Saturday, February 28, 2015

It is what it is.

Every year my wife goes on a business trip, and every year I'm stuck home with the kid(s). This year, while she was living it up (my words) in North Carolina, I was the sole caretaker of not one, but two mobile children (last year Violet was an adorable lump of goo). Anyway, about an hour into our first night alone, I slipped down the stairs. I caught myself, but instantly had a vision of laying at the bottom of our wooden stairs, compound fracture in each limb. Instantly, I grabbed my son and had the talk. 

If something were to happen to Daddy, kiddo, call 9-1-1. And if you can't reach my phone, or if it's dead (it's always dead), go next door, okay? Our neighbor will help you.

I mean, I assume she would. Right?

While my neighbor Cindy is a quiet older woman I really don't know too much about, I still feel I could trust her a lot more than Bill Murray's character in St. Vincent. Cindy's not going to take my son to a bar. Or to the track. And she's certainly not paying a pregnant Russian woman for sex.

If you missed the trailer, Vincent is your typical movie a-hole neighbor. He's always rude, he's often drunk, and barely qualifies as a functioning member of society. And after some movers smash up his car, he's pissed. And it just so happens that the family moving in next door will come to rely on him very heavily. Yes, Vincent the selfish bastard, will have to watch her neighbor's kid, as Single Mom's gotta work late. Again.

As familiar as the whole thing sounds (at at times, feels), I can't say I didn't enjoy it. Despite most of the plot feeling rather formulaic, St. Vincent still works. Sure, the ending almost lovingly hugs the life out of the film, but the stellar cast ultimately saves the day.

Murray does a bang up job playing Vince as a (possibly) misunderstood scumbag, and Melissa McCarthy dials it back a bit as the overwhelmed single mom, Maggie. But the star of the show, without a doubt, is newcomer Jaeden Lieberher as young Oliver. This kid is the best.

On the other end of the spectrum of being the best, are the Yays and Boos. After this one they're really intrigued with the process sainthood. They thought watching Martyrs qualified them, but I told them it's a little more complicated than that.

Check out what pure joy looks like.
Yaaaaaaaay!
  • Feel free to contradict me, but Chris O'Dowd is pretty much always a Yay. Even in a small role as the world's most laid back Catholic school teacher.
  • Sir. While I don't really like being called it, I sure do like hearing it. (Oliver is so polite)
  • Even though you knew it was going to happen at some point, the moment Vincent  Oliver's tormentor's was awesome. Ride this [snap].
  • The little side story with Vince's wife broke my heart. It almost made up for the giant dick that Vince was the other 23 hours a day. Almost.
  • McCarthy has a scene in this one that's so good, it almost makes me forgive her for Tammy [review]. Almost.
  • The post-track scene! Makes me want to go to the OTB. Just kidding (that place terrifies me).
  • Shelter from the Storm: first-ballot inductee into the Soundtrack Hall of Fame.
  • And finally, let me put my hands together for Bill Murray. If you look at this guy's body of work, it's pretty damn impressive. Vincent might not replace Peter Venkman as my personal favorite, but it's up there.
Boooo!
  • Naomi Watts. I actually ended up liking her character (especially some of her lines), but I'm booing the insane level of quirk. Stripper, I'm good with. Russian stripper, I'm okay with. Pregnant Russian Stripper? Not good, okay?
  • Vincent does some pretty terrible things. Like, all the time. But his activities at the bank are deplorable.
  • I haven't felt that bad about the contents of a box since Se7en.
  • And finally, even though it eventually won me over, the ending is pretty ridiculous. The only way Oliver's presentation could have been more emotional, is if everyone in the audience had received a wounded puppy when they took their seats. The only way.

Look, if you ever need anything, like a cup of sugar, someone to get your mail for you, feed your dog or whatever, don't hesitate to ask. Someone else.

18 comments:

  1. Wow. This has a really good cast. Chris Dowd as a Catholic school teacher sounds like a win.

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    1. It is a pretty solid group of actors, indeed. Though outside of Murray, everybody fights for minutes.

