Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


From "Tarzoon" to "Monuments Men"
February 17, 2014 8:04 AM   Subscribe

The broken-down grace of Bill Murray: The Dissolve takes a look at the career of Bill Murray and reviews his films. All of them.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (39 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
long, but good read. Maybe not as good as the writeup of Bill's baseball visits, but he's a very interesting person.
posted by k5.user at 8:45 AM on February 17


Bill Murray's hour long interview with Charlie Rose (Hulu). He's thoughtful, revealing, and, naturally, funny. I watched the entire thing and came out liking him even more, which I would have assumed was impossible.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:49 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed most of this, but really have to disagree with Rabin on Stripes. It might just be nostalgia talking, it might be that Stripes is just so deeply rooted in my head now that I can't be objective about it, but I really can't see how he gives the movie so little respect. I think it's among the 10 funniest movies I've seen. Come on- even the throwaway jokes are for the ages.

Rabin's never going to make the cover of Guts with this kind of attitude.
posted by COBRA! at 8:50 AM on February 17 [5 favorites]


Huh. I'd never heard of Nothing Lasts Forever before, but I'm definitely watching that today if they rate it higher than Ghostbusters (though, it always seems Ghostbusters fares worse with critics than I'd expect).
posted by jason_steakums at 9:02 AM on February 17


I wonder what criteria were used to give the sequel to Garfield a higher rating than the original. Is Pitchfork behind this?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on February 17


I know someone who was so mad about Murray's performance in Razer's Edge that he refuses to see anything with him in it to this day.
posted by octothorpe at 9:47 AM on February 17


He gets a lot of flack for being in Garfield but no one ever mentions Square Pegs.
posted by cazoo at 9:50 AM on February 17


I guess I've been mentally conflating Larger Than Life and Operation Dumbo Drop (neither of which I've seen) for years now and forgot about the former and thought Murray was in the latter.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:54 AM on February 17


For the Hulu averse: a direct link to the Murray interview on Charlie Rose' site.
posted by CincyBlues at 9:55 AM on February 17 [2 favorites]


I thought I'd seen almost everything with Bill Murray in it and that he was one of the few film stars that I really really liked. Then I scrolled through the list of movies he has been in and found out that I'd seen maybe 15% of them. But these 15% included just about all of his four or five star movies. I missed all the bombs. I didn't know he voiced the execrable Garfield,, and had never heard of the apparently incredibly awful A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWANN III (2012). I guess I've been lucky. Oh, and I'm on vacation today, too. How nice.
posted by kozad at 9:55 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I wonder what criteria were used to give the sequel to Garfield a higher rating than the original

"It’s a measure of how badly Murray’s performance misfires that 2006’s Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties represents a distinct step up in quality from its predecessor, because its Prince And The Pauper premise focuses substantially less on Garfield and more on new, less terrible characters like Tim Curry’s Prince."
posted by dng at 9:58 AM on February 17


I wonder what criteria were used...

Groundhog Day received a score less than five stars, therefore the grading system is suspect. The article should be rewritten again and again, as many times as necessary, until the article is perfect.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:58 AM on February 17 [26 favorites]


Put Bill Murray and Jim Jarmusch together and you get a perfect storm of understatement. So the scene in 'Broken Flowers' where Bill is just casually joking around with his neighbor's kids comes across as way more hilarious than it should be. Which is cool if you like this sort of thing.
posted by ovvl at 10:26 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


There's something in the current take on Murray that's a bit reaching to me, where it's a bit like "start with the assumption that Bill Murray can do no wrong and then find excuses for why a bunch of his turns in movies went wrong". Don't get me wrong, I think he's very often amazing and I'm a huge fan. But it seems like the movie needs either a genuine brain or heart, preferably both, for him to really sink into a role and do his best work, and you can really tell when he's not feeling a role, he's got this very tangible distance and sense of being on cruise control that comes across when he's not fully invested in a movie. And that's not so uncommon a flaw for an actor that it needs all the justifications that crop up to explain away why Bill Murray wasn't at 100% in a throwaway mainstream flick or a friend's earnest-but-flawed production.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:50 AM on February 17 [3 favorites]


I'd never heard of Nothing Lasts Forever before

I'm not sure which one is on youtube, but there are actually two versions - one has a lot of additional footage that was removed from the version that is more widely available due to issues related to securing the rights to some of the stock footage used, IIRC. It's really worth trying to find the longer version for the first time you watch it - the film has a kind of loose, jangly feel to it that the removed footage, while not strictly essential, helps keep it all together.
posted by chambers at 11:26 AM on February 17


He liked What About Bob? Thus, I like the article.
posted by JHarris at 11:48 AM on February 17


It's about TIME someone gave Meatballs the props it deserves.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 11:56 AM on February 17


Groundhog Day is so perfect, the fact that Bill Murray continued to make movies afterwards surprises me. The fact that anyone continued to make movies afterwards surprises me.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:01 PM on February 17 [6 favorites]


The voice of Garfield in the cartoons and television specials was performed by the great voice actor Lorenzo Music, who passed away in 2001. Music also provided the voice of Peter Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters. So who else but Murray could possibly have voiced Garfield on the big screen?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:03 PM on February 17 [4 favorites]


Noooooo! Not That Formatting! Not you too, Mr. Murray!
posted by Melismata at 1:49 PM on February 17


At least the Chicago sports buff got to hang out with Michael Jordan for a while, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Well played, Nathan Rabin. Well played.
posted by ook at 2:03 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


The Razor’s Edge, Murray’s 1984 debut as a dramatic leading man, was greeted by scathing reviews and atrocious box-office.

I have a soft spot for this only because I saw it in New York's Paris Theatre.

