Bill Murray top 10

Movies

ByTheMinMovies

3) The Theme. It leans in part on the classic Hollywood trope that to win the heart of the girl a fella must shed his undesirable traits and embrace virtue. It also leans on the classic Kalachakran trope that time is fundamentally a quantic, cyclical notion that condemns man to a repeated and deterministic fate. And that’s not the half of it.

It’s a story that is notionally predicated on the sleeping patterns of a rodent. It’s a family comedy that features it’s protagonist calmly stepping into a bath with a live toaster. It relies on the acting talent of Andie McDowall. There’s no reason whatsoever for this film to work. But, my word, does it ever.

It is, on one level, an incredibly funny movie. What elevates the film to a higher plain is the way it uses the laughs to camouflage what is essentially an existentialist meditation (indeed nightmare) that Ingmar Bergman would be proud of.

It’s for this reason that Groundhog Day deserves to be mentioned in the same company as It’s A Wonderful Life as one of the great parables of humanity, as a work which dares to struggle with and (I believe) answer the timeless dilemma of how we should live.

In 90 minutes Murray channels the story of Everyman, learns the notion of Karmic causality, embraces the Christian tale of redemption and leads the Nihilists out of the dark. Seriously, if your child ever asks you what the meaning of life is you could do far worse than sit them down in front of this film.

Whether you live by Dharma, or Jesus, or you’re just looking forward to the sweet release of eternal nothingness, remember: if you’re faced with the choice of being a good guy or being a dick, don’t be a dick! It’s a simple learning. And if it’s good enough for Phil Connors, it’s good enough for the rest of us.

1. Lost In Translation An elite member of the most privileged generation in human history walks into a bar for a drink in the company of a beautiful young woman. Barman says "Why the long face?" It's not precisely the synopsis of Lost In Translation, but it might be.

It’s the story of alienation in the 21st century, the story of how the opportunity to have it all made us lose sight of what truly makes us happy. This, by some distance, is the most remarkable role of Murray’s career, a perfect piece of casting that is rewarded with a performance of true feeling and humanity

Playing ageing Hollywood actor Bob Harris, Murray (like a modern day James Tyrone) has seen a promising acting career derailed by the lure of an easy fortune. It is during a trip to Japan to record a series of lucrative whisky commercials (via a chance encounter with a like-minded traveler) that he begins to gain awareness of what his life has become.

The awakening is hinted at early on as Murray, being ferried to his hotel through the city night, is drawn to press his face to the car window, captivated with infant wonder at the Babel-like walls of neon. From there he experiences the discordant, empty noise that so often provides the soundtrack to the modern world, and, eventually, the humour and beauty and serenity that he had forgotten existed