Bill Murray

The Weinstein Company

Hey, is there actually any inherent humor to old person / little kid duos? A lot of movies take for granted that they are, but I’m not so sure that’s the case. The latest film to push this old sale is St. Vincent, and the only thing it does to distinguish itself from any other is that Bill Murray is the elder. Murray plays the title character, Vincent. The “saint” part is ironic, since he’s a boozing, gambling, whoring old fart who likes no one and is liked by no one. Or is the “saint” part ironic? Perchance, could there be a heart of gold beating within that saggy bosom? Young Oliver (newcomer Jaeden Lieberher) is poised to find out after Vincent becomes his “babysitter.” Oliver and his newly-divorced mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) have just moved next door to Vincent, and Maggie’s job as a nurse keeps her busy at late hours. So the cash-strapped Vincent agrees to watch over Oliver, and of course both theoretically hilarious shenanigans and even more theoretically heartwarming life lessons ensue.

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Bill Murray Lost in Translation

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The Jungle Book

It’s about to be, well, a jungle out there (sorry) as both Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Bros. are hellbent on giving the world a new version of The Jungle Book. So, yes, two versions of The Jungle Book, a beloved children’s book that has already been turned into a movie plenty of times before. But while we wait to hear more about about Andy Serkis‘ feature (that’s the Warner Bros. film, and one that is apparently set to be titled Jungle Book: Origins, because it sounds appropriately sci-fi, oh wait, what?), Jon Favreau‘s set-to-be-CGI-heavy take on the material continues to know it out of the park when it comes to casting. The latest addition to the cast — Bill Murray as Baloo, come on, people – just proves that, no matter what the final outcome is, this new Jungle Book has a solid lineup of talent behind it. But who is everyone playing? Baloo is the bear, right? What’s a Kaa? Who is Raksha? We got you on this. It’s time to relive your childhood.

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St. Vincent

This is what dark comedy does — it takes sad situations (impoverishment, alcoholism, horse racing, Naomi Watts doing a really bad accent while also sporting an obviously fake baby bump), and plays them up until they make us laugh, not cry. Ted Melfi‘s St. Vincent looks to be aiming a little to the left of the dramedy mark (in directional comedy speak, that means he’s going a bit too funny with this one) with his debut film, St. Vincent, but at least he’s somewhat in range. The film stars Bill Murray as a character clearly pitched as “what if Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino was actually kinda kicky?” who finds his life turned upside down with the arrival of a new neighbors — sad Melissa McCarthy (is it horrible to comment on how it’s nice to see McCarthy going for just a little bit of pathos for once?) and her very cute son Oliver (newbie Jaeden Lieberher, who looks to be quite charming) into the house next door. Their first introduction isn’t too fun, though, there’s some blood and a big tree limb and lots of confusion, but things change when Murray’s Vincent and Oliver start hanging out together. The twist is, of course, that Vincent doesn’t mix up his all-drinking, all-hemming and hawing, all-horse racing routine once he starts hanging out with the tween. Oopsie. Take a look at the film’s first trailer, which is both very sweet and very clearly trying to be quirky. It’s like Royal Tenenbaum went to California and never looked back.

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Ghostbusters

Some movies, no matter how old they are, never age a day. Their situations and themes remain as relevant now as when they were first released. Watching them today, they reflect and comment on our present in ways they couldn’t possibly have anticipated. Every month we’re going to pick a movie from the past that does just that, and explore what it has to say about the here and now. Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters – now celebrating its 30th anniversary — might seem an unlikely candidate to include in this column. After all, there’s not a (sane) person on earth who would watch this movie and say “Maaannnn, is this thing dated.” The filmmaking nor the humor has aged a day, and even the special effects make you appreciatively nostalgic more than critical. Still, there are several elements of the story, characters and location that surprisingly evoke the specifics of our present more than one might think. Here are five ways Ghostbusters crosses the time stream from 1984 to 2014.

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Grand Budapest Hotel

It’s funny to think one of the most honest movies about families stars stop-motion foxes. Then again, when you know Fantastic Mr. Fox was helmed by none other than Wes Anderson, it’s no surprise that the ins and outs of family have been explored with wit and earnestness. His newest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, doesn’t have any foxes voiced by George Clooney, but that doesn’t mean Anderson doesn’t strive again for the same nuance underneath the grand theatrics. The magnificence of the acclaimed filmmaker’s eighth feature film comes from both onscreen and off. Some critics have called this his most ambitious work to date, covering various time periods, a huge ensemble cast, and heavy themes reinforced by a sharp sense of humor. It’s also his bloodiest movie yet, which Anderson finds amusing. With all the fascists at this party — attended by a stellar cast too long-winded to namecheck — it makes sense there’s more blood drawn in this crime picture than any of his previous movies.

