Want to see a movie with a positive depiction of funeral service? No, it's not "Eat Pray Love" or "The Expendables." At least not as far as I know, though I haven't seen either movie. It's "Get Low," which is harder to find, but has some star power (Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek) and a MUCH better Rotten Tomatoes rating than those blockbusters I just named--85 percent vs. 38 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Don't trust movie critics? How about this: Brenda Clough, ICCFA office manager and book reviewer, and I saw the movie recently and highly recommend it. You can check out the reviews and find out if it's playing near you at Rotten Tomatoes, which also has some clips you can view:
Here's a direct link to a clip of funeral home owner Frank Quinn (played by Bill Murray) explaining to employee Buddy why he should be the one to venture past the "No Trespassing" signs to knock on the door of a cantankerous and trigger-happy hermit (Robert Duval) with their funeral sales offer. Suffice it to say that Quinn is no Gary O'Sullivan:
And here's a direct link to the clip of Quinn and Buddy reacting to the hermit's request for a "funeral party":
Here is Brenda's review:
GET LOW is that very rare movie with a funeral director as the hero. Two, actually. Frank Quinn, owner of Quinn Funeral Home, and his faithful assistant, Buddy, take on the ultimate in preneed planning. They plan and hold a funeral for hermit Felix Bush, who hasn’t died yet.
The challenges of running a funeral home in a small Southern town during the Depression are gently funny when Bill Murray is the star. As Quinn he seizes on the possible bonanza of a massive funeral and helps Bush achieve his goal: not only holding a big party, but resolving past secrets. The younger FD Buddy makes frequent visits to the old recluse and puts in some stellar personal service, chauffeuring Bush around in the antique hearse and getting to know him.
The number of modern funeral features in this movie is quite notable. The funeral director doesn’t just sell caskets but is the event planner and facilitator. He buys old Bush clothing and shoes, a haircut, and when things get difficult he moves mountains to get the funeral to happen. The actual event features not only food, drink, and a live mountain-music band, but a lottery drawing. There’s even a pet cemetery!
In all this is a very positive depiction of the industry, and does us proud. As an ‘art’ film it probably might not see release in your local multiplex, but it’s sure to be available on DVD.
GET LOW, starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, from Sony Classics. Website www.sonyclassics.com/getlow/