The Great Buck Howard The Great Buck Howard
Film Date :   January 18, 2008
Genre :   Drama Comedy   
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The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard is a 2009 comedy-drama film directed by Sean McGinly that stars Colin Hanks and John Malkovich. Tom Hanks also appears as the father of his real-life son's character. The character Buck Howard is inspired by the mentalist The Amazing Kreskin, whose popularity was at its height in the 1970s. The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2008.

Troy Gable (Colin Hanks), from whose perspective the story is told, defies his father (Tom Hanks) and leaves law school to pursue his dream of becoming a writer in Los Angeles. Unable to support himself, he takes a job as a road manager for "The Great" Buck Howard (John Malkovich), a pompous, demanding, past-his-prime mentalist. Troy comes to enjoy traveling with Buck to performances in smaller venues such as Bakersfield and Akron. In particular, Troy sincerely admires Buck's signature trick: having someone in the audience hide his fee for that night's performance, which he then unfailingly discovers. (Kreskin is said to have actually performed this feat 6,000 times, only failing to find the money 9 times.)

A reluctant publicist, Valerie Brennan (Emily Blunt), is sent to join them in Cincinnati as a replacement for a more senior colleague to promote Buck's still secret attempt to resurrect his career. Buck announces he will put hundreds of people to sleep and then awake them as if from the dead. Valerie is skeptical and becomes romantically involved with Troy. Through a quirky twist of fate involving Jerry Springer, Buck's stunt actually succeeds and he returns to the limelight as a retro-"hip" phenom. He appears on television shows such as those of Jon Stewart,Regis PhilbinConan O'Brien, and more. Buck is reunited with his apparent former lover, George Takei, who sings "what the world needs now, is love, sweet love...." (The stars hosts appear in cameos as themselves.)

Buck finally gets the call he has been waiting for: To perform once again on the Tonight Show. He previously had performed with Johnny Carson 61 times during the height of his career, but never since the show has been hosted by Jay Leno. Buck is bumped by Tom Arnold, who has too much material and uses up Buck's time. Buck refuses an immediate offer to come back and appear on the Tonight Show the following week, but agrees to receive an offer to headline a date in Las Vegas. The limelight on Buck dims once more. Troy leaves him and finds another job with Valerie's help. After some time, Troy sees from an ad in the paper that Buck is doing his show again in Bakersfield. Buck is clearly back where he feels most comfortable, and once again successfully performs his signature trick, leaving Troy to wonder whether Buck doesn't have some mysterious talent after all.



  1.  Play dates for The Great Buck Howard at Magnolia Pictures
  2.  "2008 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in Competition" (PDF). 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
  3.  United Airlines in-flight entertainment guide, August 2009.
  5.  "Great Buck Howard". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-08-27.

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