With the Oscars drawing near, I can't help but think - Why doesn't Bill Murray have an Oscar? He needs an honorary Oscar, STAT. Maybe next year. Please, Academy? Pretty please?
I think we can all agree that Bill Murray is a national treasure. His open and expressive face has been a pop-culture icon for longer than I have walked this earth. He popped up on TV twice this past week (WARNING: Potential spoiler in link), and both appearances were hilarious and winning in equal measure. His recent 'Where's Waldo' approach to his work and his personal life keeps us on our toes. We're left constantly wondering if he's going to pop out and surprise us somewhere, whether it be a cameo on a TV show or randomly showing up at a fans ice cream social.
Long story short, Bill Murray is a goddamn legend who wins our hearts over and over again. Join me in this glorious Murray countdown as we feel all the feels together.
Twelve - St Vincent - Murray's most recent starring role had him playing a reclusive alcoholic who babysits for his next door neighbor. There are some sweet moments in the film but as the credits roll Bill Murray makes us feel feels only he can generate, as he mumble-sings his way through Dylan's Shelter from the Storm while messing around with a garden hose. The result is a quiet and simple improvisation that is deeply and oddly moving.
Eleven - Coffee and Cigarettes – "Are you a bug, Bill Murray?" asks RZA in a moment from Jim Jarmusch's compilation of caffeinated shorts. The 'Delirium' short began the era of the 'pop-up' Bill Murray, exciting us with the possibility that he could be hiding out in our local coffee shop and that we too could have existential conversations with the comedy god as he glugs coffee straight from the pot.
Ten – Tootsie – Remember when Bill Murray played the straight man? No? He did it so well you didn't even remember, because he's that good. In the cross-dressing comedy, Murray plays Dustin Hoffman's roommate, and in one Three's Company type exchange, he walks in during an awkward moment. His deadpan delivery made us feel like he was a man we could trust, and who would have our back no matter what.
Nine - Hamlet – Three words: Murray nails Shakespeare. His authoritative yet playful manner as Polonius makes us think, listen, and actually absorb one of the best monologues in stage or screen history. Because as we all know, once you've conquered comedy, everything else is cake.
Eight - Scrooged - Speaking of classics, Scrooged is the best movie version of Dicken's A Christmas Carol maybe in the history of ever. I dare you to not shed a tear when Murray scoops up that little kid at the end.
Seven - Zombieland – Continuing the trend of 'pop-up' Murray playing 'Bill Murray', this cameo is totally meta, and infuses the film with a blast of energy right where it needs it the most. Zombie Murray's presence is unexpected, exhilarating, and hilarious. The characters in the movie grin like crazy, and we do too. Oh, and super bonus - he smokes weed with Woody Harrelson.
Six - What About Bob – Murray's neurotic Bob breaks barriers by going 'sailing'. He's tied to the bow, orange life jacket firmly in place, but he's seriously proud and having oh-so-much fun. Watching this scene is a giddy delight that elicits warm fuzzies for zany Bob and his breakthrough. Thanks to Baby Steps, anything is possible, obvs.
Five - Caddyshack - "So I got that goin' for me, which is nice." Yes, Mr. Murray, you have that and so much more goin' for you. Goofy, determined Carl Spackler was the first time you won our hearts on the big screen…even though you were out for gopher blood.
Four - Ghostbusters – Peter Venkman was such a cad. He showed us that you can still be funny yet determined in the face of impending marshmallow man stranger danger catastrophe. Paul Feig - please let Murray have a cameo in the Ghostbusters reboot. We're all expecting it, don't let us down.
Three - Rushmore - In a scene with zero dialogue, Murray reminds us that he is one of the all time greats at non-verbal acting. Director Wes Anderson is smart to focus solely on Murray as his conflicted character downs a glass of whiskey and meanders over to the diving board during his kids birthday party. As Murray takes the plunge into the pool, his face says it all. The feels here are awkward but ring true and are undeniably powerful.
Two - Groundhog Day – Oh, the glories of Groundhog Day. I have previously waxed poetic about my love for this film, and the fact that the movie wouldn’t have been possible without the man, the myth, the legend - Bill Murray. Who else can play a self-deprecating but ultimately lovable egomaniac like he can? On the last day of his Punxatawney exile, Murray's character shows us how he has transformed from a miserable, self-centered man to a redeemed soul. As a result we feel a swell of pride, hope and unabashed optimism for the human race.
One - Lost In Translation – The pinnacle of Murray-ness, the piece de Murray-resistance is the ending of Lost In Translation. The entire movie is quietly working up to this moment, as Murray whispers inaudible somethings into Scarlett Johanssen's ear. What he says will always be one of the great mysteries of cinema, but the feeling we get when these two characters make that raw, human connection is damn near transcendent.
Murray's performance in Lost In Translation is one of the all-time best, and ever since he lost the 'Best Actor' trophy to Sean Penn in 2003 I have had a strong distrust of the Academy. Academy, make this right - Bill Murray for Honorary Oscar in 2016!!!