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(2010) (Robert Duvall, Bill Murray) (PG-13)

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Drama: In the 1930s, a small Tennessee town comes alive when a notorious, local hermit decides to throw a funeral party for himself while he is still alive.
It's the 1930s and Felix Bush (ROBERT DUVALL) has lived as an elderly hermit on the outskirts of a rural Tennessee town for nearly four decades, harboring a tragic secret that has haunted him since he was a young man. Sensing that death is close, he decides to throw a funeral party for himself while still alive and invite anyone in the town -- or the county, for that matter -- who has a story to tell about him.

Felix hires Frank Quinn (BILL MURRAY), a down-on-his-luck local mortician, and his young assistant, Buddy (LUCAS BLACK), to help in the planning. Frank is all for it, especially after Felix produces a massive wad of cash. Buddy, though, has some misgivings about planning a funeral for a man who's still alive. Meanwhile, Buddy's wife Katie (LORI BETH EDGEMAN) worries about her open-hearted husband working for a man such as Felix who has such a vile reputation.

But all is not as it seems, especially as Felix reunites with two people who were important to him in the past: Mattie (SISSY SPACEK), a local woman he dated decades earlier; and Reverend Charlie Jackson (BILL COBBS), one of the few people who knows the whole truth about Felix's past. Felix decides to go through with the funeral party and plans to purge his soul of his pain and regret at it.

The film definitely skews older. But older teens with an interest in history, specifically the Depression-era time period, may have some interest.
For some thematic material and brief violent content.
  • ROBERT DUVALL plays a notorious hermit who lives on the outskirts of a small Tennessee town in the 1930s. He has lived alone and apart for nearly 40 years, inspiring much local gossip about the man's anger and propensity for violence. In reality, he hides a dark secret concerning his role in - SPOILER ALERT -- the accidental deaths of a married woman he once had an affair with and her husband - a secret he wants to finally tell at a funeral party for himself that he decides to throw while still alive. He is a violent man when pushed, a hard drinker, a smoker, and swears often.
  • BILL MURRAY plays the opportunistic mortician who seeks to cash in on Felix's desire to throw his own funeral while still alive. He is divorced and childless and is focused mostly on himself, as evidenced by his willingness to leave the town, his business, and his employee without telling anyone if Felix's funeral party falls through. He is a frequent drinker.
  • LUCAS BLACK plays Frank's good-hearted employee, who feels bad about possibly bilking Felix for a funeral before he is even dead. He is a married man and a father, and he lost his own parents in a tragic automobile accident when he was just a kid. He is a social drinker.
  • SISSY SPACEK plays Felix's former girlfriend, who he cheated on decades earlier with her sister. She went on to become a wife and mother, but continues to harbor some feelings toward Felix. She is shown to be a smoker in at least one scene.
  • BILL COBBS is a reverend and former friend of Felix's from when they were young men. He knows what Felix's secret is and reluctantly agrees to tell it to the town at Felix's funeral party if he is unable to get the words out.
  • LORI BETH EDGEMAN plays Buddy's wife, who chooses to believe many of the rumors spread about Felix over the years and is concerned that her husband will be helping such a notoriously vile man.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some mild sexually related dialogue is present.

    Violence consists of one man being beaten by an older man. Another man is hit over the head off-screen, but we see the aftereffects. The main character threatens several people throughout with death by shotgun. There are also several flashback sequences to a house on fire and people possibly being trapped inside. It's not graphic. But we are eventually told the story of who caused the blaze and who perished in the flames. Such scenes and moments of potential peril may prove to be unsettling and/or suspenseful for various viewers.

    Bad attitudes are present, as is some potentially imitative behavior, various thematic elements and tense family material. Drinking is present, as is smoking.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some of the main character's nightmares have a blurry, surreal quality that may cause one to look away from the screen.

