For Bill Murray, doing the unexpected is the norm. His anarchic comic spirit leaves lesser comedians dizzy and audiences glued to the screen. Everybody loves the idiosyncratic funnyman, including AMC viewers. Need proof? How about this list of your favorite Bill Murray movies?
1. Groundhog Day (1993)
Is it a romantic comedy for Buddhists? Or the myth of Sisyphus for the more lighthearted existentialists? There are plenty of interpretations for this absurdist masterpiece, but it wouldn’t be anything without Murray. He may live the same day over and over, but the actor is hardly predictable as an egocentric weatherman who knows a little too well what tomorrow will bring. No surprise: it earned your top vote for being a movie you can watch over and over again.
2. Ghostbusters (1984)
Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray) isn’t scared of ghosts. On the contrary, they provide him with an inexhaustible supply of comic material. What’s not to like? When not leveling sarcastic comebacks at the undead, the paranormal expert puts the moves on his sexy neighbor (Sigourney Weaver). For its mix of horror and hilarity, you summoned Ghostbusters to the runner-up slot.
3. Caddyshack (1980)
While Murray is not the main character, he steals the show with his improv skills as a zany groundskeeper with a serious case of gopher-itis. Their war on the green makes you think the actor would make a killer Wile E. Coyote. And only a transcendental comedian like Murray could work in a joke about the Dalai Lama. All this tapped Caddyshack into the No. 3 hole.
4. Stripes (1981)
You’re never going to get Murray to walk a straight line, let alone march in formation. When he enlists, it’s a given that he’ll turn the U.S. Army upside down. While it’s doubtful any real-life recruit could get away with his antics, if anyone could it would be Murray. Equally hilarious are the early scenes with him as an unmotivated New York City cabbie. For its peacetime military bedlam, Stripes is awarded the No. 4 medal.
5. Scrooged (1988)
Murray turns nastiness into an art form as cranky TV exec Frank Cross. When it was first released, the holiday flick confused many with its crass take on A Christmas Carol. But it’s clearly grown on you, becoming a new Yuletide tradition that makes even more sense in the age of trash TV and corporate humbuggery. For its type A Christmas spirit, Scrooged pushes its way into our winner’s circle.
6. What About Bob? (1991): Murray is the preeminent patient from hell — getting under the skin of his therapist (Richard Dreyfuss) but charming everyone else.
7. Kingpin (1996): As scuzzy Ernie McCracken, the actor is a bowling pro whose balls must roll down the lane on a trail of slime. What do you call that? A strike.
8. Meatballs (1979): Summer camp gets seriously weird when Bill Murray controls the character-building activities.
9. Lost in Translation (2003): Murray surprises us again, giving a complex performance as a lonely actor stranded in Japan with Scarlett Johansson. There are worse fates.
10. Little Shop of Horrors (1986): Know the joke about what happens when a masochist meets a sadist? No? Well, Bill’s cameo as a pain-hungry dental patient make a perfect punch line.
Don’t miss Bill Murray during AMC’s Can’t Get Enough Scrooged tonight through Wed., Nov. 30, at 8PM I 7C and 10PM I 9C.