Bill Murray wins me over as a meanie with a small soft side

Bill Murray SNT

Bill Murray is somebody completely different in “St. Vincent.”

And oh, do I love the cool old guy for it. Hey, I’ve been digging his work long enough that I feel like I can call him an old guy with no serious repercussions, right, Bill? I know, 64, you’ve got a lot of greatness still ahead.

In this mix between comedy and drama, the first movie written and directed by Theodore Melfi, Murray plays it relatively straight. He’s mean. He’s surly. He’s a bit of a bastard as a Vietnam vet who takes on babysitting hours of 10-year-old Oliver, played by great kid actor Jaeden Lieberher, for new next-door neighbor Maggie.

Speaking of acting parts away from the norm, Melissa McCarthy leaves her over-the-top moves at home for this one, too. Pleasantly so.

Crusty Vince and innocent Oliver go to Belmont to bet on the sport of kings. They go to the bar to meet other people who drink in bars. Vince teaches Oliver stuff his way as Maggie works her ass off in a hospital to make this move away from her creepazoid husband possible for her and the kid.

It’s not an original tale at the core, even with a mysterious sick wife and a Russian hooker and a Catholic school for a Jewish kid thrown in.

But oh, the acting of the aforementioned big three, and the hooker and a priest-teacher, too.

If you’d like to read my review of “St. Vincent” for my Monday installlment for my twice-weekly film blog on the wildly attractive Syracuse New Times site, click the link below.

Are you happy or annoyed when a favorite comedy actor shows up demonstrating dramatic chops, and why? What’s your favorite Bill Murray movie, and why? Would you rather go with Bill Murray to a horse track or bar, and why?

34 thoughts on “Bill Murray wins me over as a meanie with a small soft side

  1. That sounds like a cool movie Mark. I loved Murray in What about Bob. The Vietnam vets are a special crew and it would be interesting to see a safe one interact with a boy. I’ll see the movue as soon as it is available. Thanks.


  2. Oh, I felt “Groundhog Day,” had a deeper meaning about relationships and trying hard, over and over again to get things right! Loved Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in this. Sorry if it is misspelled! Smiles!


  3. I am so glad you agree with the critics I have noticed that believe this is a milder, gentler Bill Murray, with his own variations of ‘quirkiness’ and also, that Melissa McCarthy shows fine acting skills in this story. I need to see this, very soon! smiles, thanks, Mark!!


  4. Stripes because Ramos was in it, too, and the egg beater scene has stuck with me. I was a foodie before I knew I was a foodie. Ghostbusters was fun (had that marshmallow man), but Stripes was more low-key and I appreciate that. Oh, but Lost in Translation made me cry in a good way. My heart was broken, but for whatever reason I didn’t mind. (I usually do–hate movies that make me cry.) St. Vincent’s has made my list of Must-See. Thanks for your review ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. I want to see this sooooooooooooo much! I LOVE it when one of my favorites in any walk of life show amazing skills at something ELSE in life. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s fantastic! Great review, too, by the way.


  6. oh, i cannot wait to see this! i love him in his dramatic roles, my fav was ‘lost in translation.’ also saw him in an arsty film, ‘coffee and cigarettes,’ in a cameo role – interesting and ironic.


  7. This was an eye-opening post, Mark as I could only remember a few of his movies and did some research. Wow–he’s been in a slew of films! I agree with Georgia that he added a lot to Tootsie, and if you’ve never watched that, you are missing a terrific movie. Yes, Stripes, Caddyshack and What About Bob? are great humor films (my preference, of course), but my fave is Kingpin.
    So funny! ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. I saw St. Vincent and liked it a lot. Even tho Bill Murray is known primarily as a comedic actor I think he proved he has the dramatic chops when he did Lost in Translation. My favorite movie of his is Stripes. I love his off hand sarcasm. Even his small part in Tootsie made that movie better for me.


  9. I LOVE Bill Murray! What About Bob or Groundhog Day are my two favorites of his. When I saw the preview for this one, I thought it looked cute, but I couldn’t get over how old he looks! I hope it’s only makeup for this part.


    • ‘Stripes’ is a classic, Jim. I love the line, ‘Practicing Army, sir,’ as they do the ‘razzle-dazzle.’ Got me cracking up every time. I know you are not a TV guy, so therefore you do not get to make cable deposits to the film bank. You and MG should go see ‘Birdmand’ when it opens at Manlius Art Cinema next week. The trailers are phenomenal and every advance review I’ve read says it’s a must-see for Michael Keaton comeback. Want to go to Sunday matinee with Karen and I? Message me.


    • Wow, Penny. Top 10?! I’m only a two blog-a-week film freelancer, and you really want to put me to the task. My No. 1, stated when I took the job last year, is ‘Almost Famous.’ The star kid is a music critic, about my age in that time period. Loved the film so, so much. No. 2, my No. 1 from last year’s top 10 list, ‘The Way Way Back.’ The teen actor was phenomenal, coming-of-age story top-of-the-line, Steve Carell as bad-guy boyfriend fantastic. No. 3 will be my top film so far from this year, ‘Chef.’ Damn, Jon Favreau is great all-around as writer, director, star in this food truck family story gem. That’s all for now. Three kind of warm and fuzzies to start you off. One day I will give you a top 10 list good and proper, OK, and I reserve the right to change Nos. 2 and 3. ๐Ÿ™‚


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