Romy Shiller

Archive for November, 2014|Monthly archive page

St. Vincent

In Comedy, Drama, Film, review on November 8, 2014 at 10:38 am

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ABOUT: St. Vincent is an American comedy-drama film written and directed by Theodore Melfi, making his feature film debut. The film stars Bill Murray as the title character with Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, and Naomi Watts.

Plot: Vincent, a drunken, gambling war veteran retiree, gets recruited by his new single-mom neighbor Maggie to watch over her small grown 12-year-old son Oliver. Vincent’s ideas of after-school activities involve racetracks and strip clubs, but eventually the mismatched pair begin to help each other grow up.

Bill Murray. Wow – as usual. He might win many awards for this film. This film might win several awards too. It did come in second place for “People’s Choice Award for Best Film” at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was straightforward in that it did nothing to challenge narrative or the act of watching cinema – so, it was extremely good for the genre. Speaking of genre this film is a dramedy but because there usually is not a blend category, most award shows will probably categorize this film as a comedy.

The Web Magazine, Splitsider recounts a story from The Wall Street Journal: Ted Melfi got Bill Murray to star in his debut feature film St. Vincent, and it’s just as strange and amazing as you might expect a Murray casting story to be. After getting access to Murray’s famous 1-800 number and leaving messages for months, Melfi says he finally got a response from Murray’s lawyer with a request from Murray for a one-page letter regarding the project. A few weeks later, Melfi was driving and got a call from Murray himself:

“Listen,” Mr. Murray said. “I read your script, and I think it’s great—and who are you? I don’t Google people, so tell me about yourself.”

They went on a drive and ate grilled cheese and voila! The directing was excellent and I’m sure that good acting helped. Naomi Watts plays a pregnant, Slavic, stripper/’lady of the night’ – fantastic.

Naomi WattsSteven Zeitchik McClatchy Newspapers says, In fact, when Watts, 46, was first sent the “St. Vincent” script she thought she was being considered for the part that went to Melissa McCarthy. “I mean, that was the Naomi part, so I just assumed that’s what I’d be asked to do.” That role, incidentally, is of an embattled single mother.

She won the funnier part, though, and wound up even doing some improv, particularly in scenes where she looks to get under the skin of Murray’s curmudgeon. “I was going all out, and possibly too far at times,” she told The Los Angeles Times at the Toronto International Film Festival. “But it was new territory and I just wanted to bust out. I felt like I’d been in chains, like I was a wild animal getting out of this cage.”

When a new neighbour (McCarthy) moves in next door, [Murray] forms an unlikely bond with her young son (Jaeden Lieberher).

TV Showbiz notes that Melissa McCarthy has certainly come a long way since her Gilmore Girls days.

The breakout star of 2011 smash hit Bridesmaids is not only starring in sitcom Mike & Molly, which was recently picked up for a fourth season, but she has a plethora of movie roles keeping her busy.

She is very good but in this film her role is minor. The upside is her move into the dramatic instead of the comic. This was a very smart move for her, in my opinion.

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Murray was most recently seen in The Monuments Men.

The friendship between the man and boy felt familiar. Rolling Stone magazine says, Murray plays the title role in Déjà vu Vincent: a Vietnam vet with a weakness for booze and gambling. He becomes the cantankerous baby sitter for the kid next door, in a relationship that feels like a reprise of 1979’s Meatballs, if Murray’s counselor character, Tripper Harrison, had a few decades of hard living under his belt.

Yeah, it may have felt déjà vu but it was really different here. Anyhoo, we mainly have a story about a young boy, who needs a father figure and ends up befriending a cranky older man who bets at the race-track, drinks, hangs out with a prostitute etc. Not a role model by conventional standards but this man has a heart of gold. He pays for the prostitute’s ultra-sound and teaches the young boy to defend himself. Also, he’s Bill Murray so…

There is a lot of strength and compassion in this film. There is a necessary warning against judgement and preconception. What might appear offensive hides an alternate way of being.

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