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Bill Murray in GROUNDHOG DAY

I made plans late last week to feature Groundhog Day as my next Commentary Commentary title, and immediately discovered that I didn’t own a copy of the film. A quick trip to a nearby video store graced me with a used Blu-ray which I brought home, watched, and fell in love with all over again. It’s that rare, near-perfect movie where everything seems to fall beautifully in place, a film that never weakens on repeat viewings, and one that says more about humanity than many examples of far more serious cinema. Harold Ramis died this past Monday, and while it’s a tragedy for his wife, children, and friends, it also leaves a void for the millions of fans who’ve loved much of his work over the years. Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ghostbusters, Back to School, Groundhog Day, The Ice Harvest… all fantastically fun films that wouldn’t have been the same without his involvement as writer and/or director. Keep reading to see what I heard on Harold Ramis’ commentary for Groundhog Day.

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Harold Ramis

Of course it happened in February. Yesterday, Harold Ramis passed away from complications resulting from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare blood disease. He is survived by his spouse, Erica Mann, as well as his three children and two grandchildren. He is also survived, for those of us who knew the man’s work but never met him personally, by some of the most influential and game-changing comedies of the past forty years. It’s difficult to know what the careers of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and John Belushi would look like without him. If there had been no Harold Ramis, there would be no Caddyshack, no Vacation, no Groundhog Day. If Ghostbusters could ever have existed sans Ramis in some other form, it’s impossible to imagine quite what that would be. He was, by all measures, a consequential figure in American comedy.

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Bill Murray Retirement

Inarguably one of Bill Murray‘s best performances is Don Johnston from Jim Jarmusch‘s Broken Flowers. Murray has successfully played a variety of characters over his career, so pinning down Murray’s defining performance isn’t easy, but Broken Flowers is certainly close to the top in that regard. It’s a performance devoid of any associations we have of Murray as an actor. There’s no overt charm to Johnston. The jumpsuit-wearing character has a dry humor to him, but he’s not one of Murray’s characters we’d all jump at the chance to hang out with. However, we certainly want to watch him through Jarmusch’s lens for a few hours. The journey that the Don Juan character goes on is quielty powerful, leaving you completely feeling for this guy who’s hurt more than a few people in his life. It’s a testament to Jarmusch as a filmmaker, but also to Murray as an actor. Murray considers Johnston his finest work. Recently on Reddit, Murray mentioned how he briefly retired after Broken Flowers, believing he couldn’t do any better. And yet, he came back, for reasons he didn’t really discuss in that Q&A.

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scrooged anne ramsey

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and we’re already devoting a second Scenes We Love list to a Christmas movie. Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Scrooged, so how could we not? Did you know this modernization of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol had the fourth best opening of 1988? And of those four, it debuted in a significantly fewer amount of theaters, giving it the second-best per-screen average among them. It also opened on a Wednesday, like three of those films, and of those three it had the second-best five-day opening. People clearly loved this movie, right? Not quite, but they really wanted to see it. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay at or near the top for very long. By the big holiday weekend, it was in 9th place, behind stuff like Tequila Sunrise, The Naked Gun and Oliver and Company. But at least it was doing better than Ernest Saves Christmas. Scrooged received a fair amount of negative reviews when it came out, and maybe the audiences then were disappointed, especially if they were hoping for something as entertaining and funny and spectacular as Ghostbusters, since this was both Bill Murray‘s first comedic starring vehicle since then and it was also marketed to that film’s fans. In the decades since, many of us have warmed to it, probably through countless TV airings, where it does seem kind of appropriate. Back then perhaps audiences weren’t happy with how unlikable Murray’s character is for much of the movie, even though that’s part of […]

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Bill Murray‘s never doing another Ghostbusters film. We can all hem and haw and hold out hope that the prodigal son of ghostbusting might return, but Murray has staunchly refused to bust even a single ghost for years now. When Ray Parker Jr. famously exclaimed, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost,” maybe he didn’t have Murray in mind. But it seems Bill Murray’s disdain for the supernatural only counts when Ghostbusters is involved. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor has just attached himself to the upcoming Dreamworks animated film B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations. Murray joins the project alongside two other new additions in Octavia Spencer and Jennifer Coolidge. That titular organization is “the ghost world’s elite counter-haunting unit,” and Murray will be filling the role of Addison Drake, who is both a ghost himself and the film’s primary villain.

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murray

If there were a Mount Rushmore for comedic actors, Bill Murray’s face would have, without question, made the mountain many years ago. And, in addition to his early successes, as he’s gotten older his performances have only become more nuanced and satisfying. For this reason, every time it’s announced that he’s going to appear in a new movie, let alone take the lead role in a new movie, it’s an event that becomes a cause for celebration among cinephiles. So you’re probably going to want to get your party horns and confetti ready, because today news hit the Internet that Murray has his next starring role all lined up, and it’s a gig that’s going to see him working with one of the biggest directors of the last few decades. Deadline is reporting that Murray is all set to star in Barry Levinson’s (Rain Man, Wag the Dog) next film, which is a project that comes from an original script by screenwriter Mitch Glazer (Scrooged) called Rock the Kasbah. In it Murray will be playing a down on his luck music manager who takes his one last client on a USO tour of Afghanistan in hopes of making some money, where he instead finds himself abandoned and penniless in a strange land. The story doesn’t end there though, as it’s said that the character then comes across a young girl with a crazy-good voice, who stows away with him on a ride back to Kabul so that she can appear […]

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THE-MONUMENTS-MEN

When the endless stream of awards-show talk begins its yearly smothering of the movie industry, expect the words The Monuments Men to come up. The film’s got all the necessary pieces: It’s based both on real-life events and on a book (Robert M. Edsel‘s “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History”) and will have George Clooney wearing both his director and lead actor hats. Presumably, if the film’s actually a good one, it’ll be racking up all kinds of neat little statuettes. And thanks to Entertainment Weekly (via Facebook), you can see the first still from The Monuments Men above. You can also read more about the film below.

