Friday, October 31, 2014

St. Vincent

While I certainly do not dislike Bill Murray, I have never been able to understand exactly why he is so universally loved. Sure, he is quite hilarious, but why does his humor bring so many people together?... Who knows!... Regardless, my hopes were very high, going in to St. Vincent, due mostly to the fact that Jaeden Lieberher absolutely cracked me up in the trailers. If there is one thing that I love more than a good dramedy, it is a funny, intelligent child actor! So, while Bill Murray was the draw for most viewers of St. Vincent, my main draw was 81 years (approximately) younger than Murray...

While I did expect St. Vincent to provide numerous laughs, I did not expect the film to have such a heart. There is no doubt that this was the most emotional that I have seen since Short Term 12, and, in case you don't know me, emotions aren't my strong suit! However, by the end of the film, I was struggling HARD to keep the tears from flowing! Most of the emotions were brought on by the relationship between Bill Murray's Vincent and Lieberher's Oliver, which was just perfect. The end of the film was a bit rushed, but, for the most part, St. Vincent did a great job of making me laugh and (almost) cry with nothing but a simple story about a little boy and his old, grumpy neighbor!

St. Vincent was anchored very well by Bill Murray, who was absolutely perfect for the role. However, I don't quite think he is worthy of the Oscar buzz that a few folks are throwing his way. Again, my lack of awe at Murray is showing, but I just don't quite get it!

One actor who was terribly under-utilized and awkward-looking was Terrence Howard, who played Zucko, a horse gambling friend of Vincent's. While Howard may not be the most respected actor in Hollywood, he isn't typically horrible. From a different angle, I did not really like what the film did with Oliver's school-enemy, Ocinski (played by Dario Barosso). Unfortunately, I can't say too much without giving away the plot, but I just thought the progression of his character was a bit under-utilized.

As expected, the child actor rules them all! Jaeden Lieberher was absolutely hilarious as Oliver, and I truly wanted him to be my child. The age and size of both the actor and his character were absolutely perfect for this film, and I can't wait to see what this youngster does in the future. Additionally, great performances were handed in by both Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd. While McCarthy has (rightfully) taken a lot of heat for some of her recent roles, characters, like Maggie, allow her to show her range across the comedic and dramatic spectrum. O'Dowd, on the other hand, can always make me laugh, no matter what! His character of Brother Geraghty did a great job of poking fun at religion without tearing down its significance in both the film and his life. Great character!

Although the likelihood of another 2014 film topping The LEGO Movie is quite slim, St. Vincent certainly did a great job of sticking its foot in the door, as one of the best dramedies of 2014. With a great cast and an emotional storyline, St. Vincent had most of what I ask for in a film. The only thing it lacked was Jonah Hill! Anyway, I'm quite hopeful that this film starts a great career for Jaeden Lieberher and begins a new era in the comedy of Bill Murray (and maybe Melissa McCarthy, too!). Kudos to new director, Theodore Melfi and the entire cast for entertaining me and given me enough proof, for the next year or two, that I have emotions! I give St. Vincent 3.56 out of 5 stars.

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