While hanging out with a couple of friends last night, somehow our conversation organically transformed into a debate over Bill Murray's best all-time performances. Don't ask me how we got there (I think it's because I had watched What About Bob on cable earlier in the day, and so the film was on my mind), but we began with our top three. That is until I mentioned how this would make a good Cinematical Seven -- and since the guys (who both help run two prominent film festivals here in NYC) love reading our Cine Sevens -- we took about a half hour and finally agreed upon the man's seven best performances. Now, keep in mind these aren't necessarily the best Bill Murray films -- these are simply his seven best performances, in our opinion.
1. Arthur Denton, Little Shop of Horrors -- Coming up with our seven favorite Bill Murray performances was difficult to say the least, but deciding on an overall favorite was fairly easy. Murray's cameo as a patient who's just itching to be manhandled by an insane, over-the-top macho dentist (Steve Martin) in this big-screen adaptation of the staged musical takes the cake. The scene itself is short, and Murray's performance is almost all improv, but it's quite possibly the funniest character he's ever played. In fact, I'd love to see an entire movie about that guy -- who's with me? Additionally, for those who may have missed it (or would love to watch it again), here's the clip on YouTube.
2. Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters -- Who else would get into the business of hunting down ghosts purely for the women? While supporting players like Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis (who I feel is right there with Murray in this film) and Sigourney Weaver do a fine job in the flick, it's Murray's Venkman character that truly breathes life into one of the great comedies of my generation. Overly confident, yet insecure in a lot of ways, Venkman also provided all of the most memorable lines of dialogue in the movie -- most notably, "He slimed me!" and "We came, we saw and we kicked its ass!" It's funny, it's scary and till this day I still hum the title song from time to time. Who you gonna call ... when you're in the mood to laugh? Bill Murray!