Curmudgeon is such a wonderful word! Saying it, I see the faces of cranky old coots, limping away while cursing into their flasks, damning everybody and their brother for being such a darn nuisance.
Big screen curmudgeons like W.C. Fields have been around since the beginning of cinema. Bill Murray is one of the funniest, most expressive and most melancholy specimens of this moody species. I suggest you consider St. Vincent an ode to the curmudgeon in general, and Bill Murray, the most curmudgeonly actor of his generation, above all.
This dramedy revolves around the burgeoning mentor-disciple relationship between Murray's alcoholic Vietnam vet, Vincent, and his neighbor's son, Oliver.
An unlikely babysitter to begin with, Vincent teaches the kid how to gamble and get a barkeeper to pay attention. If you have seen curmudgeon-centric comedies like As Good As It Gets or Bad Santa you know the up-and-downs the relationship has to overcome. Certain Wes Anderson-esque directorial flourishes also seem a bit tired, such as the whimsical slow motion montages or the constant use of fluffy indie songs (using the Green Day cover of I Fought the Law is especially grating).
But in its decidedly sentimental third act - think a slightly more subtle Scent of a Woman - St. Vincent makes a simple declaration of love to its main character and I am too much of a Bill Murray fan to not fall for it. It helps that the star gives one of his most tender and fragile performances (Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd are great too).
In said rousing finale, St. Vincent makes a case that even saints aren't perfect. Neither are heartfelt dramedies like this one. You should give them a watch nevertheless!
Make the acquaintance of Bill Murray's charming curmudgeon October 10th!