Our Top 5 Favorite Bill Murray Roles
There is very little left to be said about the sheer awesomeness of supreme being and god among men Bill Murray. The master of deadpan cool has been on our minds with the release of his new film, St. Vincent (no relation to the indie rocker), which hits theaters this weekend. It got us to thinking about the master’s best roles through the years, a corral of hilariously and at times touchingly perfect characterizations that show the full span of Murray’s stellar acting talents. So without further ado, here are our Top 5 Favorite Bill Murray Characters.
5. Carl Spackler: Behold, a comedy legend is born. In Caddyshack, Murray gifted us with one of the most bizarre characterizations throughout his career. As the mumbling, gopher-hunting groundskeeper Carl, Murray stole the show away from his co-stars with moments like his ‘Cinderella Story’ monologue, a scene that still holds up as one of the funniest on film. Plus he smokes a joint with Chevy Chase, and life doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
4. Herman Blume: As Herman Blume, Murray provided a poignantly melancholic foil for the manic hyperactivity of Jason Schwartzman’s Max Fischer in Wes Anderson’s breakout film Rushmore. Both heart-wrenchingly sad and gut-bustingly funny, Blume is a guy who can help fund a 17 year old’s dream of building an aquarium in his school while simultaneously crushing said 17 year old’s dreams by screwing his teacher. And he smokes cigarettes while he swims.
3. Dr. Peter Venkman: When it comes to being slathered in ghost slime (ectoplasm), fighting giant marshmallow men, word playing with leopard women from another dimension, and wooing Sigourney Weaver, you know who to call. Peter Venkman was the ghostbuster with the most, and not just because he takes shots on the front steps of the New York Public Library. He makes his job seem so easy, effortlessly cracking a joke while trapping an evil spirit with proton energy guns. Now that’s professionalism.
2. Steve Zissou: AKA the man responsible for discovering the Jaguar Shark and setting the precedent for beanies everywhere. We don’t know what to make of Steve when The Life Aquatic first begins; he is a man at odds with himself, almost abandoning his long lost son and trying desperately to save his career as an aquatic documentarian. By film’s end, we are hopelessly devoted to the man we’ve seen conduct rescue missions, slay pirates, listen to David Bowie, save Jeff Goldblum and a couple of interns, confront death, and make the best damn documentary about puppet sea creatures ever. Where can we apply for Team Zissou club membership?
1. Phil Connors: Murray’s performance as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day could very well be the 20th century Hamlet. As a man trapped seemingly forever in the same day he’s forced to live over and over again, we see the full range of Connors’ handling of his bizarre circumstances. Drunken railroad drives and sleeping around turns into bank robberies and jail stays, which gives way to every type of suicide, until he ultimately begins a quest for redemption, living his days of purgatory as a chance to start again. Yes it’s cheesily heartwarming, but it’s a chance for Murray to display the full range of a human life, while still managing to leave us in stitches with his biting sarcasm. It’s by far his best character, even if he did murder a defenseless rodent.