Lonesome Jim

Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, Mary Kay Place, Seymour Cassel, Kevin Corrigan

Directed by Steve Buscemi
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
March 21, 2006

"Directed by Steve Buscemi": Four words that mean you're in for something special. Just check out Trees Lounge, Animal Factory and his Emmy-nominated episode of The Sopranos. What we cheer in Buscemi as an actor — his gift for locating the elusive details that define a life — is also there in his work as a director. Buscemi does not act in Lonesome Jim, but his sly humor and keen eye for nuance resonate in every frame. I can't recall having a better time at a movie about depression. Jim (hangdog master Casey Affleck) has returned to his family home in Indiana after failing to make it as a writer in New York. Mom (the superb Mary Kay Place) welcomes her baby back. Dad (Seymour Cassel) is far less pleased. Their older son, Tim (Kevin Corrigan), a divorced father of two, is also back in his old bedroom and working in the family business. "I'm a mess," Jim tells his brother, "but you're a fucking disaster." The remark drives Tim to suicide. He fails. So is Jim worth saving? Anika (Liv Tyler), the nurse who takes this morose premature-ejaculator to bed, gives it a shot. Working from an artfully autobiographical script by James C. Strouse, Buscemi refuses to take any character at face value. That includes Jim's drug-dealing uncle, Evil (a hilarious Mark Boone Jr.). Lonesome Jim is minimalist to the point of vapor, but Buscemi — a poet of the maladjusted — makes sure this deadpan delight finds its wily way into your heart. No tricks. No tears. But, damn, it gets you good.

Peter Travers' new book, "1,000 Best Movies on DVD" is available now.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »