Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Great Buck Howard


A severe disappointment. Buck Howard is John Malkovich, and he’s a washed-up mentalist who used to be a frequent guest on the Johnny Carson show. He’s now playing half-full houses in Bakersfield and Akron. It’s a good performance. But the story concerns celebrity, how you get it and how you lose it. I was hoping for something more along the lines of Leap of Faith, which exposed the tricks religious con men like Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts use to fleece the faithful. “Mentalists” are con men who use the same tricks, but this movie seems to be inviting you to believe that they can actually read minds, and hypnotize every one of a crowd of 300 people. Not going to happen. So it falls into that category of film like the awful All the Marbles, which asked us to believe that professional wrestling matches were not predetermined before the opening bell. As you might gather, I despise all faith healers and mentalists.