Movies: Seven Reasons Why We Still Love Bill Murray
Bill Murray’s latest film, Hyde Park On Hudson may be getting panned by critics right, left and centre but there’s no disputing the dry-witted actor’s ability to leave a lasting impression – whether good or bad. Over the last three decades, he’s racked up a back catalogue of roles that have earned him a strong cult following, including that of comic villain Ernie McCracken (Kingpin), and stubborn cynics like Frank Cross (Scrooged) and Phil Connors (Groundhog Day). He has taken risks and gone for more obscure roles like that of Steve Zissou (The Life Aquatic), and let’s not forget his captivating depiction of a fading movie star in Lost In Translation. That’s just to name a few. So let’s cast a eye back through the decades and remember the ways in which the Murricane is, let’s face it, pretty goddamn awesome.
1. He Really Can Bowl
**Spoiler Alert** In Kingpin, he really did bowl those three strikes in a row in the scene where his character Ernie McCrackan wins the league, and apparently the audience’s reaction is genuine excitement for Murray’s legendary bowling skills.
We just can’t help but laugh at that hair.
2. The Techno Dance in The Life Aquatic
His choice to star in the bizarre story of Steve Zissou, the melancholy Oceanographer who goes in search of the shark who ate his friend, says a lot about Murray’s open-minded approach to choosing roles. Luckily, he made the right decision. Check out this snippet of his techno-fuelled dance at the beginning of the trailer to see why:
One of the greatest Christmas films ever made! In this clever adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Murray plays Frank Cross, a selfish TV executive who sees the error of his ways after being visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve. Here’s the (slightly disgusting) scene where his dead boss stops by to warn him of the impending visitors:
4. A Zombie Cameo
The best cameo there ever was: Bill Murray plays himself in zombie form in this 2009 comedy horror starring Woody Harrelson. This scene was the best thing about Zombieland.
5. He Knows His Hip Hop, Yo
Murray pops up in the unconventional indie film, Coffee & Cigarettes. Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch, this collection of short scenes also stars Tom Waits, Iggy Pop and many other well-known faces. Here ‘Bill Motherfuckin’ Ghostbuster Murray’ plays himself as a waiter who meets Wu-Tang Clan members, RZA and GZA.
6. He Played Hunter S. Thompson Before Johnny Depp
Okay, we’re not denying Johnny Depp absolutely nailed Hunter S. Thompson’s character, Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but check out Murray’s take on Hunter in Where the Buffalo Roam, the 1980 film about the deranged adventures of the controversial journalist. Apparently he and Thompson were good friends and, like Depp, Murray spent time getting into character by following the writer around.
7. That Ghostbusters Film
Let’s not forget Murray’s most famous role, that of odd-ball scientist and ‘ghost-catcher’, Dr. Peter Venkman. The eighties classic that brought the words ‘ectoplasm’ and ‘slime’ into common usage was one of the most financially successful films of the era and the special effects hold up well, even today. Another good choice by Murray – and rumour has it he improvised a lot of his lines.