  • Felix serves Buddy some spirit, possibly moonshine, with supper.
  • Frank drinks liquor from a flask on several occasions during the film.
  • Felix is shown drinking on his porch from a jar, which likely contains whiskey or some other spirit.
  • Felix and Frank share a whiskey in Frank's office.
  • Felix is shown swigging whiskey or some other spirit before his funeral party.
  • A boy is so scared of a gun-wielding Felix that he vomits in the old man's barn.
  • Felix serves Buddy cooked rabbit for dinner.
  • While remembering a time when he sold cars in January, Frank talks about a cold winter wind that goes up his backside and comes out a "fart in July."
  • We briefly see some blood from a head wound Buddy has after being hit on the head by an intruder.
  • Spurred on by his friends, a boy breaks Felix's window.
  • Most people who Felix comes in contact with say they have heard gossip and hearsay about the evils Felix has done in his life. Buddy, in particular, tells of one story he had heard as a boy that Felix had beat some men up in a fistfight.
  • Carl throws rocks at Felix and his horse and yells at the old man that he is not welcome in town.
  • Frank says he doesn't care for the local townspeople for living too long and not giving his mortuary business a steady stream of customers. He goes on to admire Chicago people for "knowing how to die."
  • Felix insinuates to Rev. Horton that he would like to "pay for salvation," producing a large wad of cash.
  • Frank covets Felix's stored-up wealth, stating, "Oooh, hermit money. That's good."
  • Scared of Felix, Frank sends the younger, less experienced Buddy to make the initial sales call for the funeral Felix wants.
  • Carl tells his poker buddies that he looks forward to dancing on Felix's grave.
  • Frank tells of a bank in town that can't be trusted and advises Felix to hold on to his cash or let him and Buddy look after it.
  • Felix asks Buddy to drive him to see a minister friend of his, but doesn't tell him where they are going or how long it will take to get there. He simply tells him to drive "north."
  • An unseen intruder breaks into Frank and Buddy's office and mortuary, looking for money. Whoever it is knocks Buddy out (off-camera) with a blow to the head, but leaves empty-handed.
  • When the pressure becomes too much for him, Felix tells Frank that he is going to call off the whole funeral party even though Frank and Buddy have put a considerable amount of work into the event and paid for certain things on credit.
  • Frank briefly swears in front of Buddy's wife and young child, but quickly apologizes.
  • Frank tells Charlie that he'll likely not return to town and abandon Buddy and his business obligations if Charlie does not come back with him and deliver the eulogy at Felix's funeral party.
  • Buddy learns that Frank left town with the money they had collected and were saving for Felix's funeral party.
  • Even after Felix makes a heart-wrenching confession (that he had an affair with Mattie's married sister) at his funeral party, attendees still go ahead with a raffle drawing to see who gets his property after he dies.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • The film opens with footage of a house being consumed with flames and a silhouetted man running frantically from the burning structure.
  • A boy who has just broken one of Felix's windows is scared after Felix shoots his gun in the air and appears to be stalking him. The boy and his friends run off without Felix firing another shot.
  • Carl throws rocks at Felix and his horse and one of the rocks startles the horse and Felix has a hard time getting the bucking animal back under control.
  • Felix has a nightmare about being in a house on fire that ends with a brief flash of a woman in white waiting for him at the end of a wooded, country road.
  • Buddy is working late at night at the mortuary when he hears someone enter the adjoining office. At first, he thinks it is Frank, but soon realizes it is not. We hear creaky floorboards. The scene cuts to some time later. Frank enters the office, with the furniture all scattered. He finds Buddy nursing a head wound given to him by the unseen intruder.
  • Felix collapses hard to the floor after confessing a past indiscretion to Mattie.
  • Frank draws his gun as a man enters his office late at night. He is startled that it is Felix, who draws his own rifle.
  • Felix fires his shotgun in the air to scare off some local boys trespassing on his property.
  • Felix takes his gun on a ride to town.
  • Felix comes up from behind Buddy and shoots his rifle, missing him on purpose but not by much.
  • Felix brings his rifle with him on a road trip in Buddy's car.
  • Frank draws his gun as a man enters his office late at night. He is startled that it is Felix, who draws his own rifle.
  • Phrases: "He didn't want to hear their bullsh*t stories," "Damn, you look pretty good," "That G-damn ball of money," "I built my own jail, and I stayed in it for 40 G-damn years!" "G-damn!" "You don't know how G-damn right you are," "You can tell everyone about him kicking your ass," "My ex-wife can kiss my ass," "I busted my ass for you," "Son of a bitch," "Crazy son of a bitch," "You asked for it, you ornery son of a bitch," "Sons of bitches!" "What the hell you doin' here?" "What in the hell is a funeral party?" "Get the hell out of here, boy," "Hell, I'll tell it all," "What the hell?" "Go to hell!" "The hell with it, and the hell with me," "Hell of a thing," "Oooh, hermit money. That's good" and "Crazy ol' nutter."
