Honey Boy (2019) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 8

directing 6

effects 7

editing 6

writing 6

SW SCORE: 31

3.1 out of 5 🐙

++

I remember watching Project GreenLight when Shia LaBeouf was in the picture selected by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. It was a young adult adventure of sorts and it was fine and he was good. The commentators on the show all said he was good and the strong core of the movie. They all agreed he had a bright future. And the future was bright for a long time. But then he went on an alcohol and drug fueled performance artist asshole phase that alienated nearly everyone in Hollywood. He was an asshole. He’s admitted this much himself. 

But Hollywood loves a comeback. It’s the land of 2nd and 3rd and 4th chances. 

I really thought he did a fine job in Borg vs. McEnroe. I think that was near the beginning of his renaissance in 2017. He’s the darling of the indie filmeratti after giving two bravura performances. One is in this film and the other is in Peanut Butter Falcon. At least that’s the word on the street. I haven’t seen ‘Falcon yet. But the indie appreciators said he did well. I don’t doubt it. His acting skill was never really in question.

And I thought he gave a fine performance here. He played a volcano of a man seething with supreme ferociousness but also somehow vacillating between rage and empathy and support for his son, whom he has nicknamed ‘Honey Boy’. Honey Boy was ably played by Lucas Hedges (when the character is 22 years old) and Noah Jupe (when the character is 12).

But very little happens in this film other than tension and physical and verbal and psychological abuse by Honey Boy’s father. Sure, he bakes in kindness and support and love but I’m sorry, that does not even out the scales. I don’t care how many supportive moments a father gives. If he does all the horrible things that James did, I have no interest in emotionally investing in him or in the story.

The parenting philosophy can be summed up in the following quote:

“The only thing my father gave me of any value is pain.”

I will concede that the opening shot is stunning. Unfortunately, nothing in the remainder of the film comes close to that quality. 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

 

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