In doing movie reviews, I don’t feel the need to provide the reader with a detailed analysis of the plot or various filmmaking techniques. I leave that to the experts at Rotten Tomato, Fandango, or any of a dozen similar sites. What I want to do is tell you why a film is a good bet for Geezers. In reviewing St. Vincent staring Bill Murray (who is now officially a geezer), I’ll start by giving you a taste of the first scene and the last scene in the movie. Neither has a whole lot to do with the main plot, but do give you a feel for the entire movie.
Man in a bar tells a joke—
“A women answers a knock on the door and an Irish man asks if she has any work he can do. She responds that she needs to have her porch painted. He agrees and two hours later he knocks again and tells her he’s finished. As he is leaving he says,”Lady, just so you know, that wasn’t a Porsche, it was a BMW.”
And then just silence—you figure it out for yourself.
Man lying in a lounge chair listening to an old cassette player with Bob Dylan music in the background. He’s half-asleep in the chair, smoking a cigarette, and pointing a hose nozzle and spraying water randomly at anything (including the sandals with socks he’s wearing) around him. The man is kind of introspective but aimless, in the moment but somewhere else. It’s kind of like Bill Murray himself—both the real life and the movie character make you think—what planet is this guy from?
Maybe these scenes don’t seem that earth shaking, but, again, you have to remember, they’re being done by Bill Murray. The most one-a-kind-actor I have ever had the pleasure of watching on screen.
In this movie Murray is a crotchety, old geezer. He plays a role not unlike the real life of the poet Charles Bukowski (Yea, he was a poet in LA and I know you have never heard of him). Bukowski wrote about life as a geezer where he lived in a run down part of the city, was a hard drinker, had friends that were either down-and-outers or barflies, and, regardless of sporadic success as a writer, always lived day-to-day. His forte in life was being broke and betting the horse races (which are not mutually exclusive).
Now imagine Bukowski being portrayed by Bill Murray who finds himself suddenly intertwined with a 12-year old, precocious boy and his caring, but overwhelmed mom. That’s it. Any more and I will ruin the film for you.
No one but Bill Murray could have done justice to this movie. Just as you think he’s sleepwalking through his role, he hits you with stunning insight or a hilarious line.
Think of the movies Bill Murray has been in: Lost in Translation, Ghostbusters, Rushmore, Caddy Shack, Hyde Park on the Hudson, Ground Hog Day, What About Bob?, Broken Flowers, and Meatballs. And what do all these movies have in common—well—absolutely nothing except a perfect performance every time by Murray. To me, he’s the best actor out there today. I hope, like John Wayne, he gets an Oscar (he’s only been nominated) at the end of his career—he damn well deserves one.
Bill just doesn’t “do” comedy like anyone else. In St. Vincent he is a mean, dirty, self-centered ass one moment and then—wait—suddenly he’s a compassionate, caring, funny guy who makes you laugh real laughs (as opposed to Dumb and Dumber laughs [but any laugh is a good laugh]).
For some of you, this will be a gut-wrenching movie because it deals with things Geezers hope they will never have to face. But a phrase used in the movie may sum it all up—“It is, what it is.” If this film has a message, it’s that we all have to cope with whatever life offers up, but, one way or the other, we all get through it. So while we’re at it, lets just have a good laugh. This movie provides plenty of those.
Note: Most poets are read almost exclusively by other poets. But you’re a Geezer, you can do whatever you want. Charles Bukowski wrote hundreds of poems collected in books like What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire. Try reading Bukowski—half his poems are terrible or redundant, but the other half……..
Doing things that you have never done before is what life is all about.