In his directorial debut film, Bucky F*cking Dent, David Duchovny wears many hats: writer, producer, and star. The script is based on a novel that Duchovny published in 2016. It’s the story of a son, Ted, who goes to care for his estranged and terminally ill father, Marty, who is a massive Red Sox fan. Set against the backdrop of the 1978 Playoffs, the film is peppered with Red Sox and Yankees references. While caring for his father, Ted meets a “death specialist,” Mariana, and the two share a special bond. Ted concocts a scheme to help cheer Marty up by convincing him that his beloved Red Sox are doing well in the playoffs. This film does well as a period piece, there were no modern idiosyncrasies to pull the viewer out of the story.
Logan Marshall-Green does a great turn as the stoner son. He’s a natural and has a flowing chemistry with each character with whom he interacts. Stephanie Beatriz brings a warmth and compassion to the sometimes-aloof nurse. David Duchovny makes for a compelling character, bringing humor (in the form of dad jokes) to the film as well as pulling a lot of emotional weight in the serious scenes. There was a lot of heart in the barbershop scenes with Marty’s buddies who helped try to pull off the Red Sox scheme.
The film had a few weak points, a scene that was one fart joke after another, even going as far as to have Marty describe in detail the odor, foremost among them. Some of the scenes that were meant for laughs did not quite land. The biggest laugh came from a comment about being a Red Sox fan in Yankee territory out of spite. The scheme to convince Marty that the Red Sox were winning the playoffs had a few holes if you put any time into thinking about it. Did Marty never leave his room, watch tv, or listen to the radio to learn about how the Red Sox were doing?
The addition of a killer 70’s soundtrack would have really elevated this movie and felt like a missed opportunity, but the score was excellently composed by Vincent Jones. There was one guitar solo toward the end of the film that was stunningly beautiful. There was a story within the story called the Doublemint Man, it would have been nice to have gotten to see a little more of that world, we only got the barest glimpse.
Minor flaws aside, this was a heartwarming movie with moments of real humanity, empathy, and laughs. It’s the kind of movie that you watch with your family repeatedly and everyone gets something out of it. The directing was excellently done, I look forward to seeing more films directed by David Duchovny. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and does not yet have an announced release date.