Exploiting the Archives: Bill Murray edition
Something kind of strange happened between when I watched all of Bill Murray’s movies for a 2014 Careerview and today: I kind of fell out of love with Bill Murray. Perhaps more specifically, I suppose I fell out of love with Bill Murray’s shtick and I particularly became deeply irritated by the Cult of Bill Murray, that Bro-y Contemporary Pop Culture Faith that sees in Bill Murray’s assholish personal behavior the free-spirited wisdom of a contemporary Zen master who can teach us all so much about living in the moment and embracing life.
Don’t get me wrong. I grew up on Bill Murray. I love Bill Murray. I have seen Caddyshack the requisite number of times for a non-golfer of my generation. He’s right up there with Rodney in my book, and that is the highest of high praise (and I’m just talking about marijuana #winkwink) but this “He’s impossible to track down and often difficult to work with, and that’s why he’s so amazing and has a messy personal life and that's why we should all strive to be like him!” line of thinking strikes me as a bit screwy.
And while I praised Murray extensively and sincerely in my Careerview for generally taking the road less taken and choosing interesting projects when he’s not, you know, voicing Garfield, in the subsequent four years it kind of seems like projects like Saint Vincent and Rock the Casbah have kind of become the rule rather than the exception, sloppy, mediocre or worse comedy-dramas that lean in hard on audience’s affection for the comedy icon.
Unsurprisingly, Bill Murray has been a frequent subject of My World of Flops. Most recently I panned Rock the Casbah as sadly representative of late-period Murray sap/schlock but previously I praised such earlier Murray vehicles as The Man Who Knew Too Little , Mad Dog and Glory and The Razor’s Edge and panned Larger Than Life and Passion Play,
So read each of these pieces—now—then watch all the films, then “jump into” the comment section and tell the world who’s right—me when I praised Murray so extensively in the Careerview, and pieces included here, or me now when I’m like “He’s been making shitty movies for a while now” or are we both right and wrong and art and life are complicated? Those are the only options. So tell me which is right and which is wrong and enjoy Mr. Murray and his work. He also did a movie called Ghostbusters and one where FDR's cousin gives him a handjob and he was all "All we have to fear is me busting a nut all over this car's leather interior!", which I felt was in poor taste. I don't think those were the same movie, though. Anywho, I am excited to finally provide an online forum for him to be discussed.
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