Movie reviews: 'Father Stu', 'Memory'

Fred Hawson

Posted at May 24 2022 06:49 AM


Director: Rosalind Ross
Screenplay: Rosalind Ross

Father Stu

Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) was an amateur boxer who lived in Montana with his mother Kathleen (Jacki Weaver). As the boxing was going nowhere, Stuart moved to Hollywood, where his alcoholic father Bill (Mel Gibson) lived, in the hope of becoming an actor. At his day job at the supermarket, he was smitten by the charms of Carmen (Teresa Ruiz). Before accepting him as a suitor though, Carmen wanted him to be a baptized Catholic.

From there, Stuart would face a major health crisis followed by another, even more debilitating one. After a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stuart felt the calling to become a priest. His sudden decision did not sit well with Carmen, who wanted him to marry her, or his atheist parents who had long lost their faith when they lost another son in childhood. Despite resistance from Monsignor Kelly (Malcolm McDowell), Stuart staunchly pursued his dream against all odds.

This biopic was an old-fashioned melodrama at heart, spiced up by Stuart's profane language and commentary about Catholics and priesthood. Now 50 years old, Mark Wahlberg was obviously too old to play Stuart as a younger man (the real Stuart actually passed away at the age of 50). Anyhow, he nailed the dramatic moments here, and even underwent a major physical transformation. The moving ending surprise was beautifully executed. 


Director: Martin Campbell
Screenplay: Dario Scardapane


Alex Lewis (Liam Neeson) was a senior assassin-for-hire. When he approached his target for his latest contract, he saw that it was 13-year old Beatriz (Mia Sanchez). He aborted his mission and instead went drinking in a bar, picking up a random woman to spend the night with. The next day, he learned that Beatriz was murdered anyway. However, because of his ongoing battle with Alzheimer's disease, he could not remember if he really did it or not.

Aside from Liam Neeson, there were a couple more familiar names in this B-action flick, both of whom I did not recognize right away the way they looked here. Guy Pearce, made up to look Mexican-American, played FBI agent Vincent Serra, who rescued Beatriz from her abusive father who prostituted her. Monica Bellucci, heavily made-up to look like Morticia Addams, played the business tycoon who hired Alex in the first place. 

For a film entitled "Memory," it was annoying how the Alzheimers of Alex did not have a more important role in the plot. Instead, we just see Alex being forgetful, which is not really a big shock because a 70-year-old man usually is, assassin or not. It was not common for Neeson to play an anti-hero, but of course it was no surprise that the ruthless hired killer Alex just so happened to have a soft spot for kids. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."