Get Low 
Director: Aaron Schneider
Don’t let the title fool you — this is not a film about Lil’ Jon & the East Side Boyz.
Get Low tells the tale of Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), a reclusive mountain man living in 1930’s Tennessee. One day he receives word that a past acquaintance died due to old age. This gets Felix to think about his own life and how he is near the end of the road himself. On a rare venture into town, he stops by the funeral home and makes an odd request: he wants to have a funeral for himself while he’s still alive. The funeral’s owner (Bill Murray) and his ever-ready understudy (Lucas Black) are dumbfounded by this question, but agree to throw him a “funeral party.” Bush’s goal for this party is for people to tell stories about him (since he has developed quite the reputation because of his living habits), and to finally tell the secret as to why he has been a recluse for the last 40 years.
I found this to be an interesting plot concept, and apparently it is based on a true story. However, I was initially intrigued by this movie largely due to its cast. Seriously, there are some masters at work here. Robert Duvall is excellent as an old hermit, effortlessly portraying a man who strikes terror to those who only know the urban legends, yet also showing a polite and witty man to those who get to know him. Bill Murray is also on the top of his game as the shady funeral director who will do anything for a quick buck (i.e. perform a funeral for a living man). Although there are questions about his character, the funeral director comes across as a likable guy, which is very much to Murray’s credit. I haven’t really seen much from Lucas Black before, but he holds his own against the legends, and I’m sure he had the time of his life on set with them. A couple other greats have small roles as well — Sissy Spacek plays an old flame who knew Felix way back in the day, and Bill Cobbs is a reverend who is perhaps the only person who actually knows Bush’s secret.
While the acting certainly shines, the movie itself is slow and takes its sweet time to really get anywhere. This isn’t a huge problem since it really is a delight to watch these actors on screen, but the script could have been livened up a bit. As one would expect, the party is hyped up throughout the movie. The funeral director spends significant time marketing the event and trying to get a large turnout, even getting Felix to appear on a radio show to help bring in people to tell stories about him. Unfortunately, by the time the party actually comes, it is a bit anticlimactic. The movie hypes up what will happen at the event, but doesn’t deliver on everything promised. I couldn’t help but feel a tad ripped off in the end.
Still, even with its shortcomings Get Low is a good first effort from director Aaron Schneider. A stronger script could have taken this movie to another level, but it does just enough to get by thanks to its fantastic cast.