Lonesome Jim
You’d have the same look on your face if J Lo almost became your sister-in-law.

Theatrical Release Date: 03/24/2006
Director: Steve Buscemi
Cast: Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler

I’m finally getting around to writing up this review although I saw this film at least six months ago. I know, I know … I’m lazy.

In “Lonesome Jim”, Casey Affleck plays a man at a crossroads. He doesn’t know how to be happy and is barely content to ruin the lives of the people around him.

After moving back home to a small mid-western town, he stumbles into a relationship with a local nurse, played by Liv Tyler.

Meanwhile, the family has enough problems of their own, as the black sheep uncle jeopardizes the family business and matriarch with a drug running scheme.

Have I mentioned this film is a dark comedy from the directorial vision of Steve Buscemi?

This strange juxtaposition led to my issues with the tone of the film and it may not be the fault of the filmmakers entirely.

As my loyal readers know, I am a huge fan of melancholy cinema and enjoy a nice dark, trip down a deep, depressing hole now and then.

With “Lonesome Jim”, I was hoping for that kind of journey and instead, the film tries to stay above the melancholy Mendoza line through humor and quirkiness.

As this seemed to be the filmmaker’s intent, I can say “job well done”. However, this was contrary to where I would have liked to have seen the film go and so I’m left wanting more.

The performances are all pretty good. Affleck plays a dispassionate wanderer with ease and the script really didn’t ask him to do too much more. Tyler is no stranger to small, independent films that dabble in a search for identity and she feels right at home in this film as well.

Really, the oddest thing that I’m reminded of is how many Liv Tyler films I own; besides this, there’s “Stealing Beauty”, “Heavy”, “That Thing You Do!” and “Empire Records” to name a few off the top of my head. All this and what sticks out the most to me is how much I abhor the animal cookie scene in “Armageddon” (yes, I have that too … stop laughing).

Which brings me to my next tangent – Tyler’s affection for the brothers Affleck. Does she get an invite to their Thanksgiving each year?

Well, I’ve digressed enough and I should get back to the point.

I’m giving “Lonesome Jim” a 3 out of 5. I enjoyed a good deal of the morose and dour aspects of the film but was distracted by the off-kilter sense of humor. Independent cinema fans will find some interesting elements here but I’m not sure how many people outside of that niche would truly connect with the film.