      As for O'Dowd? He's awesome. And he runs his class a lot like I do. Except he seems to be enjoying himself amid the chaos. Me? Not so much.

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  2. I may see it for McCarthy but it looks like nothing especially groundbreaking. You got me interested about that box, though!

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    1. McCarthy's hardly in it, but what she does is really well done. You're spot on in the fact that it's truly nothing groundbreaking, as it all feels incredibly familiar. That said, it's not a bad flick, you know?

      No, no. That box is nothing to be curious about. I just didn't want to ruin anything!

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  3. I'm glad you mentioned McCarthy not being in it that much, because she's the reason I avoided it. I cannot stand her. I think I'll throw this in the Netflix queue.

    I kind of laughed at your what if about falling down the stairs and fracturing something because I literally did that in January. Which I guess gave my kid an excuse to play doctor and lecture me on the proper way to walk down the stairs. Kids are a-holes.

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    1. McCarthy is just about perfect in this role, and delivers an incredibly natural performance. It's a nice change of pace from her starring stuff.

      Oh, damn, you really hurt yourself? That's terrible! But I'm sure receiving a lecture from your son made all the pain go away, right?

      Damn kids.

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  4. I really, really liked this one...like so much more than I thought I would. Sure, it's very much About a Boy meets The Notebook, but Murray is ON IT, so good here, and the jokes all seem to hit.

    Poor Naomi Watts. At least she was incredible in Birdman.

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    1. You did? Really? That's cool. It was certainly worth seeing, especially for Murray, I just thought everything was a little too cutesy at the end of the day, you know?

      Ah, Watts. She gave it a go, didn't she. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE BIRDMAN.

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    2. Oh, I'm not saying this is a good movie, because it's kind of not, and yet it is wholly enjoyable despite it's lame predictability. Like, that ending was awful, and yet I cried...LOL...and Murray is just so damn good here, from the very believable accent work to the whole chipped away demeanor, and his handling of the stroke was genius.

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    3. I agree with this 900%. I enjoyed in spite of how cookie-cutter it turned out to be. And the ending? Initially, I was like fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck this, but then I got something in my eye and all was forgiven.

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  5. Ha, I assure you your wife is not living it up NC. The weather has been terrible there lately! Lots of snow...surprisingly. Hmm, I may catch this one on Netflix, but it sounds like a run of the mill grouchy neighbor with the heart of gold. In movie land these neighbors are just grumpy misunderstood men. In real life neighbors like this are probably "chesters" who shouldn't live within 1,000 feet of a school.

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    1. Okay, you totally nailed the problem with this movie! I guess having a flick about a "chester" doesn't exactly lend itself to a feel good story, but it's so far from what feels like a common reality. Ugh.

      Oh, and my wife insists she's never, ever living it up, but I still give her shit about it every year. it's kind of my thing. You know, being a dick.

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  6. Totally agree with you on this. Not an original concept at all but it's Bill Murray! How can you not enjoy it? Naomi Watts's character was pretty terrible though even though I love her.

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    1. I too adore Watts, but it was kinda bad here. Damn near all bad. It was beauty that killed the beast, indeed.

      I think I need more Murray in my life. A lot more.

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  7. Good review. While I liked the premise in this movie, it's far from Bill Murray's best work. Oh, and Naomi Watts was the worst contribution to this, I never felt more like wanting to punch someone in the face than her after I watched this. Her character was just inexcusably rude and annoying.

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    1. Thanks, Mike. It's not Murray's best, but it's still another fine entry on his resume. The guy has ben remarkably consistent for what...the last twenty years? When was Larger than Life made?

      As for Watts, I don't really think there was another way to play such a character, as she essentially a blonde version of Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. That character was a trap for even the best actor. Yikes.

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  8. I ended up liking this movie more than I anticipated. It was predictable, but yeah... Bill Murray was great and Melissa McCarthy was surprisingly good considering all the movies she's been doing. Naomi Watts was a disappointment, there was something in her performance that wasn't clicking with the rest of the movie.

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    1. I should delete my entire post and just cut and paste this comment above the title. It's just about perfect.

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