ST. VINCENT struck me as a pretty good movie with great acting, especially from Bill Murray as the titular old curmudgeon and newcomer child actor Jaeden Lieberher as Oliver, the kid he ends up babysitting. Also a fine turn by Melissa McCarthy as Oliver's overstressed mother, but a somewhat embarrassing turn from Naomi Watts as the pregnant Russian prostitute who Vincent fancies.
Then this movie grew on me as I thought about it more. At fist it seems like an old-curmudgeon-meets-sweet-kid-and-becomes-a-nice-guy film. And it follows a lot of those cliches. He helps out the kid (in questionable ways, like at the racetrack and in a bar,) teaches him to stand up to bullies, and they're all a big family in the end. But the key is that Vincent never becomes a nice guy. In many ways he was a nice guy--a saint, even--before they met. He was a war hero. He still takes care of his ailing wife, spending money he doesn't have to keep her in the nicest nursing home and does her laundry every week, even though she doesn't recognize him anymore. He's not a curmudgeon from choice, he's a curmudgeon who has had the life nearly beaten out of him, but still persists. The grand transition in the movie isn't in the title character, it's in how everyone sees him--and therefore it's in the audience. And that's a pretty awesome transition.
Of course, it was easy for me because I already like old curmudgeons and am looking forward to being one some day.
Running Time: 102 minutes
My Total Minutes: 374,781