Tuesday is usually the day when all of the new music and DVDs are released to the public. One DVD release that caught my eye was a 15th Anniversary Edition of Groundhog Day. I have always loved this film which stars the brilliant Bill Murray.
I read an interesting quote from Entertainment Weekly's Gregory Kirschling regarding this movie, "Was Groundhog Day always this deep? What strikes you now isn't how simultaneously barbed and warm Murray is as he lives Feb. 2 over and over, but how simultaneously bleak and hopeful this modern classic feels: Every day is cold and lonely, the film insists, yet we can still make the most of it." This movie does not get the credit it deserves because it is a rare combination that a film can be a little deep, yet so very funny. Bill Murray also does not get the credit he deserves for this role or as the comedic actor that he has become. Unfortunately, it does not seem like there are enough new special features that make it worthwhile to trade up to this anniversary edition. Murray is not a part of any of the extras, but the often asked question regarding how many days in a row the character repeats is addressed. The director, Harold Ramis, gives his take that this could have lasted "for about 10 years."
I already own Groundhog Day on DVD, so I do not plan on buying this new version. If you don't already own it or have never seen it, I definitely recommend you go out and pick it up this week. I decided this would be the appropriate time to pull out my Top 10 lists. Here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 BILL MURRAY MOVIES:
Honorable Mention. Kingpin (1996) as "Big Ernie McCracken" - This bowling movie by the Farrelly Brothers is sometimes disturbing, but also has its share of very funny material. It stars Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid, but Murray has a small role as the big time bowling star. In classic Murray style, he steals every scene that he is in, so that is why I at least give it honorable mention here.
10. The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) as "Wally Ritchie" - This film is much better and more entertaining than many have given it credit for. Murray's character is mistaken for a secret agent while he thinks he is just participating in a game. He stumbles his way through the story somehow surviving and baffling the bad guys along the way. The comedic timing is excellent. If you never gave this movie a shot and you are a Bill Murray fan, I suggest you go check it out.
9. Rushmore (1998) as "Herman Blume" - As with all Wes Anderson films, many people either love or hate them. I am usually not a big fan of Wes Anderson films, but I felt that Bill Murray pulled me through this one. It is not the typical Murray comedy. If you are looking for a movie where you laugh at every scene, this is not that type of comedy. It is much more surrealistic and even heartbreaking, but an outstanding performance by Murray nonetheless.
8. Scrooged (1988) as "Frank Cross" - This is a modern day telling of the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. Murray plays the "Scrooge" like character who happens to be a greedy TV exec as he gets saved by the lessons learned as three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve. It has the happy ending that we all love and I always enjoy watching this film during the holidays.
7. Quick Change (1990) as "Grimm" - Another very under-rated movie, Murray actually was the co-director on this film (his only directorial credit in his career). The story is about a guy who decides he can't stand life in the big city anymore, so he plans the ultimate bank robbery to allow them to live out their dreams in paradise. It features a great performance by Murray, but also a strong supporting cast including Geena Davis, Randy Quaid and Jason Robards. It is definitely a worthwhile effort.
6. What About Bob? (1991) as "Bob Wiley" - This is a very funny film, directed by Frank Oz (yes, Yoda himself), where the patient drives his psychiatrist crazy. The contrast of Murray's obsessive compulsive character and the uptight "Dr. Leo Marvin" (played marvelously by Richard Dreyfuss) is very entertaining in itself. Lots of comedy here. If you have not seen it in a while, it is definitely time to see it again.
5. Ghostbusters (1984) & Ghostbusters 2 (1989) as "Dr. Peter Venkman" - The 80's nostalgist that I am naturally holds these movies in a fond place. These were such entertaining movies and Murray's Venkman character was definitely the highlight and gets most of the best lines. The first film turned into a national phenomenon. Ghostbusters does not take itself too seriously and came from a time when blockbusters used to be fun and entertaining. "Who you gonna call?"
4. Lost In Translation (2003) as "Bob Harris" - This film which won Sophia Coppola an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, was ranked on my Top 10 Independent Films featured in my January 26th posting. Murray was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his role as "a movie star with a sense of emptiness" who meets a neglected newlywed (played by the beautiful Scarlett Johansson) while in Tokyo, Japan. They play such likable characters, though a bit of a departure for Murray, that give this film a subtle familiarity. This is a very original film that I enjoyed very much and highly recommend.
3. Stripes (1981) as "John Winger" - Another fantastically funny 80's comedy, this was one of Murray's first major roles. He stars with Harold Ramis as two buddies who decide to join the Army as a way to get away from their real lives. This film also ranked on my John Candy Top 10 list from the January 21st posting. I am particularly fond of the drill sergeant character "Sgt. Hulka" played by Warren Oates as well as the entire graduation scene where Murray leads the platoon as they perform their routine. They don't seem to make comedies like this one anymore and that is a terrible shame.
2. Groundhog Day (1993) as "Phil Connors" - You can read above about this very funny and touching movie where Murray plays a weatherman who keeps waking up to the same day over and over again until he gets it right. Outstanding.
1. Caddyshack (1980) as "Carl Spackler" - Murray creates one of the truly classic movie characters in this film which I consider my favorite comedy of all time. I love this film that centers around the golf course at a country club and also stars Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight. There are so many funny lines and scenes, but as usual, Murray steals every scene he is a part of. What it lacks in substance, this movies makes up more than enough in entertainment. I will sit down and watch this anytime.
As always, the order can definitely be debated (except for Caddyshack at #1), but I feel confident that those are the ten best. Let me hear your opinions on this list! Bill Murray is one the best comedic actors of my time, but when was the last true comedy that he has made? I am not sure if he will ever go back to making those types of comedies again, but I desperately wish he would. As I have discussed, the comedy genre in cinema has suffered greatly over the last decade or more and the major reason is that there are nobody like Bill Murray, Chevy Chase or John Candy making funny movies anymore. And sadly, there might never be anybody like them again.
That's Kickin' it for today. Thanks for reading and please tell a friend. Be sure to get your pets spayed or neutered to help control the pet population.
Check this out: I enjoy comedians who do great impersonations. One of my favorites is Kevin Pollack. The following link displays a fantastic bit on Christopher Walken. Notice the reference within where he says "I kick it old school!"... www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xKXbOVbAvE
Quote of the day: "Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." -Erica Jong (American author and educator)
Download this: "Innocence" by Hootie & The Blowfish - I am a huge fan of this band and I am sure other songs by them will be recommended here in the future. This fantastic song comes from their self titled album from 2003 and also appears on their greatest hits.