Ed reviews 'Get Low'

Bill Murray stars in 'Get Low.'

PG, 3.5 stars

A period piece starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy

Spacek. Right there, you know you've got a good movie. Plot? Aw, just make up

something and let the actors do what they do. Get Low is an appealing low-key mix of comedy, drama and

whimsy. The premise is inspired by something that really happened. The part the

writers made up to add extra drama is not presented terribly well, resulting in

a third act that left me mourning the unexplored possibilities more than the

plight of the main character. Still, I got to watch Robert Duvall, Bill Murray,

Sissy Spacek and a wonderful ensemble cast in action.

Get Low is an actors'

movie and it satisfies on that level. It could have been more, but it isn't.

I'm not sure whether the vague sense of disappointment I'm feeling as I write

this is because the story failed or because it succeeded. Here's what I mean.

The set-up for the film is that a hermit pays a pair of small-town morticians

to give him a funeral while he's still alive. The plan turns into a circus, but

not as big a one as you might expect. Seems the hermit has an agenda beyond

just grabbing attention.

Until just a few minutes ago, I thought that vague sense of

disappointment was because the actual funeral is far less wild than the set-up

makes you think it will be. The event happens, awkwardly and predictably, then

it's over and the assembled crowd stands around for a bit, then leaves, like

what generally happens at a real event instead of a written one. I'm wondering,

now, whether the vague sense of disappointment is not with the script, but

rather an empathic reaction to the hermit's situation. Such a tremendous

build-up for the poor soul, all leading to an anticlimax. That happens a lot. A

person broods over something traumatic for great periods of time, then finally

deals with the problem head-on — and the resolution turns out to be less

substantial than expected. There's a catharsis, certainly, but is that enough?

Oh my, I've wandered into the land of melancholy. Most

likely, I shouldn't assess a movie while actually writing the review. Had I

mulled it over first, then composed my thoughts, and then ... but I didn't and

there you go. So I guess maybe the story worked better than I first thought.

The best laid plans of mice and hermits and all that, you know.

While Get Low

certainly has a melancholy feel, it's not as depressing as I'm making it sound.

There's plenty of satisfying moments and lots of funny ones. Bill Murray is

wonderful as the funeral director who's shifty, but only as much as he needs to

be. Lucas Black costars as his assistant, the most upbeat of the major

characters. He's easy to relate to and very likable. Robert Duvall is the

hermit, of course, and he finds a way to keep this guy from blending in with

the other grizzled coots he's played. What a pleasure to watch him work. Sissy

Spacek deftly plays an individual who has big history with the hermit, with

Gerald McRaney and Bill Cobb adding strong support as well-intentioned

preachers. Kudos to Scott Cooper as well for being so credible as a local


I went into Get Low

with unrealistically high expectations. After reading this essay, you surely

won't have that problem. Hopefully, you'll be able to better appreciate this

slight, but quite agreeable character piece more easily on first viewing.

Incidentally, the remarkable Mr. Murray makes a two-word statement early in the

film that is one of the funniest I've heard in a very long time. I won't tell

you what the words are (you'll know when you hear them), but I can tell you

this: If I ever put together another rock band, that's what I'm naming the



L.A. Confidential


Curtis Hansen's cool crime thriller, starring Russell Crowe,

Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey, gets a screening as part of the IMA Summer Nights

series. What better way to watch Kim Basinger's Oscar-winning performance than

outside, behind the museum, with your lawn chair and picnic? See:


Lottery Ticket


Broad comedy about a young man living in the projects who

has to survive a three-day weekend after his opportunistic neighbors find out

he's holding a winning lottery ticket worth $350 million. Starring Bow Wow,

Brandon T. Jackson, Naturi Naughton, Loretta Devine and Ice Cube. 99 minutes.

Nanny McPhee Returns


Emma Thompson returns for the sequel to the hit British

family film about a magical nanny. This time Nanny McPhee and a group of kids

are evacuated from the city to a farm during wartime. 105 minutes.

Piranha 3D


Gore in 3D! It better be really good 3D or there's gonna be

trouble! Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Adam Scott and Ving Rhames star in

the story of a band of strangers that must band together to keep from becoming

fish food for prehistoric razor-toothed man-eating piranha. 89 minutes.

The Switch


Romantic comedy. An unmarried 40-year-old woman (Jennifer

Aniston) turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant. Seven years

later, she reunites with her best friend, who has been keeping a secret: he

replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own. Also starring Jason Bateman,

Juliette Wilson, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum. 100 minutes.

Vampires Suck


Spoof of vampire movies from the people who brought the

world Epic Movie, Disaster Movie and Meet

the Spartans. 80 minutes.


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

3.5 stars (PG-13)

Zippy comedy/adventure brimming over with comic book/video

game flourishes and pop culture references. Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun

of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), based on the

graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley. There's a plot, but it doesn't matter, as

the production is about posturing, not story. I found the first part of the

film intriguing but annoying. The smug tone, the stylistic doodling, the

in-your-face presentation of the characters, and Michael Cera doing his beta

male thang yet again. But as the movie progressed and I adjusted to its rhythm,

most of the annoyance faded and by the final third, I had a pretty good time.

With Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brei

Larson, Alison Pill, Audrey Plaza, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman. 112



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