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Get Low (2010)

September 30, 2010

7/10 After Parties

An awesome cast with a decent script.

Get Low is about about a backwoods Tennessee hermit in the 1930s who, after holing himself off from civilization for four decades and thus developing a reputation somewhere along the lines of a bridge troll who eats children, up and decides during the few remaining days he’s got left that he wants to throw a funeral extravaganza for himself while he’s still alive. So he teams up with the owner of a failing funeral parlor and invites the whole damn state along for the big bash while struggling to come to terms with his own checkered past.

And is it just me or does this movie’s title make it seem like Lil’ John should have something to do with all this?

Anyway, it’s the debut effort by director Aaron Schneider, and while I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to see what he’s gonna come up with next, he does a good job setting the mood. It ain’t flashy, it ain’t loud and while I can understand folks pegging this baby as “slow”, it’s more a movie that takes it time than anything else. And that’s nice, it goes well with the simplicity of the setting and the mild-mannered characters involved. Altogether, pretty good job, but not a whole lot to write home about either.

But then there’s the script which, on the one hand, does a good job of creating an interesting story out of a good premise that’s apparently based on actual events, but on the other hand, doesn’t manage to do a whole lot with dialogue. And I guess the reasons behind that gripe tie into the cast, because if Bill Murray, Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek can’t manage to turn their lines into the coolest damn thing since the Model T, it’s probably the writer’s fault. Yeah, it’s a dramedy, but it was just one of those situations where I ended up being the youngest one in the theater by a couple decades and everyone seemed to be laughing but me. Not saying it’s a generational thing necessarily, but I don’t know, it felt pretty weak in this regard. But when it’s serious, it works and it does well to give all the characters a chance to bare everything they’ve got.

But like I said, the cast is why I saw this in the first place and they’re what bring it up from a 6. Bill Murray plays the town undertaker who seems an awful lot like the dignified version of his ambulance-chasing lawyer in Wild Things (which is a good thing), and he continues to be the man, but you probably already knew that. Sissy Spacek also rocks as the woodsman’s former fling, she’s only getting better with age, she continues to prove that she’s one of the all-time legends, but you probably already knew that, too.

And Robert Duvall is great as the most curmudgeonly bastard you’ll see all year, Felix Bush. He overdoes it a bit during his big sendoff at the end, but other than that, he just plays his cool-ass self like he always has and it works like gangbusters. Man, Duvall is such a perfect example of that old school, naturally gruff, yet wise attitude that not a whole lot of actors possess any more. Bush is a solid and relatively fascinating protagonist to begin with, but Rob really brings him to another level.

Lot of old school street cred going around here, actually. Nothin’ wrong with that.

So judging by the unreal trio of lead actors here and the most awesome idea of throwing a pre-death rave party in the woods to work off of, I guess I expected more from Get Low and wish it hadn’t leaned so close to being forgettable. It’s still good stuff and I can’t knock it for not turning into an excuse for Robert Duvall to grow a Grizzly Adams beard, drink Crunk Juice out of a goblet and start yelling “SKEET, SKEET, SKEET, SKEET, SKEET!” before they throw his ass in a coffin, but the script definitely could have been sharper. Still, hard not to recommend anything with Murray in it these days.

Nice to see a good ol’ simple movie every once in a while, too. Man, what the hell did they do to pass the time back then?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 9:39 pm

    Yeah, I enjoyed it, but given the cast and premise, it was rather vanilla.

    Murray’s the man.

    • October 1, 2010 10:12 am

      “Vanilla”. Perfect word, man.

      And Murray is so the man.


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