St. Vincent


Last Saturday, I went to see Nightcrawler. When I got to the ticket booth, I was told that it had just sold out. I didn’t feel like going home. I saw that St. Vincent, which I had heard was receiving good reviews, was playing at the same time, so I decided to see that. After watching it, I felt that I might just as well have gone home.

Bill Murray plays Vincent MacKenna, a grouchy old coot who spends most of his time at bars and racetracks. Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), moves in next door to him with her son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Just as you expect, Vincent ends up befriending Oliver. After a series of misadventures and scenes of Vincent being an asshole, Oliver realizes that Vincent isn’t really a bad person, and everyone lives happily ever after.

The early scenes in this film gave me some hope that it would not be just another run-of-the-mill “feel good” movie. Alas, writer/director Theodore Melfi decides to play it safe, while appearing to be “edgy” by having Vincent make racist comments. Also, he leaves loose ends. In one scene, Vincent steals a large amount of money from Oliver. Neither Oliver nor any of the other characters refer to this later in the film.

As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I don’t care for this whole genre of “feel good” movies. Yes, life is worth living, and, yes, most people are not entirely bad. My question is this: why is it so hard for Hollywood filmmakers to make this point in a way that is not contrived and dishonest?

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