At first Bill Murray was a goofball, a lounge singer or a guy that tried to blow up a gopher. Graduating to movie stardom, he soon found a style of detached cool that worked like gangbusters, or ghostbusters. In movies like Stripes and Ghostbusters, he would make wry comments while the rest of his co-stars acted their parts; he rarely got involved in the drama. But it worked. A decade later, however, he could be seen giving an actual performance in Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998). He was still funny, but he found a real emotional connection with his co-stars, and he was touching. From there, you could easily look back and find other moments of greatness: his bit parts in films like Tootsie, Ed Wood, Kingpin and Wild Things, his abrasive gangster in Mad Dog and Glory, in the very dark, anxious and underrated Quick Change, which was his directorial debut (a shared credit), and especially the whole of Groundhog Day (1993), which looks more and more like an American classic every day. But none of these is Murray's best role.

After Rushmore, he became someone to keep an eye on -- almost like a legendary character actor -- and he did not disappoint. He turned in unusual, funny little performances in the ensemble Cradle Will Rock, as a terrific Polonius in Michael Almereyda's Hamlet, as Bosley in Charlie's Angels, bearded Raleigh St. Clair in Anderson's amazing The Royal Tenenbaums, in a bit with The RZA and The GZA in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes and as a washed-up comic in Cuba in Andy Garcia's underrated The Lost City. But none of these is Murray's best role.
categories Cinematical