Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Weekend Update: Looking for a Good Movie and Some New Music?

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Are you looking for a good movie this weekend? Check out our review of St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray below.

And if you would like to get a head start on listening to Trip Lee’s new album Rise, which isn’t released until Tuesday, you can listen to it here

Have a great weekend!

St. VincentSt. Vincent, rated PG-13

I’ve been a Bill Murray fan since his three years (1977-1980) on Saturday Night Live. He is an extremely versatile actor, equally able to handle serious roles (received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in Lost in Translation) as well as comedic ones (Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack, etc.). I’d been looking forward to this film since seeing the trailer months ago, which made the film appear to be a comedy. Although I very much enjoyed the film, especially the excellent acting performances, the film was much heavier and more serious than expected. Murray’s role as the cantankerous, heavy drinking and broke Vincent is a combination of Bill Murray’s serious and comedic roles, leaning more on the serious side, showing us his depth as an actor. Like all of us, Vincent is flawed, a combination of good and bad.

Vincent owes everyone money – Daka the pregnant prostitute he sees weekly but also cares about (played by Naomi Watts, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in The Impossible), Zucko his bookie (Terrance Howard) and the owner of a long term care facility. We assume he is retired. He drives an old car and lives in a modest and not very clean home with his cat Felix, perhaps his only friend.

After coming home drunk and knocking over the fence in his front yard, Vincent hits his head and passes out on the kitchen floor only to be awoken the next morning hearing employees from a moving company arguing. They had just hit a large tree in Vincent’s front yard, knocking off a large limb that fell on Vincent’s car in the driveway. Vincent is furious and seizing the opportunity also blames them for knocking over his fence.

The movers are there to help Maggie (Melissa McCarthy in a likeable role for once) and her young son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) move in. Maggie’s husband has had multiple affairs and she has moved out with Oliver hoping for a fresh start. Oliver attends a Catholic school and has the likeable Brother Geraghty (Chris O’Dowd) as his teacher. Maggie works long hours at a local hospital to pay for the private school as Oliver’s father isn’t helping them with anything. She often comes home late, so she agrees to pay Vincent (who desperately needs the money) to babysit Oliver.

Soon, the two develop an unconventional relationship – the gruff Vincent and the small and shy Oliver. Vincent is certainly not your typical babysitter, and Maggie, who really doesn’t know anything about Vincent, has no idea what is taking place while she’s at work.

Murray delivers a very strong performance as does the young Lieberher (10 years old when he filmed the movie) and McCarthy, who is finally allowed to show what she can do in a serious role after playing the same over-the-top one-dimensional characters in films such as Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, The Heat and Tammy. I also really liked Chris O’Dowd’s humorous performance as Oliver’s teacher.

The theatre included a number of children when we saw the film. They were exposed to a good deal of adult language, a brief sex scene (no nudity), and a scene in a strip club (no nudity). This is not a children’s film, but one mature teens and adults would enjoy.

I mark the film down a half a star for its dismissive attitude toward Christianity. Although Oliver attends a Catholic school, he states that he thinks he is Jewish, while the class also contains Buddhists and a whole lot of “I don’t knows”. And when Vincent is asked to pray before a meal, he bows his head but eventually is unable to utter a prayer.

If you can get past these content concerns, you’ll be treated to a memorable performance from Murray.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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