Coming to Bluray from writer/director Rosalind Ross and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of the most unexpected change of life for FATHER STU.
Living in Montana in the 80’s, amateur boxer Stu Long (Mark Wahlberg) has a quick wit and a serious ego problem. No one knows that better than Mom Kathleen (Jacki Weaver) who seems to always be rescuing her son from trouble. She is good at it considering her life and marriage to Stu’s estranged father Bill (Mel Gibson).
All of this is caused by a rift between Stu, Mom and Dad when his younger brother died breaking the family apart. After a recent boxing match, Stu learns he should not be fighting anymore. That’s when he gets the bright idea to move to Southern California getting a job at a grocery store hoping it will get him discovered as an actor.
All it gets him is time in jail! Back at the grocery store, Stu meets Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) and is instantly smitten. Learning she is a Sunday school teacher; he finds himself at church and even agrees to be baptized. Getting an apartment and cleaning up his life, Stu gets a chance to do an infomercial. Having a drink, a stranger tells Stu not to ride his motorcycle home.
Ignoring the stranger, he heads out and crashes into a car and run over by another leaving him close to death. While lying in the street, Stu sees a beautiful angelic woman who says he will not die. At the hospital, and close to death, Mom, Dad and even Carmen come to help him recover.
When he and Carmen get closer, the young woman has no idea what has come to Stu. He believes that the call has come, and that Stu must enter the priesthood, which is not exactly what Carmen wanted to hear. Having to convince Monsignor Kelly (Malcolm McDowell) to allow him into the seminary, he also has to prove himself to friends Jacob (Cody Fern) and Ham (Aaron Moten).
Reaching out into a community in the only way Stu knows how, people listen to him. Maybe it is in the way he says it or maybe it is that he truly believes in change, but people listen. One day while playing basketball with friends, Stu literally falls ill only to discover he has inclusion body myositis, a rare disease.
And with that, the church decides that perhaps his illness is not conducive to being a priest. Like his whole life – he has to prove himself right for the job!
Wahlberg as Stu is a Tasmanian devil whirling through one thing after another and all destructive. Trying to get through the guilt of his younger brother and the estranged relationship with his father, it is Mom that tries to keep it all together. Wahlberg uses his fast wit speaking and edgy charm to bring Stu and Father Stu to life.
Weaver as Mom Kathleen has been dealing with both father and son for so many years that she seems to take it all in stride. Supporting her son in whatever idea he comes up with for his life, she takes it all in stride and in motherly love. Weaver is just so darn versatile that she can go from sweetly threatening a character to just being sweet period.
Gibson as Dad Bill has his own demons, and he certainly does not have a problem expressing himself. That makes the saying “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” believable between father and son. Supporting his son is not something Bill does well as they have been at odds for so long that neither but, things are about to change. Gibson gives the gruff older guy with the sprinkles of sarcasm and father-son exchanges his best shot.
Ruiz as Carmen is a young woman who has a strong faith and wants Stu to share in that. She does not quite expect the turn of events in their lives yet still remains strong in her friendship with Stu. Ruiz in this character is so sweet and strong. Moten as Ham becomes the spiritual friend Stu needs along with Fern as Jacob.
McDowell as Monsignor Kelly does not believe in Stu when they first meet but follows him with interest. Feeling as if he is a lost cause, it becomes clear that this particular lost cause has found something important for his life. I am thrilled to see McDowell in the film.
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Bonus Materials include You Don’t Know Stu: More About Father Stuart Long and Over 10 Minutes of Deleted Scenes.
FATHER STU is an inspirational film based on the life of Stuart Ignatius Long. A football player in his younger years, Long became a Golden Gloves heavyweight and graduated Carroll College with a degree in English Lit and Writing. This film is only a small glimpse into his journey from regular guy to Father Stu.
The film’s story moves about as fast as Wahlberg’s delivery of his lines. It is a journey of constantly seeking but never quite understanding why things did not work out. It took a slide on the asphalt for the most unusual calling comes to Stu Long.
Even though his friends and family might not have understood the path he was taking, he did not seem to need it. The path was clear, and nothing was going to stop Stu from following the call.
In the end – God wanted a fighter and He found one!