26th Jan2018

‘Harold Buttleman’ VOD Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: John Hawkes, Anita Barone, Stephen Falk, Karen Black, Dan Castellaneta, Stephanie Jane Markham, Ryan Alosio, Rusty Schwimmer, Daryl Hury, Leon Russom, Carlos Jacott, Duane Whitaker, Todd Robert Anderson, Greg Benson | Written and Directed by Francis Stokes


A charming and endearing tale of one mans dare to dream attitude and his willingness to break every bone in his body on the way to that dream… With a beautiful re-scan, from 35mm film, of the classic award-winning comedy, Harold Buttleman: Daredevil Stuntman.

Oscar Nominee John Hawkes (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) is Harold Buttleman, a sweet, charming and somewhat clueless small town tuxedo salesman who wants to be the next Evel Knievel and he is willing to break every bone in his body to get there. Harold teams up with a couple of friends who share his passion for what he wants to accomplish and they shoot a crude video (made in 2003 remember) of some of his “daring, dangerous” stunts in the hopes of selling the footage to there local cable channel and becoming TV sensations.

Buttleman is about to find the life of a daredevil stuntman is harder than it looks when everyone seems to be getting in his way. His parents are not exactly supportive and want him out, while his girlfriend wants him to go out and get a proper job. However he is about to show everyone when he receives the 3am slot and organizes a big premier for the townsfolk. Is Harold about to break out and become the next huge stuntman?

I really had no idea what I was getting into with Harold Buttleman. However the sight of the always brilliant John Hawkes in the lead was enough to get my oculars on the movie. Hawkes is someone that I often feel gets overlooked because he hasn’t exactly got the face of a leading man (no offense intended) but what he does have is one hell of an extensive range. From Ticky the drug addict in Hardball (if you have never seen this check it out TODAY) to Iron Lung Mark in Sessions (which he was Oscar nominated for) this guy can do it all.

We do find him fairly fresh faced in Harold Buttleman and that is because this movie was made in 2003 and won a handful of festival awards. Since then it seems to have sat on the shelf a little and is finally receiving its on demand release; being made available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play next month. Its a shame things like this happen to these gems – and this is a brilliant indie gem – but I am finding this happens more often than I ever thought.

A brilliantly well cast feature that also stars Anita Barone (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Karen Black (Easy Rider) and Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons), Harold Buttleman is quick 90-odd minutes centred around a fabulous performance from Hawkes as the titular, lovable simpleton. He had me invested in the character and I wanted him to succeed. Much like small indie gems that have gone before and will keep going after, there is a quiet and understated beauty to this film, it draws on its charm and the obvious passion from its cast and crew which plays perfect on the screen… Wonderful!

It needs to be mentioned that this is a superb first outing for director Francis Stokes as he has made a tight solid movie that plays up the laughs well and tackles the seriousness with conviction. After seeing this film I certainly would be interested in checking out his other work.

Harold Buttleman will be available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play on February 2nd.


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