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Film / St. Vincent (2014)

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A 2014 dramedy film directed by Theodore Melfi and starring Bill Murray.

Vincent MacKenna (Murray) is a jaded, alcoholic Vietnam vet from Brooklyn, and his life is falling apart around him — his wife Sandy is in extremely poor health and he's in dire financial straits. When Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), a woman in the midst of a divorce, moves in next door with her young son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), Vincent reluctantly begins to develop a friendship with the boy.


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This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Applesauce: Vincent lives in Brooklyn, and most of the film takes place in New York.
  • Boxing Lesson: A not-so-lighthearted/exaggerated version of this trope comes into play when Vincent, a veteran who served in Vietnam, teaches Oliver how to fight.
  • The Bully: As a new transfer student, Oliver is easy pickings for these. Turns into Defeat Equals Friendship once Vincent teaches him a thing or two about fighting.
  • Call-Back: While Vincent is at the hospital waiting for his daughter to be born, Oliver shows him a vending machine trick he learned from Daka earlier in the film.
  • Combat Pragmatism: Vincent knows very well that Oliver has no chance in a straight fight, and teaches him to break his opponent's nose as an opening move. It works.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: When Oliver finally gets fed up with his bully and beats him up, they bond in detention and end up becoming best friends.
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  • Dirty Old Man: Vincent is married and clearly still in love with his wife, but she's in a nursing home with advanced dementia, so he maintains a relationship with a prostitute on the side.
  • Dodge Ball Is Hell: When Oliver's bully goes after him in a game of dodgeball, he snaps.
  • Epic Fail: In an attempt to settle his debt with a Loan Shark, Vincent steals a bunch of drugs from a medical care facility. However, he grabbed a bunch of drugs out of the drawer indiscriminately, and the drug dealer he wishes to sell them to informs him that much of his haul is for conditions such as epilepsy and are not useful in getting high.
  • The Gambler: Vincent is a regular at the racetrack. However, he usually picks losers, which doesn't help him when he gets in deep with loan sharks.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Vincent gets home from the hospital, his answering machine is filled with messages from the facility where his wife was being cared for. He can figure out the subtext of the messages and breaks down.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Daka cleans up Vincent's place before he returns after his stroke and makes him healthy food for a change, so she seems to at least care about his health. She also seems like she truly cares for their child.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Towards the end of the film, Oliver shows Vincent how to get two snacks out of a vending machine when you only pay for one. Vincent tells him that it's technically stealing, but Vin is hardly one to talk given his previous antics in the film, including a scene where he steals medicine to sell to a drug dealer to get money to keep his wife in medical care.
  • The Illegal:
    • The inept moving crew in the beginning of the film may or may not be this; Vincent's accusations imply he believes they might be.
    • Subverted in the case of the supervisor Oliver's dad hires. Vincent threatens to call Immigration on her, but she informs him that she is a citizen.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vincent is a cantankerous old bastard who generally lives alone, pushing away everyone but his cat and his prostitute. We learn, though, that he's still impressively devoted to his wife, who can no longer even recognize him, and generally treats everyone in his life better than he treats himself. Once Oliver gets to know him, they become fast friends.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Oliver's father apparently cheated on Maggie repeatedly, and she's very upset when he gets joint custody. The fact is, though, he's still Oliver's father, and by all indications, cares about his son. He also makes the very good point that Maggie has a very demanding job, which makes impossible for her to be with Oliver full-time, and which resulted in her leaving him with a man she barely knew. Oliver admits, at one point, that he missed spending time with his father, but didn't want to hurt his mother by telling her.
  • Killed Offscreen: Sandy dies while Vincent is in the hospital after his stroke. She's cremated because the facility was unable to contact him in case he wanted any other action to be taken.
  • Loan Shark: Vincent is in deep with one; when he calls around with a gun and some muscle and tries to steal Vincent's wife's jewelry to pay off the debt, Vincent suffers a stroke.
  • May–December Romance: Vincent and Daka show signs of this. Vincent was old enough to have served in Vietnam; Daka is young enough to have the ability to conceive his child.
  • New Transfer Student: Oliver becomes one when he moves into Vincent's neighborhood. He is summarily made into a target for The Bully.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Aside from hanging out with a prostitute, Vincent took Oliver to a racetrack and a bar while babysitting him. This ends up costing Oliver’s mother half-custody when Oliver’s father takes her to court.
  • Odd Friendship: A cantankerous, disheveled, alcoholic veteran, and a shy, scared kid in the midst of trying to deal with his parent's divorce.
  • Parental Substitute: Vincent becomes a father-figure to Oliver, whose own father isn't exactly a nice guy.
  • Parent Produced Project: Inverted, or nearly so: The big project in Oliver's class is about modern "saints", and in his speech before the presentation he jokes that most of the students probably selected a parent.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Maggie forbids Oliver from hanging around Vincent, he still drops by to speak to him. Vincent tells Oliver to get lost; Oliver responds with a ten-year-old's equivalent of this.
  • Retired Badass: Double subverted. Vincent mentions having been in Vietnam, but dismisses it as maybe having imagined it. Oliver later finds evidence that Vincent did fight in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star for bravery.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Daka, the pregnant Russian exotic dancer, who moonlights as Vincent's on-call prostitute. Whether it's his kid or not is left ambiguous.
  • Smoking Is Cool: If Vincent is anything to go by, anyway. He even has a cigarette (albeit an unlit one) in his mouth as he has a wheelchair race with Oliver in the hospital.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The ramifications of Vincent losing all of Oliver's previous winnings at the racetrack are never addressed.
    • The loan sharks who come after Vincent are also completely forgotten after they leave Vincent lying on the floor while he is having a stroke. Maybe they thought he was dead?
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Maggie's husband was a philanderer, and it broke apart their marriage.
    • Vincent sleeps with a prostitute despite his wife still being alive, and there seem to be some sparks between them. Played with in that Vincent does still care deeply about Sandy but she has long since forgotten who he is.

Alternative Title(s): St Vincent

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