Archives for posts with tag: Bill Murray

Trivia question – name Bill Murray’s first starring movie role. Do you remember “Meatballs” (1979)? A no-name director (Ivan Reitman) conceived a cheaply made summer camp comedy in which Murray is an endearingly subversive mentor to a bunch of hormone-addled “counselors in training.” It’s mostly childish humor interspersed with Murray’s improv-style riffs that were put to much better use by Reitman in “Ghostbusters.” There’s a sweetly developed subplot in which Murray befriends a lonely camper, which helps make it an actual movie and not just a string of gags. Ultimately, it rode Murray and his burgeoning stardom to box office success.

You remember the Bill Murray movie that Julia Louis-Dreyfus did where she’s the control freak mom/professional on a family ski trip to Austria when a controlled avalanche triggers an emotional earthquake? Unfortunately, Murray is not in the offbeat “Downhill” (2020). Will Ferrell is in it, playing the aloof husband mourning the loss of his own father while losing the grip on his remaining family bonds. The chemistry between Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell is so authentically bad it’s hard to want them to be together. Murray and another actress (Julianne Moore?) could have rescued this pointedly depressing script – maybe – but why bother?

The “Scary Movie” franchise does such an effective job of mocking horror movie conventions, it’s hard to watch “The Dead Don’t Die” (2019) and feel like you haven’t heard these jokes before, because in some cases, you have. Adam Driver and Bill Murray are small-town cops confronted with a slow-motion zombie apocalypse. That’s because zombies walk slow (which is the kind of gag you might see in this movie) but also because the story kind of drags, like a corpse’s partially severed limb. It’s very close to being hilarious (especially Tilda Swinton’s scenes), but ends up too clever by half.