ANASTASIA MONTAVON, AUSTIN VAN PAY, BENJAMIN K. PAPLHAM, SAMANTHA KOLB | ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNISTS
Anastasia: Phil Connors in “Groundhog Day”
If you, for whatever reason, have still not seen the movie “Groundhog Day,” then you are not only missing out on one of the most iconic comedy movies of all time, you’re also missing out on one of Bill Murray’s best performances. Bill Murray plays TV meteorologist Phil Connors, who is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. These festivities, of course, feature the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. A blizzard hits on the TV crew’s way back to Pittsburgh, causing them to have to stay in Punxsutawney for the night. When Phil wakes up in the morning, though, he finds that it’s Groundhog Day. Again. And again, and again and again… for about ten years, depending on who you believe. Bill Murray makes the character come to life, making Phil Connors somehow feel almost relatable.
Austin: Bill Murray in “Zombieland”
Bill Murray is one of the great comedy film stars of our time, and it makes it that much harder to pick my all-time favorite role that he’s held over the years. But to narrow it down, his cameo in the recent zombie-comedy flick “Zombieland” has got to be one of the best I’ve seen in a movie. The film stars four survivors—Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock—abiding by a list of their own survival rules and zombie-killing tactics as they make their way toward a so-called theme park “safe haven” in the Los Angeles area. On their travels, they finally make their way to LA and end up staying in the supposedly zombified Billy Murray’s house. Tallahassee is a huge fan and ends up actually running into the zombie-makeup covered Bill Murray in the house. They pretend to be Ghostbusters together and Tallahassee fanboys beyond belief. When Bill decides to go scare Columbus and Little Rock things go a bit haywire. Needless to say, you’ve got to see the film for yourself to find out what happens. You won’t regret it; Bill Murray did this scene hilariously well.
Ben: Baloo in “The Jungle Book”
The power of Bill Murray is that his mere presence in a film immediately shifts the audience intrigue level from mildly interested to heavily engrossed. When Baloo appears for the first time in “The Jungle Book,” Murray delivers his lines with such charisma, such elegant nonchalance, that he could have paraded on camera dressed in a stuffy bear costume and I would have not cared in the least bit. Baloo is easily the best character in the movie, not only for his funny quips—“Kid, that’s not a song, that’s propaganda”—but also because he displays the most heart in the short time he’s onscreen. Simply put, “The Jungle Book” might have been a flop if not for the brilliant voice acting of Billy Murray, raising the film to the top of Disney’s recent live-action adaptations.
Samantha: Wallace Ritchie in “The Man Who Knew Too Little”
My favorite role Bill Murray played was that of Wallace Ritchie in the 1997 movie “The Man Who Knew Too Little.” In it, Ritchie flies to the UK to visit his brother James. James has an important dinner party to host, so to get rid of his brother he signs him up for an interactive improv theatre experience for his birthday where you’re immersed in a crime drama. It turns out that Wally accidentally gets caught up in an actual spy mission, and, since he thinks it’s part of the theatre experience, he goes along with it and gets a reputation as a crazy but genius spy. It’s full of sarcastic and dry humor, along with having some great one-liners that still make me laugh when I watch it. If you haven’t seen Bill Murray in this film, I highly recommend it.