  • Felix wants to have his funeral while he is alive so he can attend, hear all the stories people have to tell about him, and confess a deep dark secret from his own past.
  • Felix puts up a sign that reads: "No Damn Trespassing!"
  • Felix chews what appears to be a toothpick or some small stick in several scenes throughout the film.
  • Carl tells his poker buddies that he looks forward to dancing on Felix's grave.
  • Felix brings his rifle with him often when leaving the house.
  • Felix asks Buddy to stop the car and let him out on a dark country road during a rainstorm. He then tells Buddy to go on home without him even though they are several miles from where Felix lives.
  • Frank briefly swears in front of Buddy's wife and young child, but quickly apologizes.
  • Felix fires his rifle, starting a boy trespassing on the old man's property.
  • Buddy is peering into Felix's window when suddenly a gunshot hits right by his ear, causing the young man to jump and turn to see Felix pointing his rifle at him.
  • A moderate amount of tense music occurs in the film, especially in those scenes where Felix is either remembering a house fire he was involved in or has a nightmare about the blaze.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "s" word, 10 hells, 5 S.O.B.s, 4 asses, 2 damns, 6 uses of "G-damn," and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Lord."
  • Felix puts up a sign that reads: "No Damn Trespassing!"
  • Felix mentions that he does not wear underwear.
  • Buddy's wife, Katie, turns away from the camera to breast feed their crying baby son. Buddy watches and jokes that he's starting to feel a bit weepy, too, and wouldn't mind being next.
  • Felix eventually confesses to Mattie and others that he had an adulterous affair with Mattie's long-dead sister as a young man and still loves the woman to this day.
  • Felix rides into town on his horse and is watched suspiciously by various townspeople, several of whom are shown smoking.
  • Felix enjoys a cigarette at bedtime.
  • Mattie is shown smoking while writing at her desk.
  • Felix is shown smoking before his funeral party.
  • Buddy mentions that his parents were killed in an automobile accident when he was a child and that the ensuing funeral was so beautiful, he eventually decided to become a mortician.
  • Mattie learns that her long-dead sister was having an affair with Felix, even though Mattie was dating him at the time.
  • On a couple of occasions throughout the film, Frank makes mention of a marriage that ended badly.
  • Buddy and Katie have several discussions about whether it is the right thing to do to take Felix's money for a funeral that will be held while the man is still alive. Katie feels uncomfortable throughout the film that her husband is working with and for a man with such a notorious reputation.
  • The Depression era.
  • Small-town gossip, especially with regard to local eccentrics.
  • Adultery.
  • Divorce.
  • The psychology of the elderly.
  • Funerals and morticians.
  • Carl throws rocks at Felix and his horse and yells at the old man that he is not welcome in town. One of the rocks startles the horse and Felix has a hard time getting him back under control. Felix then turns and hits Carl in the stomach and punches him to the ground.
  • Felix shoots at a snooping Buddy, purposefully but narrowly missing his head.
  • Buddy tells about a story he heard as a boy that Felix had beat some men up in a fistfight.
  • Buddy mentions that his parents were killed in an automobile accident when he was a child.
  • Off-camera, Buddy is knocked unconscious by an unseen intruder, but we do see some blood on Buddy's head after that.
  • MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: Throughout the film, Felix harbors a deep, dark secret which he hopes to purge at his funeral party. He takes the stage at the party and proceeds to tell those gathered that he had an affair with Mattie's sister, Mary Lee, and they planned to run off together. Mary Lee's husband learned of the affair. When Felix came to claim the woman, he noticed that the husband was holding a bloody hammer and had set the first floor of the house on fire. The two men fought. Felix bested the man and found Mary Lee bloodied upstairs. In his haste, he knocked over a lamp that set the second floor ablaze. He and Mary Lee's husband then fought again during which he saw Mary Lee catch on fire. Felix doesn't recall if he jumped out the window to save himself or if the husband pushed him, but the next thing he remembers is flying through the air, landing on the ground below, and fleeing the house scared and in anguish. We see none of this. It's all told by Felix with the camera trained square on his face with the occasional cutaway to other characters listening.

  • Reviewed September 6, 2010 / Posted September 10, 2010

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