I had the theater completely to myself. It was almost as good as getting the one cent refund from the IRS, which check I still have framed on my wall.

(I recalling reading someplace that this movie was his price for making Ghostbusters II.)
posted by BWA at 2:13 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


Of everyone Murray started out with at Saturday Night Live, he’s the only one who has gone the distance, the one who hasn’t died,

Belushi, Radner

semi-retired,
Jane Curtin, definitely
Dan Ayckroyd, sorta

or been rendered irrelevant by the cruelty of time and a lack of reverence for his comic elders.

For "rendered irrelevant by the cruelty of time" I could see Laraine Newman and Garrett Morris. But the part about "and a lack of reverence for his comic elders" seems definitively coupled to the previous and pointedly directed at Chevy Chase. The odd thing is that Chase only gets jobs from his elders or those of his cohort. About everyone else seems to think he's an asshole and won't work with him. (Also, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray were not in the cast at the same time.)

This casual dismissal of seven people who are the spring for at least half of the comedies on TV and in the movies was a needle scratch across the opening of the article.

(The era of the metaphor and my deft usage thereof probably goes a long way towards explaining why.)
posted by aureliobuendia at 2:22 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


The world owes Wes Anderson a debt of gratitude for finding the layer of melancholy that underpinned every other role Murray had. I watched The Royal Tenenbaums again a couple of days ago and he is the morose element that makes the rest of the movie work, the way sea salt makes chocolate-covered caramels fantastic. Can't recall who wrote it (nor can Google), but I recall once reading the perfect line, "Sadness clings to Bill Murray like a monkey to a racehorse."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:59 PM on February 17 [4 favorites]


"Sadness clings to Bill Murray like a monkey to a racehorse."

Makes it funny how 'The Razor's Edge' just doesn't really gel together, even though he has a pretty good supporting cast. The tone seems kinda incertain, like Bill can't yet fit into just playing the role straight. Maybe it would be perfect in an alternate universe?

By chance I caught the original version with Tyrone Power on TCM last year, which I thought was pretty good.
posted by ovvl at 5:30 PM on February 17


Makes it funny how 'The Razor's Edge' just doesn't really gel together, even though he has a pretty good supporting cast.

Yeah, I saw it nearly thirty years ago and thought it misbegotten. I might watch it again some day now that it is apparent that he can do drama... maybe I will see some hint of genius that we all missed the first time around.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:49 PM on February 17


They only give 4 1/2 stars to Groudhogs Day, therefore they know nothing.
posted by signal at 7:43 PM on February 17


Interesting how it's still fashionable in critical circles to be sour on Razor's Edge. Maybe most people just haven't seen it recently, but the years have been very kind to it. I (and a number of my friends) think it's a fine film.
posted by Dokterrock at 7:53 PM on February 17


I remember liking it myself but I wasn't much of a critical film viewer at the time and haven't seen it in thirty years.
posted by octothorpe at 7:58 PM on February 17


^This. But I also loved Quick Change. If anyone needs me I'll be mulling things over with a glass of bourbon in the guilty pleasures thread from last week.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:46 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Quick Change was one of those movies Comedy Central always played nonstop in the 90's, and I remember enjoying it quite a bit. I'll have to watch that again one of these days.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:53 PM on February 17


They also get major kudos for giving The Life Aquatic high marks. That's an underrated film.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:08 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Quick Change was a fun (but dark) little movie. Sadly Murray's only director's credit.
posted by octothorpe at 5:06 AM on February 18


Good old Quick Change. Let us pause for a moment and tip of the hat to Jay Cronley, whose book was the basis for the movie. He also wrote Funny Farm: A Sweeping Epic of the Sticks basis for that other movie, as well as a bunch of other light classics. Worth a look if you like comic novels.
posted by BWA at 6:15 AM on February 18


I have a particularly shallow deep-love for " Quick Change " because of the whole middle bit where they get lost in Brooklyn. It's a cool, weird little detour.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:16 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Has anyone watched Nothing Lasts Forever? Is it actually good? The Fine Article seems to say so, but the fact that it's unreleased makes me suspicious.

Lost in Translation is one of my favorite films and I watch it about once a year when I'm feeling lonely or dislocated. It's so delicious, and Murray and Johansson are just marvelous together.
posted by Nelson at 8:18 AM on February 18 [1 favorite]


Has anyone watched Nothing Lasts Forever? Is it actually good?

Yep, last night in fact, because of this article. It's... certainly worth watching? It's a deeply odd little movie, definitely not a bad one, and worth your time if nothing else for Murray and Ackroyd, though the Eddie Fischer cameo is pretty funny too.

It's no world-beater, but the sheer weirdness of it- the hero really does go to the moon on a bus- would probably bring it a cult audience of some kind if they released it. Apparently though the rights issues from all the included vintage footage have so far been intractable, at least according to the info.txt file that came with the movie when I um you know acquired it.
posted by hap_hazard at 11:53 AM on February 18 [2 favorites]


Lost in Translation is one of my favorite films and I watch it about once a year when I'm feeling lonely or dislocated. It's so delicious, and Murray and Johansson are just marvelous together.

Likewise. I am just about halfway between ScarJo and Murray in age, and when it arrived in theatres I was thus a thirtysomething guy who had a foot in both characters' worlds. On top of that, I had spent an insomniac night or two in Tokyo hotels, watching baffling TV. I connected with it in a way that I have with few movies.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:47 AM on February 22


Today being Harry Caray's 100th birthday, @MLB posted a link to this video from 8/8/88, featuring Caray and Bill Murray during the very first night game at Wrigley Field.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:07 AM on March 1


« Older Qatar has proposed a bold vision of its future in ...  |  A new study "The Color of Corp... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments