Monday, October 27, 2014

St. Vincent Review

It's been a while since we've had a Bill Murray led movie. I mean, he hasn't disappeared from Hollywood, but his recent appearances all seem to be either supporting roles or cameos in a Wes Anderson. All of which are great, but when I actually heard that we were getting a Bill Murray led movie this year I was ecstatic. The man is a brilliant actor and movies such as Groundhog Day, What About Bob? and The Man Who Knew Too Little are absolutely fantastic. I even find myself loving his movies when others don't. So yeah. I was excited for this. Unfortunately they played this annoying limited release game when they released it, so I had to wait a few weeks longer than I wanted to, but this past weekend I was looking up showtimes and there it was! It didn't take long at all from that moment for me to be sitting in a theater watching it. And I'm happy to report that this doesn't disappoint. In fact, Bill Murray gives one of his best performances to date.

In St. Vincent, Bill Murray plays this grumpy old man whose life isn't going at all the way he wants it to. Because of this, it seems like he's just about given up as not only is he a grumpy old man, but he's a grumpy old man doing a lot of dumb things. Then comes the neighbors. Melissa McCarthy plays a young mother going through a divorce who has moved with her son to start over. Because she's now on her own, she has to work a lot and as fate has it, Bill Murray winds up as a "babysitter" for this 12-year-old son. And thus our story begins! This movie actually really surprised me. I went in expecting more of a comedy between this grumpy old man and this new kid. I was excited for that. Turns out this is a lot more of a drama. I think it was Robert Downey Jr. who said that a drama should be 30 percent comedy and a comedy should be 30 percent drama. Yeah, this is the drama that is 30 percent comedy instead of the other way around.

Sure, you can look at the title of this movie, read the premise, watch the trailer and thus come up with a guess of what happens in the movie. But I don't think they were going for unpredictable with this. This is a very happy, feel good movie that I actually loved for similar reasons that I loved last year's Nebraska. Both center around a crazy, old man played by a talented actor. Both are fairly predictable. But yet, both are very moving in a rather simplistic sort of way. All the characters are just full of layers that give you this "don't judge a book by its cover" theme. Not only do you fall in love with the main three characters, but also even the side characters like the stripper and the bully have this depth to them that you almost don't expect at first. And this really works because all the actors blow it out of the park.

No, I'm not going to claim that this is Bill Murray's best performance. I'd probably save that for something like Groundhog Day or Ghostbusters, but this is certainly one of his best performances. Ever since this movie debuted at Toronto International Film Festival, the Oscar buzz has started to float around Bill Murray. I haven't personally seen enough to make a call as to who I want nominated, but if Bill Murray gets it, I definitely won't be complaining because there are several scenes where I was just like, WOW! But it's not just Bill Murray that does great, I also want to praise Melissa McCarthy. Normally she drives me crazy in all her roles. And when I saw she was a part of this, I was actually really nervous. But she surprised the heck out of me. She is 100 percent dramatic in this with no comedy at all and she totally nails it. And of course, I can't leave out our newcomer Jaeden Lieberher. I don't know where they found this little kid because he really hasn't been in anything, but the casting director here completely struck gold. Not only is he adorable and perfect for this role, but he is a dang good child actor.

So overall, I was really excited for St. Vincent and I was not disappointed. It's nothing crazy or unpredictable, but it's just a simple, feel good movie that you'll walk out of with all these warm fuzzies. There's even this scene towards the end that gets super emotional and thus is quite powerful. So if you like simple, happy, feel good movies, this is definitely a movie that you need to check out. Also, if you are like me and Bill Murray is one of your favorite actors, this is also a must see because Bill Murray definitely gives one of the best performances of his career and would definitely be deserving of an Oscar nomination if the Academy decided to award him with one. My grade for St. Vincent is a very good 8/10.

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