Bill Murray ‘On the Rocks’: The Top 20 Moments For America’s Favorite Man
On the Rocks reunites Bill Murray with Lost in Translation writer/director, Sofia Coppola, in what is as charming an outing as one would imagine, and it’s all thanks to Murray (that’s not true, Rashida Jones shines as well). In the film, Murray plays a larger-than-life playboy whose father-daughter relationship is, well, dysfunctional. However, these “daddy issues” don’t make Murray any less likable—the comedic legend could play Lucifer and we’d all chuckle. Murray’s career, spanning five decades (plus) of deadpan, transcends entertainment. Bill Murray is a cult figure; a mythical man crashing bachelor parties, baseball games, and big-budget movies. In honor of America’s favorite man (and his new movie), we look back on the top 20 Murray moments in film, regular life, or otherwise.
Cover Photo: A24
Doing 'Garfield' by mistake.
Joel Cohen directed 2004’s Garfield: The Movie. After reading only a small portion of the script, Murray mistook “Joel Cohen” for “Joel Coen,” as in the Coen brothers. So, Murray voiced the iconic feline. It wasn’t until Murray saw the final cut of the film that he realized he’d made a mistake. Still, this doesn’t explain why he did Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties.
Slow-mo walking in a trailer for a fake movie.
David Walton once asked Murray for an autograph and Murray said no. Instead, Murray agreed to appear in a trailer for a fake film, Les Cinéastes, about walking down a hallway in slow-motion.
Murray actually bowled the three tournament-winning strikes in the film. Also, he improvised all his lines (of course).
The tree cameo in 'Get Smart.'
In Get Smart, Steve Carell’s Max Smart approaches a tree to find Agent 13 (Murray) inside of it. Communications got knocked out so they put him in a tree, “old school stuff.” Leave it to Murray to steal the show with just his face.
Singing karaoke with Clint Eastwood.
During the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Murray and Eastwood were coaxed into singing “Brandy” by Looking Glass. Murray gave it his all while Eastwood (who didn't know the words) just stood there, stoically, only singing one line (thanks to Murray).
Stealing the groundhog in 'Groundhog Day.'
In Groundhog Day (1993), Murray plays Phil, a disillusioned weatherman forced to live the same day over and over again. Desperate, Phil kidnaps Punxsutawney the groundhog and takes off in a red pickup truck. The insane sequence is one of Groundhog Day’s best, ending in a blaze of glory. “He might be OK..."
Playing Nick the lounger singer on 'Saturday Night Live.'
During Murray’s stint on SNL in the late '70s, his most popular reoccurring character was Nick the lounge singer. Nick’s surname changed based upon the season or setting (ex. Nick Spring, Winters, Summer, or, in prison, Nick Slammer). “I’m Nick Winters and I’m here to entertain you. So sit back, have a hot buttered rum and let it happen.”
Murray’s Carl Spackler in Caddyshack (1980) wasn’t originally supposed to have a subplot or even talk. He was supposed to be a silent character, amounting to what would’ve been more of a cameo. However, in between work on SNL, Murray improvised Spackler’s war on gophers. The scene where he beheads them while commenting on his golfing triumph was all Murray.
Making a speech at a Bachelor party.
In the summer of 2014, Murray was dining at the same steakhouse in South Carolina as a bachelor party. Before putting the groom on his shoulders, Murray made a speech: “If you have someone you think is the one, travel around the world together. Buy a plane ticket for two, and go to places that are hard to reach and hard to get out of. And when you land at JFK, if you’re still in love with that person...get married.”
Crashing an engagement photo.
Just weeks after crashing a bachelor party, Murray stumbled by an engagement photoshoot. After trying to make the couple laugh while they took photos, he agreed to pose with them.
That 'Zombieland' cameo.
In Zombieland, Murray plays himself, who dresses up as a zombie to survive. After meeting our heroes, Murray pretends to be a zombie to prank Jesse Eisenberg’s character, who ends up killing him. His cameo, death and all, makes Zombieland 10 times better. Zombieland 2 showed Murray fighting zombies at a press junket for Garfield 2: Flabby Tabby which, let's be honest, should've be the entirety of Zombieland 2.
The 'Lost in Translation' whisper.
Murray improvised the final kiss and goodbye whisper at the end of Lost in Translation. To this day, we still don’t know exactly what he said.
Murray plays John “chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear and when I do, it’s usually something unusual” Winger in 1981’s Stripes. From backward caps, “razzle-dazzle,” Elvis impressions, and a rousing speech about how they’re all “mutants,” Stripes, and Murray in general, are comedic brilliance.
All of his costumed appearances and late-night outfits.
Murray has made Late Night with Letterman dressed as Liberace, a cowboy, jock, jockey, and he’s popped out of a cake. He’s even showed up on Jimmy Kimmel Live dressed in a Black Swan-esque ensemble (although we think that’s just because he lost a bet). The above GIF sees Murray present the Mark Twain award to Letterman.
Crashing a White House press briefing.
In 2016, Murray was in Washington to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Before that event, Murray crashed the White House press briefing to give baseball predictions (regarding the Cubs in particular).
Murray’s performance as Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters (1984) officially made him a superstar post-SNL. The film's most memorable lines come from the improvised mouth of Murray (including the one above).
Doing the dishes for Norwegian students.
Murray likes to have fun. The kind of fun that includes karaoke and driving golf carts while inebriated. In 2006, while bar-hopping after a charity golf tournament in St Andrews, Murray was invited to an after-party by Norwegian students. So, he went. Upon arriving at their place, Murray decided that someone ought to do the dishes. So, he did, all while sipping vodka out of a coffee mug. When the sink was clear, he left.
Stealing french fries.
On multiple occasions, Murray has been accused of stealing french fries off the plates of unsuspecting indulgers. In 2010, a Redditor claimed Murray stole fries on the corner of 46th and 7th in New York City before yelling: “No one will believe you!” In 2016, another Redditor said Murray snagged fries off their friend's plate at the Martha's Vineyard Airport.
Being Fox Sports' correspondent when Cubs won World Series.
As an avid Chicago Cubs fan (Murray is from Illinois), Murray had the honor of acting as a Fox Sports correspondent for 2016's World Series. He interviewed the team in the locker room following their win, even getting sprayed in the face with Champagne.
Bartending at SXSW 2010.
In 2010, Bill Murray was hanging out with the Wu-Tang Clan at Austin’s SXSW festival (as you do) and went to the Shangri-La bar. When there, Murray decided to hop behind the bar and become an impromptu bartender, serving shots of tequila to everyone and insisting they knock 'em back.
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