brought on himself. Jim is a 27-year-old man who lacks the options other people have. Lonesome Jim starts with the somber, depressed man walking home from a bus stop to his parents' house. At 27, he has hit rock bottom and has come home from a failed career at writing and walking dogs in Manhattan. In Jim's words, he has come home to have a nervous breakdown.
Meeting Jim's family is quite the experience. Jim's mom, Sally is a perky, Donna Reed type who likes baking and caring for her family. Jim, who is somewhat awkward and doesn't seem overly interested in his appearance, is referred to as “Mom's pretty boy”. Jim's father, meanwhile, is a stern and quiet man until mom leaves the room and then he usually has something more to say, despite being a man of few words.
The final member of the family is Tim. Tim is much like Jim except he is the older brother. Tim is in his 30s, divorced, and works for and lives with mom and dad. He coaches basketball for the team his twin daughters are on, but as a testament to Jim and Tim's outlook, the girls (the entire team of girls) haven't scored a basket all season long.
Jim has come home to have a breakdown and resents his brother, who gets to it first. So, while Tim lays in a coma we begin to dissect the family life of Jim and what on earth could make him so glum. We are presented with issues such as premature ejaculation and marijuana laced with crack.
This movie is an unconventional comedy. Lonesome Jim is for all the people in the world that love to laugh at another person's pain and yet feel it's wrong to do so. This makes it socially acceptable to do so and Jim is the perfect person to laugh at. With an outlook like, it's better to accept misery as opposed to trying and failing like everyone else, you cannot help but laugh at him.
Casey Affleck's performance was amazingly plain, just like it was supposed to be. Affleck was hilarious and his performance was compeimented by that of Mary Kay Place (Jim's mom) who stole the show as a motherly force to be reckoned with. It's hard to not like a woman that is that perky. Of course, it is easy to imagine how someone could not handle her being their mother.
Now add to this the performance of Liv Tyler who plays Anika, Jim's rather unconventional girlfriend — or habitual one night stand, as the case may be. Anika is the single mother of one boy named Benjamin. Anika is the exact opposite of Jim. She is friendly, genuinely seems to care about people, and likes helping out where she can. Jim is profoundly good at making lemons, but Anika would prefer to drink the lemonade. You know what they say about opposites attracting.
Jim's life revolves around the need to perpetuate drama, and it's human nature to laugh at someone that has nothing better to do than continuously ruin his own life. In one scene Jim is with Anika and they are looking at the photographs on his wall. She asks who they are and he comments that they all writers. Eventually he explains more about them and the writer philosophy as he sees it. It goes something like this: these people jumped off a cliff, these drank themselves to death, and these guys shot themselves in the head. It's not a happy job being a writer, so Jim is a perfect candidate.
Special features on the Lonesome Jim DVD include a commentary with the writer, James C. Strouse, and the director, Steve Buscemi, as well as a special making-of feature that shows off some behind the scenes action.
It is hard to call such an unhappy movie a comedy, but you will see that it is. The direction in this movie was excellent, but then Steve Buscemi rarely disappoints. Lonesome Jim is a special movie that would have gone wrong with bad direction. However Buscemi had just what was necessary to get the job done.
If you need a laugh or anything to make you feel better about your own life, try looking up Jim. After all, if your outlook is any worse than his is, you should become a writer, too.Powered by Sidelines