St. Vincent (2014)

Directed By – Theodore Melfi

Screenplay By – Theodore Melfi

Cinematography By – John Lindley

Starring Bill Murray, Jaeden Lieberher, Melissa McCarthey & Naomi Watts

102 min.

This movie has Bill f’n Murray in it! Do I really need to say anything else? No. But I will.

St. Vincent is an excellent movie, it really is. Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher have a terrific chemistry together, although Bill Murray is always great with kids (see Meatballs (1979)). But still Jaeden Lieberher plays his part as Oliver perfectly. He’s scrawny, a bit small for his size, and does a great job at being the son of newly divorced parents without any friends living in a new house in a new area with his mother (a terrific Melissa McCarthey in an un-obnoxious role).

As coming-of-age movies are concerned St. Vincent ranks right up there with the best of them as it is not just the story of the boy but the story of his mentor. In fact, the movie opens and closes with Murray’s character and there is definitely an argument to be made that this is a coming-of-age tale for both main characters. One might even go so far to say it is Vincent’s story and not Oliver’s, although I wouldn’t entirely agree with that sentiment.

The worst, worst, part of this movie is Naomi Watts’ character the Russian, or God knows what, pregnant prostitute Daka. Naomi Watts has the worst most obviously fake accent I’ve ever heard on screen. In a movie that has both laughs and cries, maybe the accent is suppose to be a joke, but unfortunately it is a joke and one that took me out of the movie more so than not. Her character also sounds so stupid, like she just got off the boat from who know’s where and has no idea how the english language works or how to formulate a complete sentence. Literally, her character does not say a complete functional sentence throughout the entire movie. Does she have mental disabilities? No. Then what the hell is going on? The problem is that the character is necessary for the story and for the flow of the movie.

Go see St. Vincent because it is a damn good movie, but beware of Naomi Watts. Lucky for us we have way more Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher in this movie than that terrible terrible accent.

God Bless America

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

Directed By – Jim Jarmusch

Screenplay By – Jim Jarmusch

Cinematography By – Tom DiCillo, Frederick Elmes, Ellen Kuras, & Robby Müller

Starring Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Cate Blanchett, Jack White, Meg White, Alfred Molina, Steve Coogan, The GZA, RZA, & Bill Murray

95 min.

Well well well, what to say about Coffee and Cigarettes. For any viewer who has never seen a Jim Jarmusch movie, I wouldn’t suggest this a first film into the Jarmoosh world. The idea of this film is great, a series of conversational vignettes set around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. Like all Jarmusch films this one challenges the standard American movie format, and I would say with a good amount of success.

I did find it unusual as to how often in this movie Jarmusch decided to have the actors play themselves in their specific scene (i.e. Iggy Pop as Iggy Pop and Alfred Molina as Alfred Molina, etc.) Of course these actors were just playing characterizations of themselves, but the frequency of this technique was surprising as I found that the movie got less and less interesting as the vignettes continued to use this characterization technique. Needless to say, this is a Jarmusch movie so all the interactions were in fact intriguing with all different flows of conversation woven into each scene and relationship, with moments of brilliant acting mixed in with novice actors.

I was also slightly surprised that he chose to shoot in black and white for every vignette. Because he was doing so many I thought he would switch it up and play around with color but I am also not too surprised because it is Jarmusch I’m talking about. It was also such a quiet film which always slows down the pace.

Don’t watch this as your first Jarmusch movie but it is worth a view if you are experience with the director.

Bill Murray is fucking hilarious, but know that he is in only one vignette.