Top ten things Bill Murray has doneBill Murray. Bill MURRay. Billllll Murray. BILL Murrrrrrray. Bill Murray. Even the name is enough to send trills of excitement shooting down your spine. From SNL star to family comedy legend to indie comedy go-to-guy to mid-life crisis career icon, Bill Murray has done it all. Sports enthusiast, music lover, bon vivant and a damn fine actor, after three decades of long, hard slog the guy arguably finds himself in the enviable position of being the coolest man on the planet. Don’t believe me?
Although, admittedly, this role has only really emerged over the last five years or so, a time when Murray’s Wes Anderson fuelled career reinvention collided with the freedom/personality meltdown afforded by his divorce and Gen Y’s deep and abiding love of Ghostbusters to produce a persona that could only really be described as “The Ultimate Dude”. So now, with his dominance over all that is cool finally assured, it feels like the time is right to have a look back over the lengths of his career to see what exactly are the best things that Bill Murray has done. Funnily enough, only about 50% of them involve cinema...
10. Bill Murray the K
I’m including this as much as anything because it’s close to the earliest proof I have of Bill Murray actually having a career. Coming from the 1978 Eric Idle film The Rutles – All You Need is Cash – a satirical film that one presumes had all the subtlety you’d expect from a straight-to-TV movie– Murray played a radio announcer named... Murray who was very excited about the imminent arrival of The Rutles.
9. Bill Murray works the bar at SXSW
Now, here’s that mid-life crisis I was talking about. Bill Murray hangs out at the 2010 SXSW festival and in the middle of a night out decides to just set up shop behind bar for a couple of hours. I hope he has his RSA certificate.
8. Bill Murray hangs with RZA and GZA
A superlative scene from Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes wherein Bill Murray, playing Bill Murray preparing for a role in a diner, chats for four minutes with RZA and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. Also noticeable for the sheer number of times they say the words ‘Bill Murray’ and RZA lecturing Bill Murray on his smoking habit. They should totally record a single together.
7. Bill Murray vs Technology
I’m not even really sure where this comes from, but for some reason Bill Murray is railing against the technological wonders of the early '80s. Describes R2D2 as a “fine, fine actor”. He is also wearing Wayfarers. In 1982. Because that’s how much of a proto-hipster he is.
6. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
I love this film. I love this film so much. If I could, I’d just embed the entire 119 minutes of it, but as is we have to trim back a bit. So here’s 25 seconds instead. Includes the best dance ever committed to celluloid.
5. Suntory Time
This is pretty much the primary reason why I am now so into whiskey. That and my raging alcoholism.
4. Bill Murray joins the NBA
In response to Michael Jordan’s announcement that he was to retire from basketball in order to follow his passion for baseball, Bill Murray – unprompted and unpaid by the NBA - announced that he was going to retire from comedy in order to follow his passion for basketball. See also the three follow up clips here, here and here.
3. Bill Murray sings 'Gloria': At a guitar festival in 2007.
He rambles for three and half minutes and then launches into an atonal, out of tune rendition of ‘Gloria’ by “an Irish girl named Van Morrison”. Why? Because he’s Bill Murray mother fucker.
Alright, I should probably pre-empt this video by saying that I, Luke Ayres Ryan, have never actually seen the original Ghostbusters. Or, to put it another way... No, that's really the only way to put it. It just never happened. Number two, heaps of times! But the original, I dunno. Maybe I should blame my parents. Still, I can very much appreciate the fact that shit was iconic and that if I didn’t put it in here I would probably be lynched.
1. Bill Murray hits a golf fan in the face with a Coke bottle
This might seem a strange clip to slot in at number one, and perhaps there are more out and out “cool” things the dude has done, but as a symbol of the fact that right now Bill Murray can pretty much do whatever the hell he wants and be praised for it, managing to wring 80 seconds of laughter out of a crowd of people after you just split a guy’s nose open with a Coke bottle is pretty amazing. Even the victim is having fun. But hey, that’s the miracle of Murray.
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