Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bill Murray Is America's Greatest Living Actor

One of the HD channels was running a mini movie marathon tonight, and I suddenly realized just how many great movies Bill Murray has starred in.

Most people start with Caddyshack, but don't over look The Rutles (Spinal Tap before there was a Spinal Tap) done by a Monty Python/SNL hybrid cast. Next comes Meatballs, a pretty decent summercamp movie. Compare it to the modern versions, say the American Pie version. Which would you rather watch with your kids? Notable also because this is the beginning of the Ivan Reitman/Bill Murray partnership that is going to work so well together in the future (Stripes, Ghostbusters).

He follows this up with Where The Buffalo Roam (he plays Hunter S. Thompson) This movie doesn't get the respect it deserves. Should be a cult classic.

Next comes the part that broke him wide open...Caddyshack. A great role in a great movie. Sadly, younger audiences don't seem to get it...but how many thousands of boys have memorized his "on the green" monologue? This begins his partnership with Harold Ramis (Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day).

Stripes quickly follows, another comedy classic. The definitive military comedy for at least two generations.

He has a supporting role in Tootsie, which was very popular at the time. But in 1984 along comes Ghostbusters. If you weren't around at the time, it's hard to imagine the impact this film had. The theme song was a hit, the movie was a hit and it was just good, clean fun.

He has a small, but classic role in Little Shop of Horrors as a masochistic dental patient.

Next is one of his best, in my opinion an all time classic, Scrooged. This is my favorite Christmas movie of all time, hands down. If you haven't seen it, you are in for a treat.

Ghostbuster II was an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of Ghostbusters. About the only notable thing about it is the fact that the writers, director and major cast all returned for it. Quick Change and What About Bob were funny, but nothing special.

However now we get to a true classic, an all time great. Definitely in my top ten favorite movies. Groundhog Day. Fittingly, I can watch this movie over and over..there is a surprising amount of depth in it.

His work since Groundhog day has been a little uneven, good stuff like Ed Wood and Rushmore, but also commercial roles in Charlie's Angels and the Garfield movies. I'm hoping he decides to take on some more serious roles, perhaps character acting stuff. I'd like to see him do a reverse Leslie Neilsen.


Core said...

His work since Groundhog day has been a little uneven

Lost in Translation (2003) is his best movie, even better than Groundhog, and that's saying a lot.

Stephen R said...

"Reverse Leslie Neilson" -- better known as a "Robin Williams"

Groundhog's Day is one of my favorite movies. I know the town where it was filmed. (Hint -- look for the name of the hardware store in the town square.)