BY MICHAEL GOODPASTER|
(FOUR) THE DARJEELING LIMITED
Credited as “Business Man” in this 2007 Wes Anderson movie Bill Murray is in it for all of about three or so minutes. Bill did some of his best recent work with Anderson. Without this collaboration I don’t think we’d have the “Rushmore”, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”, and the 2009 “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Bill’s work on these movies are great and he and Anderson seem to “get each other”. So in 2007 movie, you’re quick to find that Murray is not a star of it. It’s about three brothers who meet up to go on a journey through India on a train. At the beginning of the movie, one of the brothers is attempting to catch a train. He and Bill Murray find themselves almost missing it and run for their lives to catch it. The brother does and Bill doesn’t. That’s all. It’s simple, funny, and as to the point as a cameo can be.
(THREE) SPACE JAM
This came out in 1996. I remember being in eight grade when it came out and despite it still being a little too “young” for my age at the time I still loved it. A movie where Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all time, and Bugs Bunny lead their respective groups, the NBA and the Looney Tunes, to a very enjoyable kids movie. You won’t see LeBron James in anything close to as cool that this, but that’s a different story itself. Anywho, Bill Murray plays “Bill Murray”. He plays Michael Jordan’s friend and enjoys some golf in the movie. It seems like that’s going to be if for Murray as the film winds down. At the end, the Looney Tunes are getting beat by The Monsters. They are down to only four people so they’re almost ready to forfeit. Enter Bill Mother F**king Murray! He comes in, takes the 5th place because “he’s friends with the producer of the movie”, and adds some much needed humor to the movie. He proves himself to be a NBA quality player, but ends up retiring. There’s even a Dan Aykroyd joke in there somewhere. I think a copy of Space Jam and a bottle of Captain Morgan may be in the future. Who’s down?
This is a stretch. Bill is in this one a little longer than a typical cameo, but not by much in comparison to Space Jam. In fact, his character is about the exact opposite of Space Jam. Here is an a-hole pro bowler in the beginning and in the end, he’s still an a-hole pro bowler. This 1996 Farrelly Brothers movie is not a Bill Murray starring vehicle and he’s probably on screen less than ten minutes tops. This one is all about Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and the missing from my television Vanessa Angel. Bill plays “Ernie McCracken”. He loses to Harrelson’s “Roy Munson” in a big game and to get even gets him back he plots a scheme that gets Munson’s hand amputated. We then fast forward to the end where they meet up again. “McCracken” is faced with the good guy coming back and forcing him to roll three strikes in a row. It’s Bill Mother F**king Murray, people. Even as a bad guy, the dude wins. In all seriousness, if you’re a fan of good…nay great comedies then you’ve already seen this about a hundred times. If not, you’re “munsoned” in my book.
Thirteen years later, we come to another Woody Harrelson comedy. This time instead of bowling, it’s zombies. It’s only been out about a year now, so you have to at least know the plot is that of a zombie comedy movie. There are barely any humans left and those who are have to kill zombies all day in search of survival and something to hope for. It’s a hilarious movie and in part I have to credit Bill Murray. The movie would have been pretty good without him, but Bill Murray appearing, again as “Bill Murray” is what made this movie special for me. The four traveling humans hit up Bill’s house assuming he’s been killed or zombified. He shows up looking like a zombie, but we find it’s just make up so he doesn’t get caught. From there Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone live out many people’s dream as they smoke a huge bong with Bill Murray, put on Ghostbuster props and costumes, and just have a lot of fun. It’s exactly what most avid Bill Murray fans would want in their chance meeting at the apocalypse. There are plenty of Bill Murray appearances, cameos, starring roles, and material to enjoy for a life time but these little appearances of his add SO MUCH to these movies that it’s hard to imagine them, or at least imagine them having the same impact, without him. It’s just a proven fact that Bill Murray makes everything better. Now if I could only get my hands on his secret 1-800 number….