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Maya Rudolph

Friday night during the Los Angeles Film Festival, the talented (and 8 months pregnant) Maya Rudolph sat down with LACMA curator and host of KCRW’s The Treatment, Elvis Mitchel, to discuss “the serious business of being funny.” From her days at SNL to her early days watching movies with her dad (composer Richard Rudolph) in Westwood, Rudolph shared some of her favorite comedic moments from various films and how various comedians influenced and advised her throughout her career. Read on for ten tips and antidotes from Rudolph on the art of being funny, her memories growing up in comedy, what kind of comedians she is attracted to, and who gave her the best advice of her career.

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BM-Intro

It’s not his birthday, he didn’t die (at least not when this was written), and he doesn’t have a new movie out, but gosh darn it – let’s talk Bill Murray. He is, as we all know, the best person. Today I wanted to try and find some more roles in the vein of The Razor’s Edge; just some odd, maybe funny/maybe not characters he’s played over the years that we all may have missed out on. My goal here: to give you, at the very least, one Bill Murray role you didn’t know about, but would now really like to watch. Here we go…

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Bill Murray

What is Casting Couch? It’s the surveyor of all that is casting. Today we’ve got joyous news about more incredible actors joining Animal Rescue and sad news about Emma Watson dropping out of some promising projects. Get ready, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.

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Charles Swan

Almost exactly two years ago, Charlie Sheen started a highly public meltdown that translated his acting fame into the kind of ravenous notoriety that’s an inch wide and a mile deep. Over a few months time, a celebrated film and television actor devolved into a reality star. We watched it in real-time, and even when the train had already wrecked, Sheen seemed impervious to the truth of what he’d done to his image. For those who didn’t tire of the schtick by his Comedy Central Roast in September of 2011, and for those who are thirsty for some severely watered down tiger blood, Sheen stars in Roman Coppola‘s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III as a boring version of himself. In it, his character is a delusional ladies man who exhaustingly relives the break-up with his latest love Ivana (Katheryn Winnick) after a car accident sends him to the hospital with the sympathies of best friend Kirby Star (Jason Schwartzman), sister Izzy (Patricia Arquette) and accountant Saul (Bill Murray). His only other companion is his brain, a terrible thing that sends him into fantasy after fantasy. Anything to avoid what’s really going on.

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Space Jam

In the game of bad movie coverage, we are poised on the same lofty levels of excellence as either the 1975 Washington Capitals or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back when they had those supposedly heterosexual tangerine uniforms with the smiling pirate on the helmets. Every week, Junkfood Cinema brings you the best of the worst of the best movies ever made; exposing their faults and cackling like insane toddlers at their dense layers of absurdity. We really do love these films, and that fact of remains despite the mockery, and despite our therapist taking the controversial tact of encouraging us to repress our feelings. To reward you, the unsuspecting reader, for eye-prancing all the way to the end of the article, we will top things off with a sinfully tasty snack themed to the movie. All that being said, today’s piece is different. It will not focus on a bad movie, but instead defend one improperly relegated as such. This article is fraught with anger, fraught I tell you! Today’s film is one most maligned by foolish plebes; those too bereft of wisdom to recognize its brilliance. This is a film that transcends the dubious confines of its genre and operates on a more didactic level vis-a-vis the human condition and societal mores. A film whose roots are embedded in the history of film itself and one that harkens back to some of cinema’s greatest achievements. I’m speaking of course of Space Jam.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  There are two films in particular that I thought about while watching Hyde Park on Hudson, the new historical film about an alleged love affair between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (Laura Linney). Three films if you count Rushmore, due to the reunion of Murray and Olivia Williams, who plays First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and the much-talked-about scene depicting a handjob in a car (not a bloody Jaguar, unfortunately), but I don’t consider this one to be an ingredient in the same way. The two that I do think of as more content-based precursors are Dave and The King’s Speech. Regarding the former, I’m surely highlighting the wrong film as an earlier instance of a leader and his wife who are all but legally separated behind closed doors, the wife fully aware of the husband’s mistresses. But Dave does involve the POTUS and First Lady, and Williams’s Eleanor did remind me at times of Sigourney Weaver’s character in the 1993 doppelganger comedy. There are very likely other dramas of adulterous true stories that relate more to the overall plot of Hyde Park. I haven’t seen the JFK-mistress movie An American Affair, which might more closely fit. But given that I really despised every moment […]

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